The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

The Long Goodbye

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:42 pm on Monday, November 3, 2014

Ive been trying to write more in recent days.  The Joy is just not there….the desire, urge, whatever…to put the proverbial pen to paper ( which of course few people do anymore) but in this case, fingers to key board… has been gone.  No will whatsoever to really write my thoughts and place out for the world to see.  I no longer find it interesting to write about my job.

It’s been a good ride and with all rides…eventually they come to an end. This will be that end. I just have run out of interesting things to say and re working or hashing out the same old things seems silly. Obviously I am not alone. The heyday of pharmacy blogging has ebbed tho there are but a few interesting posts that occasionally shows up. I miss Angry and Angriest as only they could weave profanity into poetry. I miss Ole apothecary for his wisdom from the ages. I don’t care about politics very much and because the boards of pharmacy don’t care about pharmacists, doing battle with them is usually fruitless.

When I started to write, I was inspired to write for an audience that I assumed would be fellow pharmacists…those who could relate to what I wrote about…the day to day life of a retail pharmacist.  I was surprised to see that more of my readers came from the non pharmacy variety.. patients, nurses, a few doctors..etc..based on the comments I received.

I’ve written on just about every subject I could think of. I’ve had comments from people who could relate and some from people who totally missed the point and released venom only a rattlesnake could appreciate.  I still get comments filled with hatred about my posts on the oxycontin error made at a different store. The comments descended into a war of words on narcotics use and abuse when that wasn’t the topic. Yet I am trashed to this very day. I also get comments on the post about the Norco rx I got where the person wanted it 14 days early and was mad when I said NO because he felt that paying cash meant he could fill it at will. Clearly any post about a narcotic or controlled substance hits a nerve.  Any other drug in the same situation gets merely a yawn.

Ive been called judgmental and mean by people who think my job is to fill any prescription handed to me, no matter the circumstance. And of course that isn’t the case, legally or ethically.  We have a corresponding responsibility to only fill prescriptions for a legitimate medical use and I could face suspension for failing to do that.

I have been vilified for having an opinion. Apparently pharmacist cannot have an opinion.  we are to be robotic in our demeanor and actions.

Ive been carved a new orifice for not feeling sorry for every train wreck  that comes to my pharmacy.  Apparently being able to say no to an unreasonable request makes me an insensitive a$$hole.

Ive been shocked at the unkindness of strangers who read blogs for the sole purpose of spewing hate anonymously.  After a while I had no more tolerance for their crap and would either not allow their comments or would dish it right back.

Ive also cried with customers who have lost their loved ones after valiant battles with cancer.  Ive sat at the end of a death bed hearing stories about ballroom dancing with a woman whose feet will never touch the floor again. Ive sat in a dark pharmacy long after closing waiting for people also working late so they can pick up their own prescriptions.  Ive had mothers lose their children to cancer and children lose their mothers to the same.  I found Melanoma on the back of one customer who thanks me every year when he gets his flu shot, and called 911 with one hand while a customer on the phone believed he was having a heart attack ( and called ME for some reason…)

Ive made errors…I have caught errors. Ive written about my errors, and written about the errors of others.  Most recently I caught an error where a Dr prescribed Serophene 50mg for a pregnant woman.  Nothing made sense about this prescription and it took a great deal of effort to make the office research it. It was supposed to be Seroquel.  I asked the nurse. “Do you realize the gravity of this error that your nurse practitioner signed off on??”  She only said they picked the wrong drug on a drop down menu. I said ” We have procedures in place for when something like this happens in a pharmacy.  I hope that your office has the same because this could have been a tragedy.”

Ive written about the things I care deeply about and then later wondered about my lack of caring after all these years. I think my lack of caring has made it easier to quit writing because I walk away from work each day not fretting about stuff.  I give 100% of my efforts to doing the right thing in every circumstance even if its not popular. I’ve come to understand that what I do isn’t a popularity contest and doing what is right and legal isn’t always going to make me a star in the eyes of a patient.  Sometimes doing the right thing means somebody has to wait longer so I get an answer from a dr office about a drug interaction, a drug selection, or verifying the legitimacy.

Ive shared my private life with readers. Ive shared the loss of my mother, the death of my pets, my faith challenges, the thrill of the victories and the agonies of my failures. Every day I struggle with my inadequacies, so reading hurtful comments made that worse.

I wrote for my own personal enjoyment and after a while it became more work than fun as I struggled to come up with interesting ideas to write about. I attribute this to being not emotionally attached to my job anymore. Don’t get me wrong…  I care about doing a quality job. I care about doing the best job I can, in fact. I devote a great deal of effort to making sure that my employer gets his money’s worth. What I no longer do is derive emotional support FROM or get emotionally INVOLVED with the activities of the store or its customers.  I am friendly and funny, and happy and all that, because that is precisely what is expected of me. but I am no longer emotionally invested.   I don’t miss it when I am not there, and I don’t feel any special loyalty to the company.  Part of this emptiness can be blamed on emotional exhaustion.  Retail pharmacy can suck the life right out of you, just like the Dementors in Harry Potter… but part of the blame goes to the company itself who has demonstrated over and over that I am merely an expense, a person of no value, to be controlled, manipulated, and monitored.  I am weary. My work is for the Lord. It is only for his Glory that I expend the effort.  I have never wanted applause or accolades, awards or recognition.  Im a total introvert, those things STRESS not impress me. At the end of the day all I want is to have happy customers, accurate work and a clean pharmacy for the next day.  That is it.

And so, after trying ONE more time to post interesting thoughts and being not only disappointed in the quality of the material but the fact I doubt too many people even read me anymore because of the infrequency of the posting, Ive decided to sail off into the virtual universe.

So THANK YOU, for having taken this ride with me.

Blessings to you all.




And..the opposite of liar liar..

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:12 pm on Sunday, November 2, 2014

When you think that all my faith in human nature is broken by liars, cheats, seekers and abusers,  this happens.

And no, oxy guy did not come clean and confess.

Then phone rings and one of my regular customers asks to speak to me.  I get on the phone and she says ” Chick? you remember when you rang me up the other day?”  I replied with  an affirmative answer. She said ” You forgot one”.  She and her friend had about a dozen prescriptions between them.  Two older ladies, friends for many years ( maybe partners, I dunno) but when friend 1  developed early onset dementia, Friend 2 moved in and became her caretaker.  2 manages all of 1’s affairs, house and finances so 1 can stay home in a familiar environment as long as possible.

When we check people out, each prescription  comes with a plethora of paper. We sometimes end up with 3 sheets of paper for each prescription. Therefore with a dozen prescriptions there is a serious stack of paper. Obviously I missed one.  To my credit, most of these ladies’ prescriptions are in the single digits.

This one was not.

” You forgot to scan the Zetia,” she said.  ” $237.00″.  oops.  ” I am going to put a check in the mail and address it to your attention.  I couldn’t  just let that go”.

She didn’t have to do that.  I didn’t know I had forgotten that receipt.  In the pile of papers two receipts stuck together and one got missed.  But she is a honest person and felt it had to be paid. I thanked her profusely.


A few weeks ago, I left the grocery store with some toilet paper in the bottom of my cart that I hadn’t paid for.  I walked back in, and asked if I can pay for it at the courtesy counter since I had forgotten. They also thanked me. I also couldn’t ” let it go”.  Once, years ago ( when I was working  in my old independent pharmacy) this guy came in with a bag of peat moss.  The clerk hadn’t rung it up.  I also thanked him for his honesty and he laughed and said ” I’m not going to hell over a bag of dirt”

Maybe it was Karma that she called me.  Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised if people are honest, because that is really what is expected of us.  Sadly in today’s world we are more surprised by honesty than dishonesty.

It made for a good day.


Liar Liar pants on fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:10 am on Saturday, November 1, 2014

Its said that telling the truth is easier than remembering a lie.  That is true in pretty much every aspect of our lives.  Our deepest part of the brain would prefer to tell the truth because its easier. Pretty much every part of our bodies prefer EASY.  The truth is rooted in our unconscious because it actually  happened. The lie has to be manufactured.

We had a prescription filled yesterday for oxycodone 5mg.  The quantity was 60 and the back counted amount was 90.  One part of the label had 60, and the remaining inventory 90 was on another part of the label.  The tech flipped the two and gave the patient 90 and back counted 60.  He realized what he did, but the rx had just been dispensed.  He called and left a generic message at the home of the patient to call back to the store.

About an hour later I received the call.  The patient wanted to know why we called.  I would have preferred to not reveal all my cards so I said we wanted to perform a visual inspection of his medication because we believe an error was made. He wanted to know what kind of error so I said ” a possible miscount —” and before I could verify LONG or SHORT, and with no provocation whatsoever, he blurted out ” There were 90″ and I said ” EXACTLY,  and there were supposed to be only 60, so we would like to have you return—”

He  interrupted again went into total back pedaling mode… “um, I meant 60 I counted them , there were 60″.  I said.  ” You just told me 90 and I didn’t tell you how many I thought there was in there.  I believe you just told me the truth.”

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.  but this guy….he was caught in a lie.  His mouth blurted out the truth before he could fabricate the lie. He wasn’t budging tho and started rambling on how he mis spoke, and CERTAINLY he only got 60 and would bring it back to show me.
I said ” I have no doubt that if you bring that bottle to me NOW, it would contain only 60, but you told me you had 90, which is exactly the amount in that bottle  and I didn’t tell you if we were long or short.”  I wasn’t going to get into a war of words.  I had my answer.

I just said “I have to document our conversation, and will do so.  I will notify the doctor of the contents of our conversation and file it with the actual prescription.”

I really hate to be lied to.