"Can you guys, like, cut my pills for me, so I don't have to?" asked the 19-year-old pampered princess as she sashayed up to my counter.
"Just a moment." I had to leave this one to the pharmacist. He has a nicer way of telling people to feck off than I do.
I don't know what is wrong with this girl. She is always like this. A few days before this happened, she was bitching because her insurance wouldn't let her get a three-month supply of her birth control. She whined that she was a college student and "didn't have time" to go to the drugstore every month. She told the pharmacist in a snotty tone to "just make it work" because she was not going to pay the cash price. Haha, yeah, good luck with that, Paris.
I don't mind doing favors for people, within reason. If you are elderly, or disabled, or have rheumatoid arthritis, I'll be happy to cut your tablets in half for you, or remove the blister packaging from your iron pills, or whatever you need. But if you treat me like a Victorian scullery maid, you can just Feck Off.
Most people start to get a little cranky after they've worked several days in a row without a day off in between. Sooner or later you reach that breaking point where every little annoyance rapidly adds up until you're completely insane, and once you've told a patient to take that prescription and shove it up his ass, there's no turning back.
I actually did not tell a patient to shove a prescription up his ass, because I am a Lovely CPhT. But that doesn't mean I didn't want to. By Day 8 I was so sick of dealing with people that I wanted to smash my head in the drive-thru drawer.
Here are some highlights from the past two weeks:
The girl in the drive-thru who freaked out when a wasp flew into her car. Believe me, it was very difficult not to laugh at a hysterical teenager screaming, "THERE'S A WASP IN MY CAR! THERE'S A WASP IN MY CAR!"
More drive-thru weirdness: the woman who put her window up while the pharmacist went to stock check her prescription. Yeah, I know it's hot out there, lady, but in order to efficiently serve our drive-thru customers, we ask that your window be in the OPEN position. You know, so you can HEAR US. It took about five minutes for the pharmacist to get her attention. I could not stop laughing.
Celebrating "Z-pak Day," "A/B Otic Day" and "Tylenol #3 Elixir Day," which were days when we seemed to have an unusually large number of prescriptions for these medications. (Of course, we all know that every day is Vicodin Day.)
Three scripts for Mebendazole Chewable Tablets. God, what is it with all these kids getting worms?!
Giggling like Beavis and Butthead at patient's last names. Heh heh. Boner. Johnson-Love. Penis jokes are funny.
"I wanna talk to the farmist!" "I need a refill on my Vico-dans and my Clonzapams!" "My Xanaxes fell in the toilet. Can I have some more?" "Someone stole my Oxy-cotton! Can I have some more?" "Yeah, um, my dog, like, ate my bottle of muscle relaxers. Can I have some more?" "I can't take the generics! They don't WORK!" "Can I take Motrin and Ibuprofen together?" "Why is my co-pay $10? I ALWAYS pay $5!" "Do you know what my co-pay will be for this medicine? I have Blue Cross." "No, I don't have my insurance card with me ... why, do you need it for something?" "Well, Rite-Aid/CVS/Walgreens/etc. ALWAYS lets me have my Hydrocodone early!" "I need a refill on my medicine. No, I don't know what it's called ... no, I don't know what it's for either ... but it's a white pill, if that helps!"
And my personal favorite ...
"Why do I have to wait for 15 minutes? All you do is count some pills, put them in a bottle and stick a label on it! I want it NOW!"
I'm not talking about when the patient gives you unnecessary and really disgusting information about their health problems. I'm talking about the people who bring in a prescription and you immediately know it's for something nasty, and you're scrubbing down the counters and debit machine with acid whenever they leave.
You might think you're a reasonable person. You know how things work. You're not prone to bouts of hysteria. But then your head starts to itch when someone drops off a script for Ovide Lotion. Creepy crawlies abound as you pull that Permethrin Cream from the drug bay. You get a burning sensation in your loins when you see the words "Zithromax 1 gram Power Pack."
Today was the first time I saw a prescription for Albenza. There aren't many things that freak me out, but parasitic worms are completely evil and terrifying.
I have always been very good at math. The pharmacists I work with, not so much.
I'm sure there probably just isn't anymore room in those huge brains of theirs. After all, they've got several years of Pharmacology, Chemistry, etc. crammed in there. Things like math just fall to the wayside, I guess.
Besides, who needs to know math when there's Lovely, CPhT, Math Nerd Extraordinaire? Who spent the better part of her teenage years eagerly solving any equations that came her way? Who frantically gobbled up Trigonometry and Algebra like it was crack? Lovely, CPhT, that's who!
So, for your reading enjoyment, I bring you a typical day in the pharmacy with yours truly and Mathematically-Challenged RPh.
Mathematically-Challenged RPh (thinking out loud): Okay, so there's 200 puffs in this inhaler ... and the directions are 2 puffs every 4 hours as needed ... (frustratedly tapping out numbers on the calculator) ... shit! That can't be right. Lovely, CPhT: Should last 16 days. Why, what did you get? Mathematically-Challenged RPh: Uh, don't worry about it!
Mathematically-Challenged RPh (looking at the weekly drug order): The system's ordered 4 bottles of Nexium ... and it comes in bottles of 30 ... so that's how many? Lovely, CPhT: That's 120. Mathematically-Challenged RPh (irritated): I knew that! (hides calculator under stack of medication guides)
Sometimes we come across the mathematically-challenged patient as well.
Patient: Blah blah blah, you shorted me some pills. Lovely, CPhT: Well, I see here that you received 30 tablets 28 days ago ... Patient: Yeah, and I only have 2 left!
Most people say that I am a very patient person. I'm the one my coworkers turn to when a particularly high-maintenance patient visits our pharmacy.
I deal with the little old ladies who want to know exactly how much Medicare Part D paid on each of their 15+ medications so they know how close they are to the doughnut hole.
Then there's the yuppie suburban soccer mom with three different insurance plans who wants me to bill each one every time she fills something to find out which offers the cheapest copay.
The middle-aged lady with private insurance and secondary Medicaid who calls once a month to have all of her psych meds refilled. Oh, and that blue pill for her blood pressure, she doesn't know what it's called. Oh, and the inhaler for her asthma, but she uses three different kinds.
Or the 88-year-old gentleman who doesn't know how to navigate the Touch-Tone refill menu, so he rattles off all 10,000 of his prescription numbers to the cashier at the front register as she tries to tell him that he's reached the main store and not the pharmacy.
These things don't really bother me, for the most part. I know not everyone is the Perfect Patient. In fact, most of them aren't anywhere close to being Perfect. Most of them are non-compliant, ignore the advice given to them by their doctors and treat pharmacy like a fast food restaurant. So I've created this blog for the times when someone does try my patience. It doesn't happen too often, but when it does, the proverbial All Hell does indeed Break Loose.
I hope you will join me in my retail pharmacy adventures. There are a lot of great Health Care bloggers out there, many of whom I have linked on this page. So if you are a patient, give us a read and find out what it's like on the other side.