The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Meeting myself in the advice column.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:48 am on Monday, June 25, 2012

Our local newspaper has a daily advice column, of the ” dear Abby” variety.  Its kind of hit and miss as far as how often I read it, but occasionally its good reading.  It certainly brings to life the the expression ” truth  is stranger than fiction”.  There are some seriously messed up people!

One day last week this girl writes in and ( paraphrased) writes that she has a wonderful relationship with her boyfriend but for one thing: she fears she can’t do anything right–for example: if she puts the dishes in the dishwasher, he will re arrange them.  if she parks her bike at the park, he will straighten it out. if she folds the clothes, he will refold them. She cited a few more examples about how he must think she is a dope because he “fixes” everything she does.  The columnist responded and nailed it right on the head:  ” dont think this is about you honey, its about him”. She deduced that he probably has mild form of OCD-ish tendencies and for HIS world to be right, the dishes have to be straight in the dishwasher and that bike needed to be a certain way in the bike rack and his undies have to be folded just so.

I know this guy: Its me ( in female form). I have come to understand while I am not over the top OCD, I certainly have to have a certain amount of order in my life for me to be comfortable.  I dont wash my hands 100 times day, and I don’t need to straighten the fringe on the area rugs all day long or shut a door 100 times to be sure its closed, but if certain things aren’t right, my world is rocked off its axis until those things are corrected.

I keep my closet organized.  Its all separated by item and color.  all my golf shirts are arranged ROYGBIV, as are Mr Chicks by my hand.  All the pants hang a certain way and every drawer is tidy.  Black sox here, white sox there.  Everything needs to have a place..and everything needs to be IN that place.  If its not, then I ruminate over it way too much until I can fix it. I hate clutter…and I have too much of it already.

Mr Chick is not this way, tho to some extent he will entertain my obsessions and support my efforts to keep my world straight. He lets me keep his shirts in order and he makes a modest attempt to keep his side of the closet tidy.

I know I am ridiculous.

My golf bag is just as ridiculous.  If Mr chick hands me golf balls he finds and wants to stick it in my bag..and they AREN’T a titleist pro-v 1, I can’t hardly stand them to be IN my bag and cant wait until the round is over and I can get them out.  I dont like stuff in my bag that I dont WANT in it.  I dont like his fleece, or his water bottle or his rain gear in my bag either.  I need a good head slap probably.

My concession to this is the garage.  If it were up to me that garage would be operating room clean, and well organized.  Sadly, its Mr Chick’s space and its a rather messy and disorganized space.  When we replaced all the dilapidated  cabinetry a couple of years ago, I encouraged organization, but it didn’t go very well.  To this day, the drawers are a jumbled mess of junk and if we want something and can’t find it, we will more often than not abandon the search and go and buy it. ( then stumble upon it later) The cabinets have modest organization, but nothing special. I keep resisting the urge to start cleaning it…and I may give in  to the urge and do it.

Recently my world was rocked again with a remodel in the bathroom.  For 6 weeks we have had all of our bathroom and master closet stuff  in totes in the bedroom and guest rooms.  We have been bathing in the guest room and all of my clothes have been piled on the guest bed. I find myself tidying up OTHER areas of the house because I can’t tidy up the mess upstairs.  It makes everything dusty ( even with the draping) and currently its all cluttered and awry.  I made one step back to normalcy when the closet was completed:  I had my clothes back in place in record time!

The pharmacy is a reflection of my need for order.  I have things in certain places for a reason and they have to be there.  If my special spatula is missing, I am internally upset.  I dont care if the rx’s are in complete alphabetical order, but I do like them to be exactly equidistant on the shelves ( left to right) so I can see them best.  the tape has to be straight and the stapler has to be next to the tape.

I am grateful for a staff who understands me.

I am ridiculous…but its who I am.



Comment by JS

June 25, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

PC, there’s nothing wrong with you…AT ALL! There are people that are truly OCD and that’s okay too. I think that everyone one of us, to some degree are anal (to the point of OCD) about certain things. In fact, I bet if everyone would share a thing or two, you would see that you’re not alone in the world. For example, I must organize my cart contents in a certain manner, and place them on the belt in a certain way as well. There’s a store that I shop at, occasionally that make it a point to unload your cart for you and I go crazy. “DON’T TOUCH THE ITEMS IN THE CART!” I literally start to shake and have trouble breathing. Once they “STEP AWAY FROM THE CART,” I am okay. I have to unload and put them away in a certain way too. Keep in mind I am primarily tube fed; so all that I have are snacks and drinks for impromptu visitors and the few things I can munch on if I feel so inclined. And then there’s my car! I am the very same way. Nothing can be left in my truck. I drive an Escape. Nothing can be anywhere. The console has to be organized in a certain way and only certain things can be in there; just like my glove box! In the very back is a crate (it matches the interior) and it has my reusable bags for the store, my snow brushes, washer fluid, and all those emergency items that one should have in the car @ all times. Otherwise, there’s nothing anywhere else in my car. I wipe down my empty refrigerator weekly too. I am not OCD, and not everything in my life has to be perfect. But the things that I need to be in order must be in order to the point that it could be perceived as slightly OCD. So, in support of PC, share your OCD tendencies. Let her know she’s loved and not alone. Please understand, I mean no disrespect to those who are truly diagnosed with OCD. I know it can be a terrible, horrible, way to live (I know two people who have severe cases) and comes in many forms (Tourette’s for example). I love me some cheap therapy!ive come to decide and accept that if I have to have a few things in order to keep comfortable, then its ok….a little weird to some people, but ok with me! LOL

Comment by Jade

June 25, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

No one should dare accuse me of orderliness.

In an effort to hide my OCD, I deliberately sort and file items in a certain way. Unfortunately, I don’t always recall the creative exercise and have to upend the lot, thus restoring the natural chaos.

For many years, I used the same pen, and bought expensive fillers for it until there were no more pen fillers. When I find a good pair of shoes that wear well, I go ahead and purchase several pairs, and because they can only be certain colors, I have a variety of shoe polishes that can be applied to any shoe to make the shoes all appear the same color. I only use a certain pair of scissors at home, that I have had for 30 years, because I keep an eye on who uses them to ensure they are returned to the same place, but I have plenty of others so that no one needs to use mine.

I always park in the same place in the parking lot at work, and pick up a cup of coffee at the nurses’ station in ER, and if there’s none or it’s stale, then I have to alter the routine.

I carried the same little Swiss knife on my key ring that I’d had since high school and when the airport security confiscated it (“Or, we can have it shipped to you for $15.00.”) I stood in front of everyone and sobbed. Rationally, I cannot imagine what everyone was thinking!

But, all these little OCD ‘habits’ often have a very rational beginning, and later become just a little out-of-control, like an outdated wardrobe item that one cannot see beyond its comfort measure to note how out-of-style it can be–some things are so old-fashioned that they return to retro style. Some of the habitual way to do things have something to do with avoiding worry, such as a routine to check supplies, and then not having to worry about running out of something, or a habit of greeting people in a certain way to assess what kind of false sense of security about prevailing moods. Or, the little double-check routine I give myself when I’m working by myself at the counter.

Another kind of OCD is advocating for variations on a time- and well-worn idea that seems to work in different areas. I thought it was perfectly good idea for the pharmacy buyer to put stickers on shelves of items that were expiring soon using ROYGBIV to be able to tell at a glance the part of the year when items were expiring, but she just went on stickering and writing numbers on stickers. And twenty times a day, I’d pass those shelves and fuss about it.

When we were first married, my husband wanted to have all closet, cupboard, bureau, sideboard, etc. drawers shut tight, but I preferred to set them slightly ajar for ‘peace of mind’ to not seem so regimented, as if I did NOT want to be like THOSE people with zipped-up and buttoned down minds.

I’ve eaten apples the same exact way for 48 years (to avoid having sticky apple juice on my fingers), and my way of eating Oreo cookies avoids cooky crumbs with pieces of frosting falling on the carpet.

When I get home from work, I have Mr. Roger’s habit of changing into certain items of clothing, as well as what I do before I go to sleep. If that routine is varied, inevitably something is put in the wrong place and next thing I know I have lost my watch or cannot find my eyeglasses.

I have the same routine each morning, and if someone brings up the fact that I left the garage door open last night (because the dog wasn’t at home as usual to greet me and I went looking for her after I parked the car and found her eating pears in the front yard because someone hadn’t fastened a gate and the gate was open because the pin fell out in the dark the night before and hadn’t gotten replaced because it happened when someone was chasing down the dog who had slipped her leash because she had gotten her hair trimmed too much and the leash was too loose etc. because the regular vet assistant wasn’t there because someone else had done something out of the ordinary)… that I forget to put the dish of yogurt that is expiring that day in my lunch sack, and when I remember it on the half hour drive to work, I spend the rest of the journey bemoaning the wasted sale price of 75 cents a cup and jinx the rest of the day starting with that earlier distraction.

I think that it’s an acquired trait and deliberate response to a disorderly psychological irrationality of world prejudices, intolerance, and rigid mindsets. I was a lot less OCD when younger, but in a family of 12, there’s not that much that one can be picky about!its good to know that a little “order” in my life is ok!!

Comment by Stacey

June 25, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

I also have slight OCD habits (mainly when I was at school and my planner was in 5 different pen colours and 5 different highlighters – yes, I had 5 classes). My dad is even more OCD more in terms of habits then actions (if mom forgot to get bananas at the store his evening is off because he couldn’t have his banana after supper – even if we have 3 other fruits in the house).

However, our little brown jug (our dog – half pug and half jack Russell), is full blown OCD to the point we have brought it up to the vet a few times! If there is an empty box left anywhere (grocery stores here you can use cardboard boxes to take stuff home in), he will sit and bark at it until someone puts it where it should be. After we opened our pool and had the net draped in the backyard to dry, he had a hissy fit about it! Running around barking like crazy ( this weird high pitch noise ) until we had to physically pick him up and bring him in the house. If anything doesn’t quite make it in the laundry hamper he picks it up and brings it to you, if a pot boils he is the first one there to tell you it’s done. One of his toys got a hole in it that mom was going to stitch up the next week and he spent the night getting into everything (started digging holes in the couch) until mom showed it to him then put it back on the table. Once he knew where it was he curled up and went to sleep.
(sorry for any typos or grammar issues, typing this on my iPod)funny about the dog! Ive got three and none would be considered OCD but I have one that seems to have to circle forever sometimes before she lays down. Its rather humorous to watch her machinations before she ever lays down..and sometimes she will lay down only to stand up and repeat it!

Comment by just curious

June 25, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

Nothing wrong with that! Love your sense of order. But, I have to ask…if we’re both reading the same column from the same website/paper, were you more than a little annoyed when they removed the “dear abby” title from the ‘home’ tab and have now stuck it in the ‘lifestyles’ tab? I know it screwed with my head a little bit as I thought, “but, but, but…”abby”, you’re supposed to be *here*!” Or…am I the only freak who has noticed the move?ive been reading it in a literal paper for a long time and for us at least its been in the same place for years. we lost the real dear abby a long time and they replaced it with some other advice columnist of a similar genre a while ago.

Comment by MsLaurie

June 26, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

I am generally a messy, disordered soul… but even I have a secret corner of my life that MUST be just so – and that is my electronic filing.
I simply CANNOT handle e-files just being stored in a general directory, things require properly named folders and sub-folders, a ‘superceeded’ folder should be within each broad category (and items must be moved there, but not deleted unless duplicates) and all files must be correctly named! I am also a huge fan of version control, and get most irked when people save over changes without altering the file name.

Comment by The RPh

June 28, 2012 @ 5:40 am

Every pharmacist I have ever worked with has their own “quirks”. You are NOT alone. I admit freely to having OCD-ness in certain areas. I cannot function at work until I have put the stapler, pens, scratch paper, etc in the correct places. I cannot go to sleep at night with dishes in the sink and not in the dishwasher. However, other things don’t bother me at all, like the clutter on the table, or the mess of kids toys on the floor in the living room. In short, you are not alone. Embrace it and enjoy!

Comment by Frantic Pharmacist

June 30, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

I actually think it’s a desirable quality in a pharmacist. We have to be organized, orderly and a little bit anal-retentive. We are quality-assurance folks; we are double checkers. I’ve worked with some pharmacists who are lacking those qualities, and it can be a scary thing.

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