This past week I can't count the number of people I waited on who had a cell phone pressed to their ear. Now, this isn't going to be another cell phone rant (although I'll say it AGAIN; if you don't terminate that call immediately, you have given the person on the other end of that call permission to hear EVERYTHING I'm going to say about your prescription. And I'm not going to wait one SECOND for you.)
In waiting on multitudes of people all day, I just can't get over how DISTRACTED everyone is.
We're supposed to counsel people on their prescriptions and believe me, I keep it as short and simple as I possibly can. I figure we should talk about the prescription at least briefly, but in addition to competing with the aformentioned cell phone, I've got people more concerned with trying to corral and discipline their kids, juggling their numerous bags and purses stuffed with everything imaginable, digging into those bags for money, credit cards, check books --- writing that check (which is a whole 'nother process in itself -- asking me the date & who they make it out to and then proceeding to balance that ledger), gathering up the other crap they have decided to buy and asking me if I've got it in any other flavors/colors/sizes, questioning the copay on the prescription before anything else and making it clear to me that actually using this medication has long since ceased to be anywhere on their radar screen.
With all the talk about the importance of 'education' in our country my biggest beef has always been that people don't take the time to READ, and if they do read they don't COMPREHEND. "Listening" is another skill that is similarly deficient. I told someone last week to get two doses of their antibiotic in on that day ---" take one capsule NOW, and another one TONIGHT." He calls me up 30 minutes later and says he took 2 capsules at once and is anything bad going to happen? .... And this is the easy stuff, folks.
With all the patient information and med guides we are required to stuff into every prescription bag, I'm honestly kind of surprised we don't get more questions from people.
I'd love to know how many people actually sit down and read through the instructions on that Spiriva or Asmanex or Maxair inhaler before they use it. People don't seem to know how to read and understand things that are right in front of them.
It's unfortunate that most of the children's cough/cold medications had to be pulled off the market recently -- not because they are inherently unsafe, but because too many parents couldn't read the damn directions and give their kid the correct dosage.
I find this worrisome. We can't live our lives in text messages and e-mails and Twitter feeds... but no one seems to have the time or the focus anymore.