Monday, December 31, 2012

A Close Shave

This is not a post about morals and what's right. I know what's right and wrong, but I work in the Twilight Zone:

Man, age 50 something, with an active prescription for Cialis. Same man insists that his "file" be tagged with the following, "DO NOT LET WIFE PICK UP MEDICATION." Same man has spoken to me personally about said request. Request has been logged for quite awhile, but he brings it up every time he comes in. The last time I actually turned the monitor around and showed him the words on his "file." Same man looked satisfied (no pun intended) with the situation at that point.

Same man is a cliche for the old joke: He gets it refilled just prior to going out of town. This time it was no different... told us he was going "out of town" and needed a refill. Same man left the store without picking up the prescription we filled for him in 3.5 minutes. That's no big deal to us... we just keep it on the shelf.

Two days later the phone rings. It is the man's wife, wanting to know what prescription is waiting FOR HER at the pharmacy. The tech goes to the will-call and determines that there is no prescription FOR HER and by a pure stroke of luck doesn't say anything about the prescription of Cialis waiting there for her husband... which would have likely happened under different circumstances. Our computer automatically calls people when the prescription is not picked up in two days with a reminder call. The man's "file" has the same phone number as his wife and the computer was trying to call HIM, not HER. The tech very easily could have said, "No, we don't have anything for you, but there's a script for Cialis for your husband." Then all private healthcare protection information laws would have gone to hell in a hand basket. I can only imagine the lawsuits that would have come from that one sentence. Personally I'd like to see the cheating bastard get his due, but because of the law I have to keep his secrets.

Definitely a close shave. Phew!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Intriguing Website to Visit

If you've never been to Post Secret then give it  a look sometime. I've been following this website for years. Readers write their deep dark secrets on a postcard and mail it to this clearing house where selections are made on a weekly basis.

Some of the secrets are a little dark, many are quite sad, but some are quite surprising. I've never sent a postcard to the address. My secrets aren't nearly as interesting as some of the ones posted on Post Secret, or maybe they are... but you'll never know...

Link: Post Secret

Friday, December 28, 2012

Favorite Phone Call of the Week

I'm at a busy, busy pharmacy. A lady comes by with an insane request... can I give her a week supply of Percocet without an Rx? It will be ok because she's going to bring in the Rx later in the week. I tell her no. She gets mad. I tell her that's just not possible because it is a controlled substance. I tell her I'll be happy to call her MD and get an Rx over the phone for Vicodin or something. "No, no, no!" She storms off.

The next day I'm working all day again. The lady calls, but at this busy pharmacy we get 100 calls a day and I forgot all about the lady and didn't recognize her voice. She asks for the manager because she wants to complain about the "big ugly guy" who wouldn't help her the day before.

In a calm voice I said, "I was here all day yesterday. You're referring to me."

Dead silence. <Click>

In all honesty, I don't think I'm that ugly.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Texting with family members

Texting with my nephew's wife:

I don't think she has my sense of humor down yet...

Texting with my older son, a junior in high school,
who thinks a good grade means
I should buy him a new video game:

Texting with my younger son, almost in middle school:

Texting with my sister...

The worst part is that until my sister spilled the beans, I thought Santa was real too! Dang it!

Monday, December 24, 2012

You can always count on Hope

Yes, you can.  Hope is one of our patients that will be there right at opening time TWO days before her "Hydroco" (She's looking at the bottle which says HYDROCO/APAP 5/500 which is your standard Vicodin generic) can be filled.  It's always TWO days before the insurance will pay for it, and she always has "hope" that it can be filled early.  There there's the pouty look and the "Can't you let it go just this time?" question, because Hope has hope that I'm going to just change the rules for her.

I have hope that Hope will someday wean off her Vicodin addiction, but so far there's been no hope of having that happen.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cool New Gadget for Allergen Detection

This new gadget for your smartphone will help you detect potentially life threatening allergens in your food.

"UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science may have come up with a solution in the form of an analyzer which connects to your smartphone and detects any possible allergens in your food."

Cool New Gadget: Monitor your Stress

Just what I need to monitor my stress levels at the pharmacy...

"The Vita Index is a personalized cardiorespiratory score which is depicted after putting together data collected from heart rate, blood oxygen level and respiratory rate, while the Zen Index relies on heart rate variability as its basis, churning out a personalized score for your stress levels."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pharmacist or Torture Slave

I didn't author this comment. It is a comment posted on The Redheaded Pharmacist's blog entitled "Opioid Use Skyrockets" on December 17, 2012. I relate to the comments so much I decided to cut and paste here:

By PharmacistORtortureslave, December 17, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

Some True facts about being a RETAIL pharmacist (ie/ the introductory and available jobs for pharmacists/ also usually ‘easier’ jobs to get). This is not a rant just some honest truths from my experience:

1. You are a company employee; not a health professional or a ‘doctor’ (as viewed by other medical professionals, your boss including even your store manager, and patients (…I mean ‘customers’).

2. You are a ‘bag boy’ (“the velveeta rang up the wrong price!!”… ” how much are these paper clips?”.

3. You are a ‘phone rep’ (“do you have ‘oxy’ in stock”?… “i want to call in 10 subscriptions”… “prescription numbers 12345, 12346, 12347, fill these now i’m on my way”)

4. You are a ‘product location assistant’ (‘where is the milk?’…’Show me where it is!’… ‘is it on sale?’)

5. You slave for the federal government and other banking institutions where you took out loans from ( most students graduate with $100,000+ in student loans). You have to pay this back with after tax dollars.

6. Potty breaks… NO! Hold it for at least 8 hours. If you need to go then bring a catheter and bag with you. ( As a ‘Professional’ you are exempt from laws requiring lunches and breaks in most areas of the country). I know pharmacists who have urinated or defecated in their pants by ‘accident’ due to lines of people not letting them go to the restroom.

7. Lunch Breaks… NO! (see #6)

8. Anyone… I repeat ANYONE… can come to the counter requesting your attention ( The general public). Perhaps some pharmacists can post stories on this?

9. You are usually ‘salaried’. You are paid for 40 hours (depending on position) but if you have to stay ‘extra’ because it is a busy day or your technician is out sick you are working for ‘Free’.

10. Oh, you are a ‘drivethru window assistant’… at the same time as #1,#2,#3,#3,#3,#4 (I was not unintentionally stuttering when I typed #3,#3,#3). (If your pharmacy does not have drive-thru then LUCKY YOU!)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Secret Flask Hidden in a Tie


Working a 12 hour shift and no time for a lunch break?

All the Vicodin and Percocet prescriptions got you down?

You need the secret flask hidden in a tie!

"If you want to be sneaky about bringing in a little 'happy juice' into the office, then the Flask Tie is the way to go."

OF COURSE... Crazy RxMan would ONLY use this for water...  

Here's the link:  Tie Flask

Foolish Idea: Got Itch?

I have to tell you, if I'm itching down there I'm sure as heck not going to use this to scratch it... but that's just me.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indiana Jones has quite a package

The University of Chicago Receives a Bizarre Package

"They have no idea who sent it or why; since the postage was fake the sender had to mix it in with the inbound mail before someone went through it. It could be a student project, it could be a staff member who made it as a gift and accidentally put it in internal mail, or someone in the office could be playing a fun joke."

Package deflated. :(  Link:  Mystery Solved

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Foolish Idea: Unicorn Horn for Cats

This would last about 30 seconds on my cat's head before she ripped it off and killed it.

Can you imagine the people that all sat around in a room discussing and planning the production and marketing of this product and no one piped up and said that hey maybe this isn't such a good idea?  Talk about "groupthink" in action.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Gadget Promises to Stop Pricks

Scientists at the Center of Excellence in Electrochemistry at the University of Tehran and researchers at the Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Institute of Tehran University are collaborating on a prototype gadget that is capable of measuring glucose levels in saliva.

This would be a remarkable way to stop the finger pricks and bloodletting. I can only imagine the increased adherence and the promise of treating this disease properly.

No mention has been made to whether this gadget will help stop the pricks at the corporate level in my pharmacy chain, however. But I continue to have hope that something will be done someday.

Link:  New Gadget for Diabetes

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What keeps you up at night?

Do you worry about clowns? Money? Your kids? Your job?

I don't worry about circus clowns. I worry about the medications I dispensed that day. I worry that somewhere along the line I made a mistake that might harm a patient. I worry that I didn't catch a tech error or a drug interaction. I do the best I can, but I'm only human.

Trying to explain the stress of being a pharmacist to people outside of healthcare is difficult. If I'm a salesman and I don't make the sale, no one is going to die. If I'm a cable guy and I don't install the cable correctly, no one is going to die. But as a pharmacist one careless mistake can cost someone's life. And that keeps me up at night sometimes. And sometimes clowns do too... the clowns being the company executives that schedule too little tech hours and I have to do all the work and that increases the possibility of making an error.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Handy Website for Pharmacists

Link: 50 State Pharmacy Times

The above link will take you to Pharmacy Times. Click on the map for the state you wish to visit for Board of Pharmacy info and current local pharmacy news.  Very handy!  Thanks to Jason Poquette for tweeting this link out.

From the website:

"Welcome to the “50 States” section of! Pharmacists are invited to visit often for up-to-date news and events from their state, surrounding states, and nationwide. This new section of our website communicates vital information from across the country. It provides a useful tool to help pharmacists plan their professional activities, learn about what is going on in their own backyards and nationwide, and discover how pharmacy is affected. Our mission is to report on trends and important initiatives in the field, to support the state pharmacy associations and the national associations, to offer useful resources and links, and to provide a new roadmap for pharmacists."

Pharmacists, please READ THIS!

Link: Young Gun Speaks Out

This article says it all so well and concise... it feels like ME talking but it wasn't written by me. It was written by another pharmacist dealing with retail pharmacy insanity.

My favorite quotes:

"Expectations of perfection in an environment that is littered with a hundred different things to do and a hundred different distractions."

"The single most debilitating thing an employer can do is give an employee more work than can physically be accomplished and not only expect that it be done on time, but be done flawlessly."

"A massive disconnect between what the public thinks we do and what we actually end up doing." 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

These are hard to swallow...

But I may have to order them to have in the pharmacy. These are just way too cute...

A great gift for your pharmacist or tech... but we would actually prefer cash or gift cards.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Favorite Comment of the Week

A nice looking guy steps up to the pharmacy counter and proceeds to tell me his stomach has been hurting and he's not sure what to do about it.

"What did your doctor say about the stomach pain?" I ask. This is useful in two ways. First, it gets the message out real clear that he needs to be seeing a doctor for something that sounds serious and second, it gives a bigger clue as to what's actually going on for me to give my advice.

"I have not seen a doctor," he replies.  

Ok, that's fine. Maybe it just started hurting today after all the meals from the holidays. I thought about the day I was born. My mother tried to wake up my father to tell him it was time to go to the hospital. "Roll over! It's just gas!" my father told her. I was born three hours later. Apparently I'm just gas.

But back to the patient. Ok, he doesn't look poor. He's dressed in nice clothes. He has an expensive watch on his wrist. (I want that watch. I envy that watch...) I don't see why he wouldn't see a doctor, even if he had to pay cash.

"How long has it been hurting?" I ask.

"For 2-3 years."

I don't get it. You've got some serious pain, you have money to see a doctor, but you don't go? I just don't get it.

I advised him to go see the doctor since it's been that long, ALTHOUGH what I really wanted to say was "Well, wait 2-3 years and see if it resolves on its own."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mrs. Pushy

I'm helping one lady get her medication when another lady comes up to the counter. She can't wait, you see, and needs to push her way in front of the other lady. Unfortunately, this happens all too often despite the fact we have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR signs saying to "Wait here to preserve patient privacy" six feet away from the pharmacy counter. If you can't see one of the four signs, there's something SERIOUSLY WRONG with you.
Anyway, the lady says she needs something for stomach acid but can't remember the name of it.  She says, "You chew it. It's like Tums but it's not Tums."
"Are you looking for Rolaids?"
"Is it Pepcid?"
"How about Mylanta? They have a chewable tablet."
"No, that's not it."
"Hmmm... Are you sure it's not Rolaids?"
"No.  I'd remember if it was that."
"How about Gaviscon?"
I'm quite perplexed now.  I ask, "How about Pepto-Bismal?  They have a chewable tablet."
She's irritated with ME now. "No, no. That's not it. I'm going to do some shopping and see if I remember." Off she goes. Twenty minutes pass. I'm helping another lady at the register, when Mrs. Pushy pushes her way to the counter again.
"I remembered the medication. It's Rolaids!"
<big sigh>
Well, at least we know there really is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with her.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Mr. High School Teacher: "I'm here for my prescription.  It's that Lypo-tore generic, Silverstatin."

Me: "We have a prescription for you for SIMvastatin.  It's a generic for Zocor."

Mr. High School Teacher: "Yes, my SILVERstatin.  It's that Lypo-tore generic that's $4."

Me: "Atorvastatin is the generic for LIP-itor.  Your doctor didn't prescribe that.  This is SIMvastatin."

Mr. High School Teacher: "So I have A-tork-a-statin, $4 for a 90 day supply, right?"

Me: "No, you have SIMvastatin and it's $4 for a 30 day supply."

Mr. High School Teacher: "SILVERstatin is $4 a MONTH.  That seems high for a Lypo-tore generic.  I thought all generics were $4 for a 90 day supply?"

Me... giving up...  "Your SILVERstatin is $4 for a MONTH supply or $10 for a 90 day supply!"  I can't hardly believe it.  He's got ME saying SILVERstatin now.

Mr. High School Teacher: "And that's the generic for Lypo-tore, right?"

Me... entirely beat down, "You have a statin drug for $4 a month."  That's not a lie although I didn't answer his question.

Mr. High School Teacher pays the $4 in quarters.  I bag up the damn thing and smile.  I counsel him what to watch out for and that bedtime is the best time to take it.  He smiles back.  

He's about to step away when it left his lips... "How's this drug going to help my diabetes anyway?"