The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Quieter, not Quitter.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:12 pm on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I started this blog in Feb of 2008, which means in Feb of 2012, I will have been writing for 4 years.  Wow.  When I started this thing, I did so as a way to relieve stress and VENT.  Mr Chick was a great soundboard for the difficulties in my day, but I didn’t marry him to for that and he deserves WAY better.  My hope in writing was to throw out my thoughts to the 4 winds of the internet in hopes that just maybe, a few people may read it.  Perhaps I may make a virtual “friend” who shares some of my frustrations/joys/experiences in the world of retail pharmacy.

I wrote about what I knew:  working as a woman in a retail pharmacy in the United States.  I make no claim to anything else. I am not particularly politically minded so I don’t tend to write about the “issues” surrounding pharmacy unless I knew them intimately.  I also make no claims about being an expert in writing.  I have no doubt I had tons of misspellings, capitals where they shouldn’t be and punctuation all in the wrong places.  I just don’t care about those things all that much.  I had a point to get across and that was my intent. Tense, punctuation, verbiage, etc…whatever…really didn’t matter. So, if I spelled QUEUE , as QUE,  ( as one reader pointed out).  Sorry about that, but thanks for pointing it out. I did correct it.

When I started writing I really only wanted to achieve two things in my posts:  interesting…and/or  relevant.  I have always had an interest in creative writing but writing for only the sake of writing seemed a waste of time. Thats why I launched a blog.  Maybe….just maybe somebody would find it.

I kinda figured that if anybody found my blog it would most likely be people who are ALSO pharmacists.  Surprisingly,  that turned out to NOT be the case.  Based on comments over the years, it seems to be mostly average Janes and Joes out there.  In fact, I was incredulous to learn that since March of 2o11, I have had 109,600+ visits to this page.  That was when I finally installed a site meter.  I was just curious.  I know there are a lot of RE-visits to this sites by regular readers, but I was amazed at the overall number.  I’d love to know how I was found by all these people. I was also shocked to find I have readers all over the planet, not just the US.

Some people I have found relate to and understand nearly everything I post.  Others seems to take exception to nearly everything I write.  To THEM I have never understood why they keep reading. Its like going to a restaurant you hate over and over and expecting a different result.  The real nasty comments I never posted for public viewing.  Anonymity allows for some awful things to be said on the internet and I wasn’t going to perpetuate that slime. I really learned about the hot buttons: subjects that got lots of comments.  No.1 hot button: People on pain meds. If I wrote a negative post about a drug seeker, comments came out of the woodwork condemning me for my lack of compassion.  Read my post:  drug seeker does not equal legitimate pain sufferer… Never has…never will..moving on…………

The profession of pharmacy is rather mundane.  I am not going to sugar coat it.  I highly doubt that any network would make a reality series about retail pharmacy.  Most of the time ( if it was accurately portrayed) pharmacy is a real snoozer in a pressure cooker.  Ya stand on your feet for hours at a time, filling prescriptions, checking prescriptions, deciphering scribble aka ” the prescription”, checking drug interactions, managing allergies,  answering questions, talking to drs/nurses/med assistants/ etc, answering phones, and dealing with patients/customers who have no idea what goes on behind the scene. …..” ya’ll just put pills into bottles, right?” I mean really, the last time you really saw a pharmacist on TV was what?  THE SIMPSONS…Good old Ned Flanders, who eventually quit Pharmacy to open a business for left handed people.  Its a stressful, busy, environment..but its rarely newsworthy until somebody screws up and kills someone.

If I wrote about the mundanity of pharmacy ( which I doubt is a real word),  then my site meter would probably have stopped moving at 109 instead of 109,000. I am sure that a thousand posts about Mrs Jones who called in her prescription for lisinopril  a day in advance, then picked it up without incident wouldn’t be very read-worthy. Therefore……

I wrote about absurdity, the hilarity, the weirdness, the emotional, and the abnormal-ness that occasionally blesses ( or curses) our department.

To some readers, that made me come across as a people hating sarcastic a$$hole who should hang up the white coat and die.   Those readers fail to understand my reason to write….to vent at the frustrations.  to those people:  YOU ARE WRONG.

Joe Q Public is a difficult customer.  He doesn’t care about the person ahead of him except that he wants him out of the way.  He doesn’t care about the person behind him because, well, he is BEHIND him and JQP was here FIRST.  He doesn’t care about the lady in the wait room with the sniveling kid other than the fact the crying irritates him while he is in line.   EVERYBODY is JQP to some degree.  I however choose to care about them all.  I care if the line is long because long lines suck.  I care when something isn’ t ready on time because JQP has to wait longer.  I care if I am out of short on something because JQP  has to make an extra trip.  I care that Mrs JQP’s kid is sick because he will make her life miserable until he feels better. I care if the doctor hasn’t called in a prescription for JQP because I would prefer to have it ready.  I care about all this stuff because its my job. I care to spend 2 hours after I close finishing up the days work not only because its the nice thing to do, but  50 customer’s rx’s will be done instead of NOT DONE.  I care enough to deliver prescriptions to a few people whose own family don’t want to make the trip to pick up their things…and when they do, piss and moan about it. ( one nearly blanched when she was grousing about having to pick up meds for her son. I said ” thats fine,you can leave, I’ll bring it to him, I usually do.” She had no idea I had been delivering to him for over a year. I haven’t seen her since. I guess she abdicated the job to me)

But I dont live in a Prozac induced state of euphoria either.  Its a tough job, so writing allowed me to decompress from that pressure.

But, 4 years into it ( and one long blog post later) I am running out of ideas.  Writing me-too posts over and over will get old and cease to be interesting and relevant.  If the only thing I want to write about is drug-seekers,  too-stupid-to-believe customers,  and insurance hassles, I could do that forever, but even that gets old.  Everybody must run out ideas.  TAP is virtually gone, and TAestP has pretty much left the building too.  Ole Apothecary quit his blog and most of the writers who were prolific when I started have either abandoned their blogs or rarely write.  Some have stepped up in their absence.  RedHeaded Pharmacist is my favorite, writing interesting and relevant posts both about retail pharmacy and the profession in general.

So, I am slowing down a bit.  Instead of writing 7-20 posts a month, I’ll write one when I feel something is particularly interesting/ funny/or out of this world. I hope to keep a pace of 3-4 per month. Maybe  the new year will bring more and interesting ideas.  Maybe you have your own.

I appreciate your readership. I’m not going anywhere. Lets just say PC is moving to part-time…always a lofty goal for the overworked..right?



Comment by wornoutrph

November 30, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

Once again, well said PC! Always a class act you know when to bow out. I’ve always said to go out on top and you are on top of my blogroll! Will look forward to your occasional posts and wish you the best. I’ve been doing this about the same amount of time that you have and have agreed with every post you have ever written on “life in the pharmacy world”. Take care, you will be missed!Thanks for kind words. I am not going to vanish, I just think that the blitz pace of posts I write has worn me out. gonna try the quality over quantity route… keep checkin on me…:-)

Comment by dr-lasermed

November 30, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

Don’t stop writing. Now that I’ve found you, I need to hear from you every once in a while. Keep your own pace, but let us hear from you.

I’m a doctor who recently joined the blog world. It’s nice to hear about my world from a slightly different viewpoint.Thank you, as I said, I’ll keep writing, just not at the pace I was. Don’t wanna get into a same-o same-o rut!

Comment by CPhT

November 30, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

Thank you for your insight and all that you have done to help your chosen profession. I love reading your blog and give you “high-5’s” daily. Also…always remember….”drive for show…putt for dough.”

Comment by Elaine

November 30, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

Long time listener, first time poster. I like reading your blog because it gives me hope. I spent 6 years as a tech and then an intern, and am now a newly licensed RPh. I don’t want to fall prey to the cynicism and judgment of humanity that I see from many who’ve spent longer in the field than I have. Reading your blog gives me hope that I’ll still be able to be optimistic 15 or 20 years down the line. I get tired of rants about how much patients suck, and your sense of Christian compassion ensures that you temper these rants with an ability to look at the other side of things, which I always try to do too. So I will continue to look forward to your posts.

Comment by Eileen

December 1, 2011 @ 7:42 am

Why should we expect or you provide a daily blog? I enjoy your posts – especially the rants 😉 – and don’t mind whether it is about work or anything else you want to talk about (except politics, not being of any of your persuasions as a European). So I’m not going to sulk, post when you can – just don’t up and go altogether. I cheat – I follow via Grumpy’s side bar, which is how I found you in the first place.

Comment by Renee

December 1, 2011 @ 9:18 am

I can’t remember exactly how I found your blog but I’m sure it started when I was pregnant and got into reading labor and delivery blogs, which brought me into the world of med blogs in general. I enjoy the rants and the slice-of-life posts, have utmost respect for pharmacists now, and always try to be super-nice to mine (and not ask her where the XYZ is). Good luck in your future endeavors and I will keep you in my feed reader!

Comment by Jade

December 1, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

Take care to take care!

Comment by JS

December 1, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

“To some readers, that made me come across as a people hating sarcastic a$$hole who should hang up the white coat and die”

Wow! Never did that thought cross my mind. I feel for those people. They must be very sad, and unhappy people.

If your post did make you out to be a people hating, sarcastic A$$ than we not speak up, ask a question to clarify the issue.

Honestly, I am often upset when I read about RPH’s that have to deal with these patients. More so, their actions, and behavior make it difficult for people with “real” pain issues to get what they need. Maybe some of those points will raise awareness, maybe one of these “drug seekers” will read some of your posts and a light bulb will go off. I am not sure which ER RN shared an email she received from someone who shared her story/struggle as a drug seeker and the fact she got help for her problem.

Also, some of the ideas, thoughts, etc., that you “spill” on your BLOG may just help someone be kinder to their pharmacist.

I would expect your patients to respect YOU, as I am sure that YOU respect them. And you have their best interest at heart. You don’t want them to have a drug interaction, an allergic reaction, an overdose, and on and on and on.

Personally, I do whatever I can to help the staff at my pharmacy. If my RX requires a prior authorization, I think that I have some responsibility in getting that authorization. I will call the insurance company and request the paperwork be faxed to my MD. I follow-up on it, and call the pharmacist when it has been taken care of. They have thanked me many times for helping make their jobs easier. Sometimes, they just obtain what they need and tell me about the problem when I pick up my script. And on occasion, they will actually drop the completed script at my house; knowing my situation.

Just as recent as yesterday, I picked up an RX that this pharmacy has been filling for three months; I had been getting it at another store within the company (not CVS, or WAG; just saying) prior to that. Because the script calls for many small bottles they either label all the boxes or split the order in 1/2 and put part of it in one bag and the rest in another and then label the bags. PERFECT. For some strange reason this time, they opened ALL THE BOTTLES (a long and VERY tedious job) and poured them into a few bigger bottles. I was not happy. I prefer the small bottles (less to lose if knocked over), I always have a sealed bottle or two (with a label) for hospital admissions since this medication is not always part of their formulary. Now, I can’t do that and I am actually having surgery this month. I could have refused the prescription but then they would have had to reorder (which would take several days), not too mention, they would have to discard the medication and they would not get reimbursed; a huge loss for them and frankly, that seemed wrong to me.

Sorry for the novel. All that too say, you certainly don’t come across as “a people hating sarcastic a$$hole who should hang up the white coat and die!” And that’s all I was trying too say!

Take care,


Comment by Kiley

December 1, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

I just recently found your blog, and as someone in the pharmacy world in Canada, its almost refreshing to know that pharmacies elsewhere deal with the exact same problems as we do, have the exact same rude-type patients as we do, and some wonderful ones who truly do make your day a little better.

Merry Christmas to you, and I;ll look forward to when you do write 🙂

Comment by The Redheaded Pharmacist

December 1, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

PC, I’ve always admired this blog and your ability to tell stories, share human experiences, and entertain and engage readers all at the same time. I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts and I’m happy you are going to continue to write in the future. Your stories resonate with readers in a very unique way. And thanks for mentioning my blog. Kind words from a blogger I admire greatly means a lot to me!

Comment by Janie4

December 2, 2011 @ 8:00 am

I love your blog. I’m an average jane as it were, but I enjoy hearing about the crazy people, and it’s good to hear about how I should treat my pharmacist. Makes me feel better about how I do treat mine – fortunately, my prescriptions are common generics.

Comment by MJ RPh

December 3, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

Just wanted to thank you PC for saying things better than I could have ever done. I have read your blog for several years, and agree with most everything. I have been doing this job for 35 years, the last 20 in retail pharmacy with all its joys, trials and tribulations. This year after all these years on my feet, and after several surgeries to repair various body parts that have failed due to this time on my feet, I finally retired. I really miss the contact with my customers, and they tell me that they miss me too! But I feel so much better physically. But now I miss the daily idiocies that we encounter with all our customers. Good luck PC! I will continue to look forward to your posts from this side of the employment picture.

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