The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Where not to yak on your cell phone

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:53 pm on Monday, August 29, 2011

I have become more and more accustomed (note: I didn’t say accepting) to seeing cellphones or blue tooth headsets growing out of everybody’s ears.  Im walking my dog on a quiet walk path and my silence is ruptured by the sound of a lady walking her dog and yakking loudly on her phone…in Japanese.  Im in a line at a store and somebody has to tell her friend that X has Y on sale and she HAS TO GET DOWN HER NOW!.   Im in the change room at Chickville Dept store and some girl is holding court in the adjacent room with the assumption that nobody else can hear her trash her soon-to-be ex boyfriend. I dont even blink anymore when customers are distracted by their phones during my counselling.  I just launch right in and if they know what is good for them, they better start listening.

All of these things are annoying but I live with it,  but I needed to get some gas today.  I drove into my gas station, that has 3 pump stations, each with two pumps on each one.  This dude in a big lexus is at the ONLY station that has a free pump…in FRONT of him.  He is done…I saw the dude replace the pump. So I drove up behind him expecting him to leave so I can move into the front space and leave the rear space for the next guy.  BUT NOOOOO..he isn’t moving..He is having a cell phone coversation ….in his car..blocking the last remaining two pumps. WTF?  After I sit there for about 20 seconds (think thats not long?…just sit there doing nothing to the count of 20)..I finally maneuver around him and back into the pump that is open…granted..kinda catty-whompus so I CAN GET SOME GAS!

In the process I have left just enough room for him to pass by….very …..very ….carefully…in otherwords…not much room.

He finally decides to move on and himself has to maneuver carefully around me, who by now has a gas pump firmly attached to my car.  He gives me a dirty look.

I flash a big smile and shrug my shoulders.  I should feel bad…

But I dont.

“You changed my life!”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:14 am on Sunday, August 28, 2011

Not words you hear ever day.  I can honestly say that most of my days are rather mundane drudgery.  We take in prescriptions, we pump out prescriptions.  People pick them up , whine about how much they cost, give us grief and move on.  Most of what I write about can best be appreciated by the people who share this profession: Pharmacists.  I am amazed that I have so many NON-pharmacist readers. But , I appreciate all of you.

Occasionally we get a ” Thank you”, but its rare that we get a compliment like the one above, followed by ” I am going to call the newspaper..they need to know”.  ( I really hope she doesn’t call the paper).

Lydia has been coming here to PC pharmacy for about 2 years.  Only recently have I come to know her very well.  Once she caught me just as I was closing the pharmacy and needed to pick up a prescription ( never one of my favorite patient’s moves) but I patiently rang her up and said nothing.  She told me her deceased husband was a pharmacist.  He had died from some undisclosed illness long before he should have because she is only in her late 50’s.  Its been a struggle for her financially since then.  She has never had insurance since she has been a patient of mine, so I try to be mindful of what she has to pay, and use discount cards for her pricing.  She just qualified for “disability” but somehow that doesn’t include RX insurance…something is amiss, but I can’t fix that, so I try to keep her expenses down as best as I can.

She takes a handful of meds each day, one of which is hydroxyzine, which used to be dirt cheap, but isn’t so much anymore….and she takes a lot of it.

She told me once that she has had this terrible itching and it drives her to distraction, and she has been to all kinds of doctors trying to get some help. She asked me if I had any better solutions.  I told her “honestly no,  if you have been to the best in their field, I am not sure anything I can recommend can make any difference”. and all I could do is tell her that when its really bad that cold compresses can take some of the heat off of it and tone down some of the fire in her skin.  She mentioned that sometimes she would press her arms against the cold brass of her bed and that is would help a bit, so she would try the ice towels I mentioned.

She stayed on my mind however. She has scars from scratching, and pock marks from the sores.

Two weeks ago, she called again, to order some more meds.  We had a brief prefunctory conversation and then hung up.  For no other reason than ” it had to be a God thing”,  I had a thought pop into my head and I called her back.  ” Lydia, this is PC from PC pharmacy…Have you ever heard of GLUTEN?”

I told her what it was and she told me that she has a nephew that has to be gluten free because ” it makes him sick and gives him a rash”.  She never thought it might apply to her because she has been itching for so long.. I asked her how long..and she said ” since 1978″.  I said ” Lydia,  you have nothing to  lose,  would you consider going gluten free for a month?  Just to try it?  It can’t hurt and all that itching might be food related”.  I then encouraged her to go on the internet and find out what is gluten free and eat only gluten free foods…no cheating.  I also told her that since gluten is high in the media, lots of foods are now marked gluten free including breads and pastas and its not hard to eat gluten free since there are more choices.  She wasn’t reluctant at all, after all this time, she was happy to try anything that may help.

She came into see me 5 days later.  I was busy at the time so didnt’ immediately think about our previous conversation.  Her first words to me were ” You changed my life!” and I could only say ” What?”  She said ” I haven’t itched in 4 days…that has never happened in 33 years.”.   I was stunned. She went gluten free the moment we hung up the phone.  She said the itching stopped within a day.  She then threw away everything in the house that contained wheat, barley, etc…

As grateful as she was, she was also angry…” I have been to so many doctors over the years!, I have spent so much money on medicine!  Why didn’t any of the allergists ever tell me about this?’  I didnt’ have an answer.  She then asked me..” what made you call me back last week?”  I told her ” I think I have to give credit where its due…It had to be a God thing..a thought popped into my head and I acted on it.”  Lydia wears a cross around her neck.  She knew what I meant.

It wasn’t like I had been thinking about gluten.  I hadn’t read any articles recently, and I didn’t have any recent interaction with a gluten intolerant patient.  It just kinda popped in there and I picked up the phone.

If this is for real ( and she is convinced it is) then this will go down as one of my shining moments in pharmacy.  Just don’t pin any awards on MY jacket.  I’m not taking any credit.  I was just His mouth piece.

I think Auto-correct wants me to divorce.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:41 pm on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

If you have a smart phone (and you text) you are no doubt familiar with the term “auto correct”.  There is an entire website devoted to the inane (and insane) auto correct errors that people have discovered (and endured).

Even better is where you can see texts sent to the wrong person, some with rather unfortunate consequences.

Mr Chick txted me with a question  “Where are you?” on my day off.  I typed back ( on my touch screen….my first mistake)  ” At golf course”.  that was my INTENTION however.  whatever my fat fingers typed is unknown, but it came out ” At Don’s house”.   Thankfully I viewed that mistake before I sent the text because 1)  I wasn’t AT Don’s house.  and 2)  the only Don I know I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near his house.

I dont always catch my mistake.  I have a couple of friends that I was trying to catch up with .  Desiree and Kelli.  Kelli was waiting for me but Dez had to leave. I texted Kelli, ” When did Dez leave?”  and she typed back  ” Oh about 20 years ago?”  I scrolled up to see WTF she was referring to.  Auto-correct changed my DEZ to SEX…and my LONG divorced friend Kelli found it the perfect opportunity to reflect on my error!

I have since added “Dez” to my list of words.

I hate auto correct!

Sometimes I think its best not to know.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:11 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Man Friday is on vacation this week.  Off to where ever the winds blow him,  we get a week of relief pharmacists, a different one for each day he is gone.  Lovely. Our scheduler has a policy to have each relief pharmacist call 2-3 days in advance to “confirm” their attendance and shift times at each store.  Grand idea, but lately we have had a rash of scheduling issues that has left me skittish about any relief shift.  Each of the last 4 shifts over the last 2 weeks has had an issue that resulted in me having no idea if we had a pharmacist for the next day..and even the  afternoon shift for that same day….despite having “confirmed” staff scheduled. 

Today was such a day.  The pharmacist  had not “confirmed” her shift.  I left work monday not knowing if the doors would open this morning. Last week we had a similar circumstance and I went to the pharmacy to open it and hope and pray the Rph showed up.  She did…at 901 am (WTF?)  This time there would be no rescue.  I had a 730 tee time this morning and by 9 am I was going to be 30 miles by car and 30 minutes away from that car on foot in the middle of the 7th fairway.  

At 855 I received a txt from tech extraordinare ” she is here.”  Whew. I relaxed.

Then:  ” its going to be a really long day”.   ok…NOT so relaxed afterall.

I called at noon to check in and see if there were any questions.  I was immediately put on hold with “Hello, PCpharmacythankyouforholding. CLICK”, and 1 minute later when the phone rung back, it was never answered..just rang to the message line.

I decided to put the phone away.  I dont wanna know. 9 pm will eventually come and they will have all survived the day.


Christmas in july? no, its just flu shots.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:34 pm on Monday, August 15, 2011

Each and every year, the quest to beat the advertising brains out of our competitors becomes more and more fierce. To the Chick, its like walking into my nearest Hallmark card shop in July and seeing nothing but a sea of RED Christmas ornaments everywhere.  God help me, I just wanna run.  Im in shorts, its 97 degrees out side…Im thinking “sippin cool beverages on the patio” and they want me to start thinking about CHRISTMAS?..snow, cold weather and going broke?  NO THANK YOU.

Well the argument could be said that Pharmacy is the same.  Everybody is in the flu shot business now.  Chick Pharmacy was a early trail blazer and when some stores where passing on the program,  Chick Pharmacy stepped up and shot everybody who would pull up their sleeve.  Once they got $ signs in their eyes, even the big box passed on nurses doling out flu shots in their lobby and started the “ka-ching” themselves.

Traditionally we did flu shots in October.  Football gets going…we put the summer clothes away…Baseball World Series…Mow that grass one more time before it snows…and FLU SHOTS.  It has sneakily inched earlier and earlier.  Corporate used to send out a memo…” be sure you re  properly stocked on gloves and etc…yada yada..and that was about it.  Now I get a 200 page “game plan” for this year’s flu” initiative”.   Sounds very political.

SHUT UP PLEASE…there is NOTHING that some guy in a suit 1000 miles away in a wood panelled office can tell me that I dont already know about flu shots. I am not going to read his 200 page game plan.  I will order my supplies…I’ll wait for the vaccine to arrive…and then I’ll start shooting people. 

What I really do not need is a corporate ad campaign that is telling everybody to get their flu shot right now….BECAUSE I DO NOT HAVE VACCINE…Hello?  it’s not here yet…why are you telling people we have it?..Big box got theirs last week….thats why.  Well fine…I dont have it and running an ad telling people that we DO isnt’ going to make any vaccine appear out of thin air..

What I do not need is a tome of paperwork to read that is early identical to the tome of paperwork I had to read last year.  Its a flu shot…not brain surgery. I got it ok?  and on that same Vein, if you really want me to have it, SEND it to me in hard copy…I am not going to print that 200 page attachment and tie up my printer for an hour.

I dont need to be bombarded with “get ready for flu season” stuff a mere 60 days after THIS flu season has concluded.  Give it a rest ok?

I do not need to be REMINDED to contact all of my clinic sites from last year.  I especially do not need to call them 4 months ahead of time.

I do not need more junk to hand out with each and every shot..this coupon book, that hand out, this sticker, that pin.

Here is what I DO need: 

I need you to get those contracts signed before october so when you run your ads in August to get a flu shot, I can actually give and bill it instead of getting rejt claims over and over.

I need you to get that vaccine to me so I can actually give shots that you promise I have.

I need you to realize that its still summer, and your “quota guidelines” will likely be ignored like yesterdays news paper.

Lastly I need you to be realistic.  People think flu shots when school starts.  They quit thinking flu shots the very day after Thanksgiving.  Its some kind of unwritten rule.

Dont make me come over there and bap you on the nose with your rolled up game plan.

Pocket finds

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 3:20 pm on Friday, August 12, 2011

Its amazing really where stuff ends up…I often find interesting things in my pocket….usually stray tablets that have bounced off the tray and rolled around.  Thankfully they are “catch and release”…or in my case..Catch and replace!.  Once I found a missing oxycodone 5mg that had gone astray for a few hours.  we looked high and low (and even checked the pocket)..but not good enough.  One more once-thru and I found the offending tab.  Life was back to normal. Working in the pharmacy one might expect that tablets can end up in odd places…BUT

Last week I went to Mega Department store and was perusing their 50% off summer stuff.   I found some cool shorts, tried them on and bought them.  Once home I stuck them in my closet. 

This morning I decided to wear them.  I put my hand in the pocket to straighten it out and felt a nodule…and pulled out a tablet.  WTF?  I’ve never worn these before.  With no markings, It looked like either a multivit or a calcium tab. 

Mr Chick claimed no prior knowledge. 

I have no idea….

Doing something meaningful.( kinda long..I know)

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:53 pm on Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Passion:  I suppose everbody has a definition of the word.  To me, its a description of  an obsessive or overwhelming desire or caring  for something or someone.   People can be passionate about another human being,  a certain hobby, a food or a cause.  Our pastor at the church often  preaches about passion, but in his context its generally about mission, which is HIS personal passion.  While the mission field is certainly a  noble cause to be passionate about, Ive always felt kind of bad (either by accident or design) everytime he preaches about finding your passion in life, because I feel he is always intimating that we should be passionate about the same things he is.

Pharmacy is not my passion.  Its my job.  I do not wake up every morning with a burning desire to put my white coat on and serve mankind by delivering drugs into their hands.  To be honest, I’d probably serve mankind better if I delivered LESS drugs into their hands.  Americans take too many drugs, frankly.  NO,  Pharmacy is what I do…it does not define me.  I rarely talk about the profession unless  I am pressed into it by somebody who thinks its “interesting”, or “cool”.

I think what ever passion you have for something, its innate.  I dont think you necessarily CHOOSE it,  It kind of chooses you, and you can either act on it or not depending on your circumstances.    For me, its a love of animals.  My heart literally hurts when I see or hear about animals that are unloved, abandoned or abused. Whether its pets or livestock, animals shouldn’t be abused.  They are helpless, especially domesticated animals.

Say what you want, people are not helpless.  A person may be  lazy or ignorant, but unless they are damaged either by accident or birth, a person is not helpless.  They can choose to rise above circumstance or not.  Our pets aren’t so blessed.  Tho the lion’s share of my charitable donations each year goes to our church, a sizeable amount is also set aside for my animal charities:  Humane society, the local shelter and various rescue organizations.

Recently thru Facebook, I “liked” a rescue group, for my particular breed of dog.  I started following their posts and activities.  This national org is amazingly well run and organized.  Thru the efforts of their board and thousands of volunteers with a similar mind, they rescue, vet, foster, transport, and find forever homes for hundreds of dogs each year….dogs that likely would have been euthanized if not for their efforts. No dog is unworthy.   No dog is hopeless.  And unlike many rescue orgs, they will take mixed breeds also. 

They run entirely on donations.  They are passionate about what they do. Nobody takes a wage.  All the money pays for caring for the dogs they rescue.  I made regular donations, and occasionally when a plea came in for a special needs dog, I would donate whatever I could afford.

But, donations weren’t feeding my passion.  I finally stepped up to the plate and asked if I could do more. They needed transporters–people willing to drive a leg while moving the dogs crosscountry. But mostly, they needed HOMES.  Foster homes for the dogs to stay long term while they wait for somebody to choose them.    I filled out the application and shortly was contacted by the zone coordinator and was given a home inspection to verify  we were a safe and appropriate place.  ” These dogs were already in the fire…we want to keep them from the frying pan too” she said.

A few weeks later I got the call.  ” are you ready for a dog?”.   It was kinda scary to actually receive the call.  Because of my living situation (dogs outside while I am at work) , it was decided that I would qualify for older dogs only, which is perfect, because they tend to be the hardest to place, and there are so many of them. I got my first girl in June.  Morbidly obese from being over fed, she was the sweetest thing you could imagine. All she wanted was to be around people.  We walked her and kept her on a diet.  I loved her. She shed over 10 lbs.  A couple of weeks ago I got the call ” we have an adopter for your little girl”.

It was harder than I thought to say goodbye. Dang..with passion comes a bit of pain too.

Now we have a kindly old gent living with us.  He is 10, and as sweet as our first girl was.  He was turned into the shelter because his owner died and his kids (who ended up with him) claimed he always ran away.  Well I’d run away too, if I was left alone all day by myself and ignored.  Gent hasn’t run anywhere.  He loves my two girls, and they play all the time.  He talks alot when he wants treats and food, but is one awesome dog.  Yes, he is in the sunset of his life, and if his sun sets at my house, so be it.

I’ve found my passion.  I’ll serve these dogs.  I’ll walk them, brush them, play with them and love them.  They ask for nothing but a nice place to rest their bodies.

I think I am getting WAY more out of this than the dogs.

Good dog..

Oh yea…and one more thing:

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:30 pm on Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chick forgot one small thing after her high school reunion:  On the way back home we hit a deer….a fawn actually.  Its the 3rd deer I have dispatched to its happy hopping grounds in my lifetime, but the first fawn. 

If it had stayed to the left, it would have lived.  If it had kept running across the road, it would have lived, but NOOOOO. it had to stop dead in the middle of the road ( like they always do) and despite slamming on the brakes, we still hit the thing dead on the license plate at about 40 mph. 

I was sad…very sad. 

But we remembered our Driver’s Education ( how many have DEER ENCOUNTERS in drivers ed?…we did).  Do not veer.   If you do, you will either flip the car or end up in the ditch.  Ya just have to hit the brakes and let the chips fall where they may.

I like venison, but not this way…:-(

Of Reunions, orange cones and tacos

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:41 pm on Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pharmacy Chick attended her high school reunion last week…her 30th reunion.  I have never felt old until I went into this banquet room and almost backed out to verify I was in the right place.  It was full of OLD people.  People who were fat..people who were gray…people who looked like they had been rode hard and put away wet…well not all.  Ill talk about that later.. I went to a very large high school with a graduating class of over 500 students.  There were maybe 200 people in the banquet so if you figure that at least 40 % of them are spouses, then maybe 100 students returned for the reunion.

I believe I have written before about how I felt about high school.  When I graduated I walked away, never to return…and for 30 years I didn’t.  I wasn’t interested in seeing people to whom I wasn’t friends with.  I had a VERY small circle of friends.  Painfully shy, without much money and no beauty, I didn’t fit in very well and found the whole experience to be drudgery.

Facebook brought me to my reunion.  After 2 years on FB, I finally entered my school information and shortly thereafter the friend requests came.  some I accepted, others I ignored.  “if I didnt’ know you 30 years ago,  why do you want to friend me now” was my gauge.   Slowly over time I developed contact with those few  people that I counted as my friends, and over a year ago the plans were hatched for a reunion…one I had no intention of attending.

Even unto a few months ago I wavered..yes no yes no yes no to whether I would go.  I sucked it up and went.  We killed a lot of birds with one stone on this trip too, which made it worth while.  We got to see Mr Chicks parents,  my father and his wife,  ate at my favorite Taco place  TWICE (yesssss!) and spend some precious time on the golf course with 2 of my former classmates.  That was the best part for me..4 hours of quality time with the two people I wanted to see the most. In fact the coordinator grabbed the score card after the round and said  ” I bet X that he couldn’t beat you on any hole!”  I got beat on 3 holes so I suppose some cash was traded.

A few observations:

1.  without exception, if somebody was chunky in high school, they were chunky ( or worse). 

2.  the class beauty was still beautiful..dammit

3.  After 30 years, nobody cared much about prestige or money.  You either made your way or you didnt by now.

4. Karaoke is stupid no matter who is doing it. 

5. There is not enough booze to make me karaoke.

6. I was never more happy to have fixed my chin/neck area than I was that night at the banquet. I wasn’t self conscious anymore.

7. The guy I had a crush on in Junior High/High School STILL acted like he’d never met me…do you honestly think I still think you are hot?  Seriously?


It was fun.  THOSE are three words I didnt’ think I would say about the event.  But it was.  It was fun seeing what people looked like after 30 years.  Some looked like they were a hundred. A few looked like they hadn’t aged at all.  A couple were retired already because they made their way very successfully.  Most had children ( I of course did not).  A few had grandchildren ( ugh..dont go there .. I am not old enough) Several had died and a moving tribute was lifted for them.

Over the 8 days we were gone, we traversed nearly 2000 miles.  I think 1900 of them were in construction zones.  Can you just kill me now?  It became a wild joke in the car.  We would finally reach a “end construction” sign, celebrate briefly then sigh heavily when only a few miles down the road there would be a “road construction next 55 miles” sign.  The dreaded “merge to 1 lane” happened so many times that I nearly forgot that I was supposed to be on an interstate freeway. At one point we were down to miles of gravel….yes gravel. when its 90 degrees out and the sun is in your face, the very last thing you want to be doing is crawling down the interstate at 20 mph when you were expecting to do it at 75. AC or not, its just plain hot after awhile.I never want to see an orange sign or cone again.

We got home mid evening on Sunday.  Facebook is an amazing creature.  Pictures had been posted and commented on almost immediately. Im enjoying looking at the pictures others posted because I didn’t take too many myself.  

They are planning on a 35th…I guess we will have to see what the wind blows in by then.