Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Know When to Fold 'Em

An insanely tall lady in her late 50s approaches me at the counter. She LOOKS like she has conjunctivitis (pink eye) and she clearly needs an antibiotic, but she wants to argue with me that she has the same exact thing she had in 1984 and she asks me what we have over the counter for her eye. I tell her that she needs to see a doctor PRONTO. Why people keep thinking that we have over the counter antibiotics is beyond me?! We've never had that. I'm sorry.

During the course of our conversation, she somehow gets the idea in her head that I have told her she needs an oral antibiotic. I correct her-- no, she probably needs something for the eye but that the doctor will make sure. I tell her there are antibiotic drops for the eye and make a couple of suggestions but that she really needs to be examined by a doctor. She asks me if the "drops" will upset her stomach and once again I realize she thinks I'm suggesting an oral antibiotic. Mind you I NEVER said anything about an ORAL antibiotic. Finally she gets the message and leaves after touching everything on the counter and now it's time to disinfect everything.

The next day I arrive midday and the tech tells me that the insanely tall lady was there in the morning with an Rx for Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment and that she was upset because I told her to talk to her doctor about "drops" for the eye and she wondered if I gave her wrong information. My partner Mickey assured her that ointment was just as good as drops and she would be fine. I think the worst of it is now over...

Later in the day, I see her approaching the pharmacy once again. This time she has several file folders in her arms and she's heading my way. As a pharmacist you need to know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away... and know when to run. 

I should have run!

She opens her folder with pages and pages of hand written notes about her eye issue from 1984. No, I'm not kidding. She tells me about EIGHT different medicines she was given for her eye condition in 1984 and how each one caused her some side effect or problem. She ended up going to three different doctors and finally ended up at a dermatologist who said she had ocular rosacea.

And so now the insanely tall woman starts grilling me about the ointment and what side effects she's going to experience. I counsel her as best I can, but there are a certain number of people out there that are just... how shall we say... sensitive to everything or think that every medication causes them an issue. I tell her that because of her past experience she will likely experience some side effect (who knows what) but that I think the doctor made the best decision with the ointment for her. She leaves, but I have a feeling there will be detailed notes added to her current file with my name in it.

So I've decided to write a song about it...

On a warm March mornin' in a pharmacy behind the counter,
I met up with the tall woman; with a red eye that would weep.
She continued askin' me questions
Until she allowed me to speak.

So I says, "Lady, I've made my life out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their conditions are by what was in their eye.
So if you don't mind my sayin', conjunctivitis is your case,
You need an antibiotic for your eye, was my advice."

So she returned the next mornin' with a script for an ointment
She wasn't happy cause I told her to get some drops for her sight
I'm not an eye guy, but that ointment was just right,
If you're gonna take my advice, ya gotta learn to listen, alright!

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never fill a prescription when you're stuck at the register,
There'll be time enough for countin' pills when the counseling is done.

Now Ev'ry pharmacist knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what scripts to throw away and knowing which ones to fill.
'Cause ev'ry patient is a winner and ev'ry patient a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to give them the right pills.

So when she finished grillin', she turned away from the window,
Closed up her 1984 folder and headed out of town.
And somewhere in the darkness, I know she'll be back...
My times a comin', she'll be back with a frown.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
I'll know when to fill a prescription or when it's the right time,
To run out of that pharmacy before the countin' is done!


Stark Radio said...


Zed said...

Nice song, but maybe don't quit the day job just yet!

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! Love your writing!

Unknown said...

In Canada we have over the counter antibiotics for eyes. I wonder if she found information online about it lol