The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Another round of flu shot follies

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:45 am on Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pharmacy Chick apologizes for not writing much lately. Between the nutso activity at work with flu shots, we have had a wrench thrown in with sick employees and way too many float help. That hasn’t left me with a lot of time to mentally (then  physically) compose posts worthy to have you read!  I hope you won’t completely give up on me.  I also have devoted more time in front of the piano, and that infernal Facebook…which by the way isn’t so bad…but its a time eater!

Tho likely not the last, here is the latest round of “flu shot follies”

But its the law!  Pharmacy chick does many offsite clinics during flu season and a couple of them are the equivalent of a public offering: all comers, first come-first served.  We have certain legislated parameters for who we can give shots to based on age.  If you are below that age, we can’t give you a flu shot. (note, when I make arrangements to come to these sites, my info packet includes these parameters so that there are no surprises).  Last week was such a “clinic”.  A lady came in with her OBVIOUSLY underage daughter.  She wanted a flu shot for herself and her child.  We explained the rules. “yada yada yada..rules..laws..yada yada yada can’t do it”.  You’d think the word LAW would deter her from pursuing it.  N.o.p.e.  She went on and on.  She offered to pay for the shot herself instead of bill the insurance..She offered to give the shot herself!  (poor daughter–she was no nurse or health care provider). She even said she would fake the birthday on the consent form.  Now I know that vaccine is in relatively short supply, but come on! This isn’t the cure for cancer..its a flu shot for Pete’s sake.  She went away mad..after she got her own shot.

No sense of humor At this point Pharmacy chick Pharmacy could use a full time person to do nothing but answer phones and field questions about flu shots. Of course, the company doesn’t support that notion so we are left trying to literally “create” time in a day to answer these completely redundant questions, all of which are answered on our IVR recording…that everybody bypasses to talk to a live person ….who tells them the same friggin thing.   Late one monday this woman came up to the counter and asked “Can I ask you a question?”  Trying to add a little much needed levity into the day, I laughed and answered “sure as long as its not another question about flu shots”.  Apparently she had no sense of humor.  She glowered at me and walked away.  Well, YOU have a nice day too lady.

No dollar amount high enough We do flu shots from time A to B.  Starting around 10 am and quitting at 7 pm, that gives the largest majority of people an opportunity to schedule their appointments with in their day. Despits this 9 hour window there are invariably some people who just can’t be satisfied.  I had one man come in at literally 10 minutes before closing and want a flu shot.  I told him 1) we do them by appointment only and 2) only until 7 pm.  Not to be put off, he offered a tool I hadn’t bee offered before…a bribe.  “So, if I pay you $50 will you give it to me now?”  I said. “Sir, you could offer me $500 and I wouldn’t give it to you now….first off, I am about to close and second off, I’d lose my  job if I kept the money so NO, I can’t help you now.”   Last year, I was in the store quite early processing a clinic I did. It was my day off but I had about 100 shots I wanted to get into the computer.  I was at the store about 730 in the morning. Dark and alone, and dressed in jeans and sweatshirt, I was ticking away on the computer, oblivious to my surroundings.  I heard an “ahem”.  I looked up and this woman was standing there. “can I get a flu shot?”  Unbelievable.  and lastly:

Are you sure I’ve had one? Loris, one of my long timers, is getting dementia.  Its not a secret.  She really needs a care taker, but as of yet she still comes into the store to collect her own prescriptions.  In fact, she is here almost every single day checking to see if there is anything here for her.  She obtained her flu shot early on in the season.  However, about twice a week, she comes in and requests a flu shot.  And about twice a week, we have to remind her that she did INDEED already get it.  Sigh. I feel for her…but I sure hope she hasn’t gone to any other walk in clinic and ask for a shot..They wouldn’t know.

Happy trails for now!

Remember them.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:01 pm on Sunday, October 18, 2009

There are few more humbling experiences than going to a nursing home.  Whether it be to visit a family member, or in my case, give a flu clinic,  I find this experience both rewarding and a stern reminder that my body is frail and someday will betray me.

Each year I pack up my vaccine and visit a particular assisted living facility.  There are several levels of care, ranging from “nearly no care required” to “completely incapacitated”.   Since I have visited this same location for four years I have been privy to seeing the same faces over and over.  Ths is particular facility can best be described as “premier”.   They only take private pay and private insurance.  No welfare here.  The entry looks like a fancy hotel.  There is a concierge. They have a hair salon, a movie room and regular outings for whoever wants to go.  Soft music plays over the sounds of the residents moving about.  About the only way you’d know this was NOT a hotel would be the condition of the residents.  Wheelchairs and walkers replace business suits and briefcases of a typical hotel lobby. 

Because I have come to this place for several years, I have become recognized and welcomed.  Several of them actually patronize my store (or have their family members pick up their prescriptions).  They know me by name. One even knows Mr. Chick from some other place and time.  She always asks “So how is Mr Chick!”, and remembers him by first name. Considering she is in her mid 80’s and hasn’t seen Mr Chick for 13 yrs really says something to me.  She is sharp!.

Not all are this way however.   Nearly everybody who lives there has a reason for doing so.  They cannot or should not live alone anymore.  I only hope to have the financial ability to live like this when I need such care.  One such couple are Leo and Bess.  I met them several years ago.  Leo was a quiet man. Bess was the alpha female.  I suspect this was because Leo was in physical decline long before we met.  He didn’t say much but was politely conversant.  Time has ravaged him.  When I came to the facility (LTC for short)  even I was surprised.  He was hunched over in a wheelchair and resides in the memory care unit.  Bess spends most of her days knitting next to him in a chair.   She still freely moves about.  Leo does not. 

Sam was a retired physician.  Four years ago he praised my needle technique; “You give a mean shot pharmacy lady!”  “Good job!”.  He too lives in the alzheimers unit now and didn’t even know he received his vaccination. 

Henry and Carol used to live near my store. Both were long time customers.  When their kids moved they moved into this LTC.  He still has his spark, but no longer walks unaided to my clinic.  He slowly and carefully uses a walker.    This year Carol chose to stay in her room.  She didnt feel well enough for her shot.

Frank loves the Lord.  He told me about 40 times.  He is just biding his time til he goes home to be with Jesus. I know this because he told me.  I just met him this year.  He is the LTC newest resident according to Frank, all of 1 week.  Of course, I can’t always believe what they say. He said he wants to remember my name for next year.

Phyllis was a kick.  She too lives in the Alzheimer’s unit.  I’d describe her as high functioning dementia..if you didn’t know, you’d might not figure it out.  She was napping, when I came to give her the shot.  The aide woke her up and she had still just enough modesty to not want her shirt pulled up too high because she had no bra on.  We worked around it.  The aide said “Phyllis its time for your shot!” to which she replied ” Well of course!  I spoke with her (pointing to me) about it this morning!”  We never had any such conversation. I gave her the shot and moved to the next resident…and the next….about 15 minutes later she walked into the private room where I was giving a shot with her bra in hand.  “I found it..will you help me put it on?”

One lady nearly needed subduing, not becasue she was angry, but because she was singing at the top of her lungs. “Glory, Glory Halleluia!” Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

I am grateful for the fully functioning body that I currently own.  Yea, its getting older.  My hips hurt after long days on my feet.  I have some arthritis in my thumb, and I notice that small jowls  now reside where my clean jaw line used to be.  I no longer like a side view of my face.  A few crows feet are sneaking in around my eyes and I have more grey hairs than I’d like to admit.   Despite normal aging, I am in good shape.    I play golf, tennis and move around freely.  My brain functions normally (tho I think Mr Chick might have something to say about that).  

It may or may not always remain that way.  And, it only takes an anual trip the LTC to remind me of my current good fortune.  Dementia doesn’t run in my family. Most of my relatives (save, my mother) have lived into their 90’s.  My grand mother is 96, and lives in a nursing home, and is getting a bit forgetful herself now.   I hope  if somebody comes and gives her a flu shot and she talks a little nonsense, that they are nice and patient.

I just wanna love on Henry, Carol, Phyllis, Leo, Bess, Sam and Frank a little while longer…and rewind their clocks a bit.

Small Steps

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:44 pm on Saturday, October 3, 2009

While its likely still too early to  be writing an end-of-year post, Pharmacy Chick was pondering some thoughts about 2009.  I am hoping that this year will go down in history as the year she made some life changes.  Some were small, some were large, but each required some effort and a bit of faith to move forward, and while not all of them have fleshed out completely, they constitued a “start”.

1.  Job Interviews. Its one thing to hate and whine about my job, but its another thing entirely to go out and seek another one.  This year, more than any other, I did that. I went on 4 different job interviews.  Before this year, I suffered in mostly silence (or in blog posts), sitting on my hands at the prospect of looking for a different job.  Mr Chick believed my job was “better than I realized”, and I guess I kept hoping that the perfect job would land in my lap….and I learned they don’t. So far none of my interviews produced the perfect job  but my most recent one gives me hope. I’m not going to trade the frying pan for the fire and I am not giving up.  If this most recent one pans out, the Chick will be hopping off the retail train for an entirely new kind of pharmacy practice. It was weird going on job interviews, making a resume, and trying to impress somebody. After all, for the last 15 years, I’ve been beating recruiters off my doorstep, offering jobs nobody else wanted.

2. My appearance.  Pharmacy Chick lost 20 lbs this summer.  Nobody would ever describe me as fat, but over the last 5 years, I had inched up about 20 lbs.  Oh, it would flux down a bit in the summer, but every winter it would creep up and peak at about 147 lbs.  Its well within the normal BMI for my size, but I hated it.  I had enough.  An iron will and about 2 months later, I was standing the scale looking at that needle pointing at 127.  I didn’t suffer the normal diet. I exercised more and I ate what I wanted, I only ate less of it.  If I wanted 4 pieces of pizza, I ate 2.  I still GOT the pizza, I just learned that if I expected to lose weight, I needed to eat more appropriately. This fall there will be no Halloween candy in the Chick house.  Likewise, we are foregoing the Christmas baking.  AND, if I get food gifts, I am going to take them to the lunch room and place them for everybody ELSE to enjoy.   I worked too hard for this.

3. Mending family fences.  I travelled this fall back home to visit my father.  Travelling alone is a milestone for me.  I’d rather not travel alone and this time not only did I go alone, but I brought my golf clubs, travelled to another city 2 and 1/2 hours away and visited friends.  I rented a car alone, drove alone, and stayed in a hotel alone..also milestones for me.  I also attemped to mend relationships with my dad and his wife.  Life is too short for broken relationships. It was a timely trip and one that was fruitful. In the past, I likely would have just THOUGHT about a trip like this but never actually DO it. It felt free-ing.

4. My future.  Part of the Chick has always wanted to return “home”.  My home is in another state.  Ive been in my current location for over 20 years but “home” is always someplace else.  I dont know when or even IF I’ll make it back home, but I have decided to give me the option to do so.  I am getting my lisence in my home state.  Not exactly an inexpensive venture, I started the process last week.  Once the paperwork has been submitted and processed, and I pass the Multistate law exam, I will be at least ABLE to work in my home state. It would be a good thing to be closer to my father if the need presents itself, because every time I go back to my home state I feel an ever strengthening pull for me to stay there.

I dunno, maybe its a midlife crisis…or a midlife epiphany.  I am choosing to do different things…and MORE things.  I dug out my piano books and threw myself into my music again.  Its coming back slowly, but once again music echos off the walls of my house. I even got brave and asked to play our new church piano (a gorgeous 9 and 1/2 foot grand piano) on a day nobody was using the auditorium.  I had a blast!  I never would have done that! I would have just WISHED I could…

 I found old friends on Facebook, or more specifically people from my past found me, and instead of ignoring them, I nurtured them into new friendships I hope to have for a long time.   I rode a bike for the first time in decades (and enjoyed it) …and even rode as a passenger on a motorcycle ride!  It was exhilarating,  I didn’t die in the process and hopefully I’ll get to do it again someday. 

If I want to try a restaurant and can find nobody to join me, I’ll go alone!  And speaking of alone, I have decided I enjoy the silence of alone-ness now and then, and do not feel guilty about wanting to be left alone.

 I am learning that NO is an acceptable answer to requests of my time and I don’t have to feel guilty for saying it.    I have learned that its also perfectly acceptable to NOT answer the phone if it rings…its my house, my phone and my time.   I found that even tho Mr Chick thinks that texting is lame, I happen to enjoy it and therefore I do it as much as I want with any friend who wants to.   I have taken more pictures this year than I have in the last 10 years combined.  Time is passing and I was sad when looked at my photos online and had a pittance to show for the last several years. 

Step Step Step. 

Yea they are small steps…but the ARE steps…hopefully in the right direction, because more so than ever…I am motivated to make some changes.