The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

The trip nobody wants to take.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:54 pm on Friday, September 20, 2019

Not long ago was Pharmacy Chick’s birthday.It was such a nice birthday…played some golf, had dinner with friends…It was a good day.  Mr Chick was home by the time I came home so I greeted him on the couch and said I would go upstairs to change my clothes.

In that moment everything changed.  My foot was unknowingly clotheslined in a charging cord attached to the couch.  I turned away and my momentum was interrupted by the cord. My leg twisted and I subsequently face planted on the tile floor.  I felt an immediate searing pain in my ankle.  Some rated R words passed from my lips as my husband came to my aid.

I am not one to utilize health care services on a whim. I figured I had a sprain and Mr Chick grabbed a set of crutches we had in the closet.  ( note to self: thanks for not taking those to goodwill after all) I couldn’t put any weight on my foot at that time so I wrapped it up, put some ice all over it and went to bed.

The next morning it was in just as much pain as the night before but with some serious swelling going on all over.  I sent a quick text to my doctor ( who also happens to be a long time personal friend). He responded immediately with ” hey I’m on call anyway and only a few minutes away, let me come over and look at it”.   He came over, poked it in a few places…”does it hurt here, here here here here? and it was no, no, no. no, YES!!!. He shook his head and said.  ” PC, you better get that X-Rayed…I think it may be broken. and if thats the case the treatment will be different than if it was just a sprain…”

We toodled over to the imaging center and had my foot x-rayed.  I asked the technician if she would verify if its broke or not. She was very cagey about it …” I cannot read it for you and interpret the results ..that is the radiologists job,  HOWEVER…I can let you SEE the images..”

I hobbled over to the computer with the images on it.   “This one shows it best” She points to a clear break on the fibula extending all the way down to the  bottom and it had clearly deviated away from vertical. ” Uh, its not supposed to look like that is it? I joked”  She said..” no, im pretty sure thats not what you wanted to see is it?” ” The radiologist is still here and will meet you in the waiting room.”

After  reassembling my brace and shoes, I worked my way back to the room. They  made a CD for me of the images to bring to whomever might want to look at them.

The Radiologist stepped out and said ..”well you have a bit of a break going on there and by the looks of it, you will be lining up for surgery pretty soon”  WHOA… that was the last thing I expected to hear… I figured they’d  slide it back together and put me in a boot.

He texted the images to my doctor who rung up the Orthopod on call who also saw the images and in the span of about 20 minutes I was scheduled for a surgeon to look at it Monday morning ( as it was the weekend).   I spent the rest of the weekend just letting the foot hang. ” no weigh bearing whatsoever” was my only instructions.  Not hard.. I had no pain unless my foot hit the ground..then it went from level 0-10 in about  1 nanosecond..

Fast forward to Monday:  After spending about 4 hours in the Ortho/Fracture clinic ( and about 20 minutes of actual human to human face time– lots of waiting) I had surgery scheduled for  Wednesday the 18th.

It was surreal. PC is a pretty fiercely independent person.  She does NOT like to have things done for her and she certainly doesn’t like to ask for assistance . All of a sudden I couldn’t even get dressed without assistance. My doc brought me a stabilizing boot saturday night which certainly helped keep it steady.

I spent all of tuesday hobbling around getting LOA and short term disability papers going, apologizing to my staff that Ill be gone for about 8 weeks during peak flu shot season.   They all thought it was a clever ruse …LOL.

Wednesday the doctor did this to my ankle.

So, PC is plated and screwed..and out of work for 6-8 weeks. Absolute no weight on that foot for 6 weeks minimum.  Let me tell you.. Post surgery was WAY more painful than I ever thought.  The first 48 hours were utter misery..and I consider myself a tough cookie. I withheld the pain meds as much as I could.  I finally relented when Mr Chick force fed it to me. Id say it took the pain from about a 8 to a 5 but 5 was definitely better than 8.   They wanted ice on it as much as we could but I never felt the ice would penetrate the plaster cast they wrapped me in.

Today is Friday, surgery was Wednesday.  There has been a significant improvement in the resting pain of my foot.  I can sit with my leg up and the foot doesn’t throb.  Thats a welcome improvement.  When i move about however, it still very painful.   After 1.5 days of 10mg of oxycodone every 4-6 hours Ive dropped it to 1 tab about every 8-12.

Im a golfer. This is an injury that makes a mess of my golf season.  Im gonna follow every instruction they give me so I can recover 100% .  Golf is my game. Its my post work therapy. It makes me happy.  Ugh.. it is what it is.  Im still in disbelief.  Its like Im living someones eases story for a while.

But I am not. So I cowboy up and move on!

cheers!

Reinventing myself part two

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:08 pm on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Thank you for your most kind comments regarding my new venture.
Some of you asked for some pictures of my work. If you are a golfer you know that a headcover isn’t going to worn on your HEAD….but on the head of a golf club..most notably a wood ( made from metal now days) and a putter.

Ive been staying busy taking on two jobs now, one that pays the bills ( pharmacy) and one that makes me happy ( sewing).

Since some of you want some pictures of my work, here are some examples:

All leather

Genuine Serape Set

Wool from Scotland

Ive literally made 500 or so headcovers and sell most on Ebay, but its fun to see them on bags and see where in the world people find and buy them!

Its never too late to let that creative side out of me! The hard part about this is that I get a little less anonymous.   I still prefer to keep pharmacy chick without a face … I still need this job ya know.

 

Cheers! More later!  its getting time to write about pharmacy!

PC

Reinventing Myself

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:42 pm on Thursday, July 11, 2019

PharmacyChick is first and foremost a pharmacist.  It is what I do for a living and it pays the bills.  It is not however what I want to be eternally defined as.  I do not what to go down in history as only a pharmacist.  I work hard when I work, but I rarely feel appreciated by the people I serve nor the company I work for.    I know that if I died tomorrow the likely response from my customers would be ” Oh, PharmacyChick Died?  Oh how awful…Is my prescription ready?”  My company’s response would be to post my position. Thats the reality of  what I do and this job in retail.  Its all give give give….all day long until there isn’t much left in the tank to give.

I don’t want that to be all there is.  It depresses me actually to think that my entire career is basically “wash” “rinse” “repeat”, day in and day out. Hundreds of thousands of prescriptions on file in buff california file folders with my initials on them.

On my vacation last summer I took the hobby that I love ( golf) and the desire to create something and (accidentally) started on a path to make a business. I started to sew. Headcovers.  No, not for a persons head…for a club head.  If you aren’t into golf it won’t make much sense but if you DO golf you would know that certain clubs require a cover to keep them from getting chipped.  They are often personalized and reflect the personality of the golfer.  They can be from the manufacturer of the club itself but frequently the golfer will dump those in favor of a cover that they like better.

I started to cut and sew for those people….and for myself. One year later, I have to admit its done ok for someone who has $0 advertising budget and Zero marketing skills.   Ive put them on ebay, facebook and instagram and what do you know?  they sell!   My house is substantially messier.. there’s sewing machines and fabric and leather and thread and partially made headcovers sitting everywhere.  But, it brings me joy to see something like this come to life. Its also a huge thrill to see one of them on somebody’s golf bag…it means they bought it!

Maybe its not a big deal to most people… so what..another small enterprise. But its mine. I own it, and I make every decision about it. If i want to sew, I sew. If I dont, I dont. If I want to make X i make X, there is not one single person who tells me what I have to do. There is no BOSS but me.  And, that is nice frankly.

I decide what to sell and at what price. If I want to give it away its my prerogative. If somebody doesn’t like something, I have every right to deal with it how I choose without asking permission from anybody else. Am I getting rich?  no.  But I enjoy it, something I cannot say about pharmacy….

Its mine. I own it. And, Im a tiny bit proud of that… 🙂

 

Cheers

PharmacyChick

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:07 am on Thursday, November 22, 2018

Id like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. If you’re an international reader ,no matter, be thankful for something today.

Mr Chick has been through heck and back with his multiple back surgeries but he can still walk and do most of the things he prefers… so while he isn’t whole… he’s here..we aren’t guaranteed perfection… so for that I’m thankful.

My job is hard and often thankless.. but it’s mine and I collect a salary that allows me a fair lifestyle  so for that I am thankful

My heart hurts for those I’ve lost but I have their memories and for that I am thankful.

We don’t have to look far to find things to be thankful for  just as we don’t have to look far to find someone in a worse spot of bother than ourselves.

Im thankful for those readers who still find some joy in this writer who may just resurrect the pen and post a little more…

Give love freely… give love much…. you never know who’ll be thankful for YOU today…

with love and thanksgiving to you…

The Pharmacy Chick

Emptying the rant box a bit. A new post from the Chick herself!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:02 pm on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Its been a bit since Pharmacy Chick did a pharmacy rant.  I prefer original material so I generally don’t repeat the same rants over and over despite the fact I deal with the same crap day in and day out. You’d think that after nearly 33 years in the same biz that something might be different but other than a change in technology ( which creates almost as many problems that it solves) the day to day chronicles stay the same.  Therefore I am going to empty my rant box into 3 piles: one for the patients in my practice and one for the doctors and one for the insurance companies

Patients first:  To my patients ( and patients world wide) :  I know that it seems like an impossible suggestion, but you are responsible for your own health care. You wake up each and every day, shower ( I hope), dress, go to your jobs ( also, I hope), pay your bills ( your creditors hope), and go about your daily business.   Amongst your responsibilities is taking some modest care of your health. Why does it seem so impossible for many of you to manage something as simple as the bottles of pills  that your pharmacy gives you?  As a pharmacist I see all the silly things that you do and watch as you somehow try to shift the blame to anybody but yourselves.  Ive actually been told TO MY FACE that if you die, its my fault because you failed to order your  medicine in a timely manner and you had no pills left.   Allow me to clarify a few details?  1.  It is never ever my fault if you fail to take your medicine.  2. its never my fault when you run out of medication  and don’t call for a refill 3. Its never my fault that your doctor retired and you didnt get a new one. 4. its never my fault that you didnt pack your pills when you went on vacation. 5. Its never my fault that you didnt read the materials I provided you. And yet, time after time, I am told I am responsible to fix these problems.

I work long and hard to service you in the best possible way.  I look for drug interactions,  disease and allergy conflicts and compliance issues but when I ask you about any of these things you look at me like I am intruding into your personal life and disrespect me and staff.  About the only thing you ever seem to care about is ” how long is this going to take and how much is it going to cost?”.  I don’t exist, my staff  doesn’t exist, and more importantly, the other patients don’t seem to exist.

To  the doctors:  We are supposed be a team…a team of health care providers to help our patients get well and be well.  So why are so many of you so antagonistic to the work that we try to do? Part of YOUR patient care is to prescribe medications to your patients.  And So therefore my friend, is to REFILL them.  If you aren’t going to authorize any more than 3o days at at time then you really better expect to get thousands of refill requests from pharmacies city-wide and have a plan to get them back to us in a timely manner.   Its complete and utter crap to make you patient wait 3-4 days to get a simple refill.  Its my belief that if you don’t want to see a patient for 6 months then you should prescribe for 6 months at at a time.  Seems reasonable. Enough said…

In addition, you may want to prescribe a bar of gold bullion ( i.e. Expensisiva capsules), but it may not be covered, And when we send you a request for a prior authorization we would at least hope you might acknowledge it. If you don’t want to mess with prior authorizations then dont prescribe expensive medications. At the very least you can check to see if Expensisiva is covered before you ship it off to me

And speaking of shipping it off to me, does anybody in the office actually READ your scripts before you send them?  Ive seen some of the strangest things actually sent to me.  Ive had shit sent to me that wasn’t even for the pharmacy….lets see…a massage….an IUD…. an X-ray….Really? Ive also seen some of the most glaring errors ever send over escripts, but worse yet would be to receive several of the same scripts with several different variations…but no clarification or phone call to cancel or modify it, which require a phone call to clarify.

And speaking of phone calls,  getting thru to the POTUS is easier than getting thru to you most days. Would it kill you to have a phone system that didn’t require listening to an entire speech before choosing an option? Could we actually speak to a human when we request to? And lastly remember we are representing your patients… we have no vested interest in annoying you… if it were up to us we have every patient call you instead of making us do their dirty work.

And lastly the insurance industry… you are the other woman in the medical care marriage.  You looked so pretty and inviting when In fact you were nothing but trouble. Once you got into this relationship you began your infiltration and extortion and pretty soon have managed to break the entire institution. Yea it’s a metaphor but it rings with truth. Drs don’t practice medicine anymore… they bow before thee to ask for permission …. “ is this covered? What must I do first? “ and the list goes on.  You’re all in cahoots with the manufacturers getting kickbacks to put a drug on the formulary list regardless of whether it’s really the best or not. You put more hurdles on the filling process than one might see on an Olympic track! And god forbid the audit process. Do you know how much we hate you? Especially when I’m sitting in a room with 150 files in a pile while some batfaced auditor with a pen  in her hair is calculating that a 30.5 days supply of Rytary was supposed to have been submitted as 31 not 30. May I open the door of Hell for you? They’ve been waiting for you. One might hope you never experience insulin dependent diabetes and need a script for insulin… because if you come to MY pharmacy I’m gonna be sure that you get exactly 30 days worth even if I have to throw the rest away. But  noooo I’m not bitter. Ok well maybe I am.. but I can be.. 33 years in the biz has left a certain taste in my mouth.

I’m an expert in the pharmacy business. But I’m a tired one. I’ve seen more changes in the last 33 years than I care to admit.  That’s another post for another day.  Time to step off the rant box for a moment . Let’s see if anyone still reads the Chick..

cheers!

Clean as a whistle

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:11 pm on Friday, March 30, 2018

Truth be told Pharmacy Chick cannot whistle.  It comes out like I have a mouthful of crackers actually, but it seems a fitting title for a post to report that night mare of Suprep did the job nicely, even tho I couldn’t finish the entire product…

The result was not one single polyp.  Happy to report that the actual procedure was a piece of cake…once all checked in..and naked…yes all ya get is a paper dress and some warm blankets… I was escorted into a colonoscopy barracks area with all of the others undergoing the same procedure separated by a plethora of curtains. Fully counseled, interviewed, re-interviewed..just incase some imposter was posing as me ( as if anybody would actually sneak into a place like this)…then rolled away to be put to sleep.

It was probably the nicest nap I had experienced for a while.  I didnt really want to wake up to be honest. Gotta love that propofol.  Once I was awake enough to get my stuff together and dressed I got the news that all was well and I figured Id go home, sleep off the rest of the anesthesia and enjoy a good meal.

nope.

Mr Chick had the car because of course I was not allowed to drive…or sign any contracts..or buy a house …or a car…or make a will ( yes they actually said that) and Mr Chick decided we were going shopping.  He drug me all over town, here and there and didnt seem to understand why all I wanted to do was sit in the car…even at a golf shop!
” you dont wanna come in?”.. ” um no honey, I just got out of general anesthesia with a hose up my arse.. I think ill just stay here if thats ok…”

Im glad its over…All the counseling I give patients has proved to be accurate…” the prep is worse than the procedure”, and Im glad that Ive got 10 years before I have to drink that god awful stuff again.

Cheers!

A pharmacists perspective on Suprep?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:59 am on Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pharmacy Chick  has reached the golden age upon which certain “procedures” shall we say, have been ordered.  Actually, she reached that age a while ago but had decided that certain body parts had been posted “exit only, do not enter”.  Finally after prodding from friends, she decided to take the plunge and get it over.

As I sit here at 3: 30 in the morning gagging down the last of the bowel prep, the only thought in my mind is this:  Never shall I, in the rest of my life, do….this…..again…..

I know this prep is worse than the experience…Ive heard about it and have counseled patients on how to use the various bowel preps.  But until you’ve stood over the last 12-16 ounces of that stuff, you just never appreciate how awful the experience is.

The first session wasn’t as bad.  Ill be honest, that first bottle and the subsequent water intake was mostly a cake session.  But the second one was beyond bad.  Firstly, I still have the horrible memory of the taste of that stuff in my mouth and getting most of it ingested was a lot harder on the second round without vomiting it all up in the sink. Secondly, drinking another 36 ounces of water seems like trying to drink the contents of a swimming pool….in an hour.

Ill never get that last 6 ounces of water down. Fail me if you must…aint gonna happen.

Now its wait and see….more later…

PC

Who needs Tide Pods?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:55 am on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I ponder the wisdom of our people when I hear stories of some of the stupid things that we humans do.  The most recent of all is the concept of eating Tide Pods.  OMG can we be any more stupid?  There was a movie quite some time ago called “Idiocracy”.  Without saying more, if you want to literally waste 2 hours of your life, watch it and see if it is life in 2018.

I recently had my own Tide Pod-ish experience.  ( By accident).  I was doing a cookie project in the kitchen.  Washed my hands well, then went about doing my cookies.  Somehow I got a wad of peanut butter on my finger and did what any normal person does…lick it off.  With in 10 seconds I was retching in the sink and barfed up the peanut butter, breakfast ( eaten about 1/2 hour before) and about everything I had eaten in the last 30 days…and I’m pretty sure I barfed up my toenails too… What was the offending substance?

Dawn Dishwashing liquid.  A small droplet was still on top of my hand that I had missed.  That stuff had me puking in less than 10 seconds.  I mean, this stuff is vile..

Not that I would ever professionally recommend it as an emetic, but if I had to barf something up quickly it would only take a minute amount of that stuff on the tongue and BAM, puke-0-rama.

Even looking at the bottle to this moment in time, I get a little nauseated  when I remember how Dawn made me feel.

So you Tide Pod eaters?  you got nothing on DAWN.

( gag, Im still sick thinking about it)

Cheers!

PC

Insurance 101 ( a January refresher)

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:49 pm on Monday, January 15, 2018

Now that we have launched into a new year, it seems appropriate to offer up a quick course offering in what can only be called “Insurance 101″ for patients . I really should be doing this every year…copy and paste…for my own customers because over the course of a year many seem to suffer from selective amnesia each and every January…

So lets launch into the basics of Insurance:
1. Its a contract between YOU the patient and your insurer. Either you are paying the premiums or your employer is ( or a combination of both) The insurance company takes your money and in exchange agrees ( in theory) agrees to pay claims for health care. Please note they are in the business of paying as few as possible and keeping as much of YOUR premiums in THEIR pockets. They in NO WAY actually care about your health no matter what their ads may say. Don’t let their propaganda sway you. They are a for-profit entity and they definitely like their profits. The only reason they want you healthy is so they make more profits.

2. Your pharmacy has a contract to accept claims. Imagine a naked man over a barrel. We are that naked man. You also are a naked man over a different barrel. We are both naked. The insurance company has all the clothes….and they own the barrel. Pretend there is a guy with a whip over that naked man. THAT is the insurance company.

3. The pharmacy does 2 things with your insurance and thats all: we fill a prescription under their guidelines and we collect the copay. we do not:
a. set the copay ( they do)
b. decide what is covered( they do)
c.have any say in how many is covered ( they do)
d.choose how often you can pick up the prescription. ( they do)
Do you see a trend here? ( I do)

4. These are the wrong things to say to your pharmacist
a. ” that price is wrong”probably not, in fact, if I have a properly submitted claim, its definitely not but if you can convince your insurer to change the price, you have my blessing and support

b. ” thats not what I paid last time”  might be true…but completely irrelevant. especially if its in a previous year

c. ” can you call….” stop right there…no, I don’t call insurances to discuss price because I am not involved in that, nor will I call a doctor to change a prescription because you don’t like the price.  I will however FAX the price or rejection information to the DR and let him decide how to proceed. Your therapy is between you and your physician.  I don’t have access to preferred formularies unless its transmitted to me and 99% of the time its not and its not generally appropriate or appreciated for me to approach the doctor about changing treatments .

d. ” Its your fault if I die”.  nope its not, and it will never be unless I have made a grievous error in the prescription.  If you refuse to take a prescription because of price, or refuse to follow up with your physician because something isn’t covered that isn’t my fault or my problem.

5. The insurance company would prefer you to have substandard care…FALSE  They expect you to have a high standard of care but that doesn’t mean that they have to pay for the most expensive drugs on the market.  There seems to be a common misconception among people  that when Expensivicon 100mg comes out  that all of a sudden that Cheapolol  is substandard and ineffective.  That is highly incorrect.  For the most part, the recent trends in “new” drugs is to retool an old one to simply keep a patent a little longer, without providing  any great therapeutic  advance or benefit.  Believe it or not Cheapolol has kept people alive for many years and will continue to do so despite the presence of Expensivicon !

6. Prior authorizations are becoming more common place so its probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with that terminology. This happens when a drug is not covered but MAY be if  certain criteria are met.  If its not met, then the answer is NO, but if it is, it may be covered.  Usually if its granted it will be at your highest copay level so be prepared for that. We don’t get them, the DR asks for them and they can take a few days to a few weeks depending on who takes ownership of the process. We sent a notice to the Dr’s office once and then they have to do the rest.

7. Cards…those plastic things they give you?  Carry them and show them to me EVEN if they look the same as last year…. Really..because something as small as a BIN  or PCN change will make you ineligible for coverage and while those TLA’s mean nothing to you, they mean everything to me.

8.  There is a big difference between December 31 and Jan 1.   It may be only a few hours, but its an entirely different benefit year and its a whole new game. Im sorry if you ordered a refill on December 31 and the Doc didnt authorize it until Jan 2.  When you asked for it may have no bearing on when its actually filled when its out of refills.

9. Read everything they send you! Dont just rip open the mail, extract the card and pitch the rest.

I know this doesnt cover all the nuances of the insurance mess that pharmacies deal with every day but this is a good start.  So, to distill it down to the basics….   1.  New year, new deductibles.2. Keep your card close and show it to us.  3.  Read the materials they send you. 4. Pharmacies dont write the rules.  5 Benefits change.

 

Cheers! Pharmacy Chick

 

 

 

I’m S.A.D

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:54 pm on Saturday, January 13, 2018

I don’t write much anymore, you all know that, so I am  sure that this post won’t reach as many people as it used to…and that’s ok. But be that as it may I want to share with somebody ….the face of SAD.

SAD is seasonal affective disorder, and for those who have it, it’s a nightmare.  Pharmacy Chick has had SAD for many years… some years aren’t as bad as others but this year is awful. The last time I remember feeling this bad was 2009. That year I contemplated suicide…a scary notion for someone who has access to the means to do it. SAD wasn’t recognized as a major depressive disorder for a long time but it is now and for that I am grateful. It’s onset corresponds with the onset of short days and the lack of sun. It’s symptoms are varied but the common thread is an overwhelming depression.

I will weep for no reason. Thought of dying will occupy my mind. I “know” that the world would be a better place with me out of it. That is SAD. It defies all logic. Pharmacy Chick is a logical person. She knows she has a good life…a loving family…good friends..a decent job..a comfortable home..but SAD tells me that I am unworthy and useless.

I am the master of deception. I have the ability to hide this from everybody. They don’t know of the urges to drive off cliffs or poison myself with pills and alcohol. I also am convinced that I am saved by the fact that I’m also a  bit of a coward… for I am more afraid to fail than succeed in my attempt to end my life. If I fail then I am forever marked as one who tried to kill her self…

The cure is the sunshine.  Nothing works as well as that hot orb.  Ive taken antidepressants…got a light box…taken exercise… nothing works like the sun.  I went away for a week at the years’ end and that certainly helped, but its fleeting…a week later I can feel the body tank.

I recently  joined a closed group on Facebook, members all have SAD. Their posts are gutwrenching. Some manage better than others, and while it feels somewhat comforting that there are others like myself, its also painful to know that others are suffering the same as or worse than I am.

Pharmacy Chick doesnt share where she lives to retain her anonymity…But suffice to say that its not the Sun-Belt.  I deal with the depression by refusing to stay in the house.  I go to the driving range and hit golf balls til I can hit no more… what ever I can do to keep moving forward…til the sun spends a few more precious minutes fueling my brain.

One day , after I retire to the spot where we hope to end up, SAD will hopefully be a piece of my past.  Til then its a daily reminder of my frailty…the common bond I have with many of my customers…and the sad reminder of the un-logical burden my heart carries this year.

 

 

 

 

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