Saturday, April 29, 2017

Crazy RxMan and Private Health Information

When I was a young lad, I loved getting things in the mail. That might be why Amazon loves me so much today and keeps increasing my credit with them. I still love getting things in the mail.

Yeah, I bought lots of stuff advertised in my comic books. I fell for the x-ray specs and the handshake buzzer. I remember sending actual paper money and coins taped to the order. And I always received what I sent off for in the mail. You sure wouldn't send cash in the mail today, would you?

When I was a little bit older my tastes changed. I was now looking at Mad Magazine and Popular Science (my favorites). I guess kids that read Popular Science grow up to be pharmacists? And if they read Mad Magazine too they grow up to be Crazy RxMan.

One day I saw an add for a "free hearing aid" in the back of a Popular Science. It was similar to an actual ad I found shown here (from the Popular Science archives): 

As it turns out, they weren't going to actually send you a hearing aid... rather a piece of plastic the same weight and size so that you could get an idea how it would feel on your ear.

Ok, now here's the fun part: 

They really, really, really, really, really wanted to sell me a hearing aid. For the PAST THIRTY YEARS I have received advertisements from different companies wanting to sell me a hearing aid. I had long since moved away from home, gone to college, married, moved again, had kids, moved, and still, every now and then, they somehow found me and sent me an advertisement wanting to sell me a hearing aid. It's been a long time since I've received anything. They must figure I'm dead by now. And they're right. Retail pharmacy has sure killed my spirit.

I'm not even hearing-impaired, or at least I wasn't when I sent off for the piece of plastic. IT WAS FREE. I just thought it would be cool. You do a lot of stuff when you're a kid that you think is cool at the time. And despite what my kids say, I'm still cool.

Now here's my point of telling you this story... I tossed out my private health information (even though it wasn't actually true) that I was "hearing impaired." I became a golden opportunity for sales, and they persisted, for at least thirty years.

So I have a question for you: Don't you think, for a moment, if you're going to hand over your private and personal health information when you use a "FREE" GoodRx or another discount prescription card that they're not going to use that information down the road, most likely to sell you something? 

If you don't think that's true, I have some x-ray specs I'd like to sell you.

Friday, April 28, 2017

This is me...

When you mispronounce
your medications.

It's Atorvastatin, not Uh-torka-statin
It's Zolpidem, not Zo-lipid-em
It's Alprazolam, not Alprazadone
It's Atenolol, not Uh-ten-noll
It's Ibuprofen, not I-bee-pro-fin
It's Cetirizine, not Citric-zine
It's Hydrocodone, not Hydrocodocode (See this LINK)
It's Flagyl, not Flag-gill

What's YOUR favorite mispronounced medication?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Using The Force

A guy wants to use his HSA (Health Savings Account) card to pay for his medication. For those who don't know, this is a Visa card set up by one's employer with funds to pay for prescriptions and medications.

I feel a great disturbance in The Force...

I scan in his prescriptions and tell him the amount. I tell him to press the <CREDIT> button on the point of sale machine. Instead he ignores me and presses the <DEBIT> button. This causes the point of sale machine to ask for the PIN to complete the transaction.

"I don't have a PIN," he says.

Use The Force, Luke...

I reply... "Press <CANCEL> then press the <CREDIT> button."

"I don't want to cancel the transaction," he replies.

"This is how we get the machine to accept your card," I say.

"I don't want to be charged twice," he says.

Luke, you've turned off your targeting computer...

"You won't be. Press <CANCEL> then press the <CREDIT> button to pay."

"But it's not a credit card," he argues.

"This is the only way to get the transaction to work unless you have a PIN for this card."

"I don't have a PIN," he says.

We covered that part already, I'm thinking.

So I give up and decide to just wait. He looks at me, then back again at the point of sale machine. A good fifteen seconds passes then he decides to throw the dice. He presses <CANCEL> then <CREDIT>...

Approved! A receipt prints. Another satisfied customer!

The Force will be with you... always.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Far Right

"Where is your Tylenol for babies?" she asked.

"It's behind you on aisle six, on the far right."

She heads over to aisle six and begins to look on the left side. 

"On the right... way at the end on the far right."

I go back to filling prescriptions. People are loving this texting thing now but seem to think it's instantaneous. Type "F" to FILL and hit <SEND> means it pops out on our end ready to pick up. And I have a whole batch this morning that were texted to Goofmart. They'll all be here soon, even though the system tells them it will text them WHEN it's ready to pick up.

I look up. The lady is here again, with this look:

"I looked everywhere. I can't find it."

I go out to aisle six. Sure enough, the Infant Tylenol is right where I said it would be. I hand her a box.

She points to the children's Tylenol on the shelf in the middle of aisle six.

"I thought it should be here," she says.

I can't resist. "That's not the far right."

"I should have listened to you," she says, and walking off.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

You've been DROOPED

My son changed his schedule around at high school this year. Apparently some wires were crossed and he was enrolled in a math class offered at another high school... which none of us knew about. He never attended the class because NONE OF US KNEW ABOUT IT.

Then we get this email:

Seeing how the Registrar can't spell "dropped," I'm beginning to understand how he was enrolled in a class none of us knew about in the first place.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New Terminology for Pharmacy Patrons

I'm floating at another Goofmart Pharmacy today. In British terms that makes me a "Locum." Brits seem to have fancy words for everything. A few years ago I learned on Storage Wars Texas that $500 is a "Monkey" and $1,000 is a "Bag of Sand." 

I think we should make up some new terms here in "the colonies" for money too. We could use the word "WePay" to indicate a Medicaid co-pay because they didn't pay... we do (or did). 

"How much is that co-pay, Joe?" 

"Oh, it's a WePay." 

And why stop with money? We can also have new terms for every day things at the pharmacy:

People who can't call in their medication ahead of time using the automated system should be known as a "Techno Dunce" since they are incapable of using technology. Sometimes I think these people think if they actually used the phone to type in their Rx number they would somehow be turning over control of their lives to SkyNet. 

And in case you haven't noticed, most of these people refuse to give the Rx number to a technician... they have to talk to a pharmacist to do it. I think these folks should be called "a Techno Asshat."

Pharmacists and technicians who can't take the extra ten seconds to "X" a newly-opened bottle of medication should be known as "R-rated." (If they were "X-rated," they'd X the damn bottle, right?)

"Hey Joe, this bottle is open, but is it a full count? There's no 'X' on it."

"Oh, an R-rated Locum did that."

People who can't slide their own club card or put in their club card number at the register should be known as "Diapered." Obviously they can't take care of themselves in any way... someone must change their diapers too.

People who can't seem to put down their damn cell phone to complete a transaction at the pharmacy should be known as "Cell-u-ears." The cell phone never leaves their ear, so why not? 

Finally, people who use a bluetooth and talk while doing a transaction and although you think you're talking to them you're actually not should just be known as "Assholes."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A New Contender

Abbvie has long held the distinction of having the most annoying desiccant in their miniature bottles of Synthroid, making it nearly impossible to pour out the product for your patients:

Ah, but Alvogen wasn't going to sit around and let Abbvie have the title forever. They've decided to introduce a huge desiccant that barely fits through the top of it's bottles of Rasagiline, thereby irritating technicians and pharmacists everywhere:

Other manufacturers are surely in research mode even as you're reading this... desperately trying to create the most impossible desiccant yet.


Monday, April 17, 2017

This will BLOW your Mind

This is a portion of a new prescription handed to me by the prescriber himself:

It's clearly legible. All portions of the prescription form are filled out completely and distinctly.

Attention prescribers... this is how it's done.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Don't Press your Luck

"I'm here for my Lisinopril. I called you guys on Thursday. You were going to call the doctor."

"We faxed the doctor that day. We haven't heard back yet. We also have 'call when ready' noted on your file and we will call you when we have it ready."

"I'm going out of town. I'm short five tablets."

"Ok, I'll advance you five tablets."

"Well, can I have TEN, then? I don't want to stroke out on the slopes..."

And people really wonder why I have "resting bitch face" ?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Levaquin Lady and Steroids

Levaquin Lady rolls up in a motorized cart to pick up more Levaquin. You've probably read about her from other blog posts of mine. Today she was back for more.

Her physician also called in some Pulmicort for her. Apparently this was news to her as she had no idea it was here waiting for her. (It is amazing how often this happens with a lot of patients). Levaquin Lady, along with many of her many ailments, does suffer from asthma. I'm sure the physician thought this would be a good option for her. I'm sure he also discussed it with her but she forgot the conversation.

Levaquin Lady also happens to be here on April 1st. She sees my bowl of blue M&Ms and starts helping herself by the handful, chowing them down... munching away. It's ok. I put them out for people to enjoy and have a laugh.

As she's crunching away on the candy-coated chocolatey goodness of M&Ms, she asks me if Pulmicort is a steroid, because, as she said... with a mouthful of M&Ms, "Steroids will make me put on weight!"

Monday, April 10, 2017

April Fools Phun at the Pharmacy

On April first I had some fun. I made this sign and taped it to a bowl of blue M&Ms and set it on the counter.

The day was filled with a lot of laughter as one set of people after another had to take a double take on the sign. Some people (older men, mostly) had to turn around and come to the counter to make sure they were seeing what they were seeing and then let out a laugh.

Another lady started laughing hysterically. Yeah, I thought it was funny too but she really thought it was hilarious. She even went and bought more M&Ms to put more blue ones in the bowl since it was starting to dry up.

I'm not sure what The Authorities thought, however. Later in the day I saw two of the sub commanders out in the aisle pointing, staring, and whispering. Then one of them tried to sneak up to the counter thinking I wasn't looking and took a picture of it with his cell phone. So far there's been no repercussions from my joke, but you never know with these brainiacs.

All in all this was a good joke. Try it next year!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thirsty for an Answer

"I'm thirsty all the time and I urinate five times a day. Does that mean I'm diabetic?" she asked.

"Have you had your blood sugar checked?" I responded.

"I'm thirsty all the time and I urinate five times a day. Does that mean I'm diabetic?" she asked, apparently not listening to the question I asked to try and help her.

"Have you been to the doctor?" I ask. I'm ruling out Type 1 diabetes by her age but I do want to help her.

"I'm thirsty all the time and I urinate five times a day. Does that mean I'm diabetic?" she asked again. 

At this point I'm thinking maybe something is not right upstairs.

"Not necessarily," I respond.

"I'm thirsty all the time and I urinate five times a day. Does that mean I'm diabetic?" she asked again.

"No." I respond.

Lady walks away. I think diabetes shouldn't be first on her things to worry about.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why Do they Ask?

Every day people ask to speak to the pharmacist wanting advice. Sometimes they want free medical advice of some kind. Sometimes they want advice on which insurance plan they should get. Most of the time they want medication advice, which is what we're trained to handle.

Some people will ask all kinds of questions and I'll give them straightforward, honest answers on the over the counter medication they should get. Most of the time the advice is taken. But what I don't understand is the people that have answered my questions about the condition and listened to everything I have to say... and then decline to go with the advice or go with another product that has nothing to do with their condition.

Why did you ask my advice? Seriously? Why did you take 10-15 minutes of my time seeking the advice of a healthcare professional and not take that advice?

Imagine your car has a small leak. You've noticed a pool of goo under your car when you leave in the morning. You go on down to the Standard Station and ask to speak to a mechanic. The mechanic asks you some questions, looks under your hood, and tells you that you need some motor oil. So then you reach over and grab a bottle of antifreeze and leave.

That's seriously how it is sometimes, folks. Why ask the advice of a medication expert then completely dismiss it?