Saturday, May 30, 2009

Being Tired

After our organization went through some reorganizing and layoffs, I have this sense of dread as we move into the 'implementation' phase, which basically means doing the same with less. Less staff, less hours -- only thing is, I haven't detected less workload or customer traffic. Urgent Care Pharmacy on Memorial Day was totally insane. And we're still trying to figure out why certain people were cut back or let go and others (perhaps more deserving of the axe) were kept on or absorbed elsewhere in the system. Most definitely there were people who were eliminated not because their jobs were non-essential but because they could be replaced with 'cheaper' employees. In some cases one person has been replaced by two or three newer but less expensive replacements. I know that's the cold reality but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

So man, was I tired this week for some reason. You know the kind of tired where you feel like you are underwater? You can't even think straight? Your eyeballs are suspended somewhere on top of your head? You get home and it's a chore to remain standing at the stove while you make something to eat? Then you go to bed and you can't sleep while you replay some silly thing that happened that day.

I know that customers will expect everything to work the same as it always has, and we'll probably get complaints. Unfortunately, the people who made those staffing cuts won't be around to hear those. I'm hoping for the best but fearing the worst...

I was in my local Wal-Mart today and they recently remodelled the store and the pharmacy. Over the new pharmacy hangs this HUGE sign:

1. Call it in.
2. Use our website.

I mean, it was a really big sign. I don't have any special feelings for Wal-Mart, but I must admit I like that. CALL IT IN. CALL IT IN. CALL IT IN. Oh Lord, if we could only get them to CALL IT IN.

I wonder if they would make me a sign, too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

This Made Me Want to Cross my Arms

Yesterday I had a woman come in with a question about breastfeeding while she was on an antibiotic. As I was trying to focus on her question I was also trying to keep an eye on a wild 2-ish year old kid who was in the process of tearing up my OTC shelves. As the woman eventually nodded toward this same child during her questioning I came to the realization that the kid she was breastfeeding was this wild 2-ish year old kid who was in the process of tearing up my OTC shelves. She didn't seem to believe my answer to her question (that breastfeeding in this antibiotic situation was OK). Gosh, I wanted to say, maybe you should think about calling it quits with the breastfeeding.

This kid was 2 years old. Wild. With teeth.
People sure are......funny....

PS: Mom. I find it neither cute nor funny when your little kid stands there with a big smile on his/her face while they pick up and shake the crap out of every bottle of tablets out there. The eventual buyer will find the tablets broken and crumbled and they will return them and I will throw them out. Thanks for that. I am not running a playroom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Would Someone Tell Me What Just Happened?

Wait a minute, weather's getting nice, everythings greening up -- we're sliding into the lazy, laid back summer days. Why was today so frikkin' chaotic? What's going on?

We were shovelling out grocery bags full of prescriptions. People were throwing empty bottles at us like it was a shooting gallery. They were coming in asking to refill prescriptions with us because their insurance was telling them 'too soon' somewhere else (and they just didn't GET why we couldn't fill it either.) Issue after issue after issue.

The printers went down. The fax machine was acting up. The computer system went down (when it wasn't freezing up, that is).

Somebody tried to call in a fake clonazepam script. Twice. They were so inept I actually enjoyed it. Just for fun I asked for the doctor's DEA number and the person covered the receiver with his hand and hollered to someone in the next room ! Oh. Mah. God.

Everyone else must have been having the same kind of day because all the pharmacists I gave copies to were kind of crabby. I totally understand, but when I ask you where I'm transferring the script to, the answer "Walgreens" followed by stony silence isn't quite enough info. You know the drill.

It was just a cast of crazies today. I didn't even check how many prescriptions we did, but I'm sure it felt like double whatever it was....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pet Peeves (Contd.), or Silence Can Be Golden

I think I'm pretty good at multi-tasking. You have to be, to survive in a retail pharmacy setting. However, when I'm up to my neck in prescriptions to check or just buried under a list of things to do or people to get back to, the one thing I cannot do is keep up a steady stream of chit-chat. I have some great conversations at work with people, but they have to take place in a relatively 'down' time. I've been in pharmacy long enough to know that when I am distracted by someone talking continuously to me I will make a mistake or miss something.
I know this about myself from experience --- I'll check something or go through a process with someone yapping at me, finish it, but something nags at me and I'll go look at it again, and dammit, I did miss something. And it makes me really mad at myself.

So at the risk of being considered somewhat 'quiet' or not a lot of 'fun', this is the way I have to work. When there's nothing going on, I'm glad to chat. But when things are chaotic I get really irritated by people who just won't shut up for a few minutes, put their heads down and get it DONE. I swear there are times when I wish I had one of those air-horns to stop the din. And then there's always the person who insists on talking or laughing really loudly right next to you when you're on the phone. I clamp my hand over my ear and duck down and they still don't get the message.

I don't think customers necessarily want to see the pharmacy staff all talking at once and yukking it up behind the counter, especially about stuff that obviously isn't work related.
There's plenty of time for that when people are out of earshot.

Thank God we don't have the Muzak -- I'd probably go completely crazy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Riding the Roller Coaster

Haven't been able to pull together a blog post for a few days because I'm just beat up and tired. Not for the usual reasons (relentless phones, customers and problems in the relentless world of pharmacy) but because with only a few days' warning we went through some staff reductions and other cuts to improve our organization's financial outlook. Suffice it to say that rumors flew, tears were shed, some overdue decisions were made, and some head-scratchingly puzzling decisions were made. I've never been through anything exactly like that before -- the secrecy is intimidating and kind of weird (like what do they think we're going to do, set the place on fire?) Yes, there was some dead weight that was shed, and there were also some good people who won't have health insurance for much longer. I survived, but I can sure identify more with what's going on all around the country now.

There was so much uncertainty that I was playing out all the scenarios in my head. Right now the Classifieds aren't full of the usual pharmacy jobs, not because there isn't a need but because many companies have hiring freezes. Where would I go? I don't want to work in hospital again, and all of the pharmacists I work with who've come from the big chains say "Stay far, FAR away", unless you luck out with one good store and a really good staff.
It was an interesting exercise for me but I'm glad I didn't have to follow through on it.
Not yet, at least. But having the same workload with fewer people is going to be... interesting.

I do know that some of my co-workers were terrified of losing health coverage for themselves or their kids. That is something we've GOT to change -- health care shouldn't be a matter of being 'lucky' to have a job. That roller coaster's gotta stop...... I felt that way before and I'm sure of it now!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dentists Do the Funniest Things

Several prescriptions from a dentist "post-procedure". One is for 10 capsules of Celebrex (!).
Patient is on state assistance, and Celebrex is not covered. We call the dental office and they tell us they would be glad to switch it to something else, but the patient actually requested Celebrex because it worked well in the past.

The age of the patient: 17.

God, that's so ADORABLE !!

Full moon tomorrow !!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dress Rehearsal at the Purell Theater

Thankfully I've never had the need for Prozac, but I have heard people describe its effects as little 'electrical zaps' bouncing around your brain. That's how I have felt lately -- maybe it's the long winter and the Spring that just won't quite spring (cold and rainy then warm and windy then back again). My body doesn't seem to know where to set the thermostat. I seem to wake up at night with my mind racing with worry, but of course in the morning everything seems fine. I had a couple of days off when the whole swine flu thing broke and didn't know quite what I would walk into at work.

So I went in, splashed alcohol on every available public surface and scraped up one bottle of Purell hand sanitizer to buy for myself. (My nearest Walgreens had not one on the shelf.) I pulled the first e-prescription off the printer:

Tobradex ophthalmic ointment, 5-10 applications three times daily as needed.

Well, thank God for normalcy.

Surprisingly, I had only one man ask about buying Tamiflu. The news outlets reporting that there's a 'run' on it seem to convey the impression you just walk into the pharmacy and buy it. My community newspaper reported that the 'deadly' virus had been found in our state. Huh? --- I'm not sure we can call it 'deadly' just yet, at least no more than the regular flu virus which does result in deaths every year and always has.

Hopefully this thing won't turn out to be as serious as we feared, but I guess this has been a good dress rehearsal for what is bound to be a repeat performance. It's kind of sobering to see how those well-stocked store shelves we all take for granted can become bare at the first sign of an emergency, or a perceived one. Once this thing passes I hope people will think about their emergency preparedness and put aside a box of masks, disinfectants and other items that they would need should normal 'public' life be interrupted for awhile. I hope it never happens, but it does make sense.

OK, now back to the Tobradex guy.......