Monday, September 27, 2010

A Workplace Topic of Conversation Today

There was a news story recently about a mother in Michigan who complained to her daughter's school about the appropriateness of a cheerleading routine that the 6-year old was practicing. It included the words,

"Our backs ache, our skirts are too tight, we shake our booties from left to right."

That's right, SIX year olds. I didn't know they started 'em that young. I guess it's no surprise that in the cut-throat world of cheerleading the end result was that the cheer stayed and the kid left the team.

One of my co-workers was commenting that his very young, school-age daughter and her friends liked to gleefully sing the "California Gurls" song that was popular this summer, including the lyrics "sex on the beach." These are second-graders.

I don't have a daughter, and I'm kind of glad. I'm not sure I could handle it. I'm not trying to sound like the Church Lady here, cause I'm not --- but the messages that girls get about the 'booty', starting at a very young age, has got to be something that is really difficult to navigate. Our kids are totally surrounded by sexual images. We can control what they see and hear to a certain extent, but we can't shield them forever unless we lock them in a closet. I remember an article once pointing out that the U.S.A. has a very schizophrenic attitude towards all this. There's a huge uproar when Janet Jackson has a wardrobe malfunction and flashes a breast on TV, and yet I can't pay for my groceries without an issue of Cosmo screaming "orgasm" in my face or watch any sporting event on TV without the Viagra/Cialis/Levitra hit parade.

I sometimes think that being a pre-teen girl nowadays might be the depth of misery. I see them come through the pharmacy sometimes, and walking to school around my house. Most of them don't look anything like Katy Perry. I know I didn't. I guess those of us behind the pharmacy counter (and in the doc's office) often get to see the consequences of the --uh,-- 'booty', a little too often. Believe me, I bristle at the thought of any Morals Police looking over my shoulder, but sometimes I wish we could just dial it back a little. For the girls, and for the boys.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Same As It Ever Was

This customer comes up to the counter to collect a Z-pack and some codeine-containing cough syrup for what appears to be a respiratory ailment. He seems thoroughly pissed off and grumbles to me, "Why do I get this every month? Why is it when I ask the doctor why I keep getting this, he just says 'I dunno'??"

Well, sir (ran my inner monologue) it might be related to your being about 150 pounds overweight. I don't sense a lot of physical activity here. I sense a general state of unhealthiness exacerbated by a lack of some good air moving in and out of those lungs on a regular basis --- like the ol' cough-and-deep-breathe they make you do in the hospital when you're bedridden so you don't get pneumonia and things like that.

But boy, was he mad at that doctor.

My second thought today has to do with the dreaded Hospital/Nursing Home/Rehab Center DISCHARGE. No pharmacy wants to see this horrendous fax coming because it usually means mass confusion, multiple questions and unanswered phone calls, a long, long list of medications both new and old that need to be filled and a thoroughly hysterical patient or family who don't know what the hell is going on (and are completely OUT of medication). I'm sure there are many places that try to do their best in sending the patient out the door with a clear set of instructions. Most of the time, it doesn't seem to work very well. The medications have usually been copied down by someone who doesn't know what they are writing. Most of the stuff wasn't even meant to be continued after discharge. Doses or medications have been changed from what the person is used to taking, and they don't know why. Some people get really upset by this and when they are elderly or confused to begin with, it's never good.

The companies that provide pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, as well as every hospital pharmacy, should have a Discharge Specialist. Some hospital pharmacists do discharge counseling on a regular basis --- that's good. They sit down with the patient or family, go through that list of medications, weed out the unnecessary stuff and clearly show them THIS is what you were taking before, and THIS is what you're going to start taking NOW.
They also set up a mechanism for them to get those medications filled and deal with the 'refill too soon' because the nursing home has already billed for them. Wouldn't that be great??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Retreat hell! We just got here!"

It's end of summer/back to school time which means many things for pharmacies (stock up on the lice stuff). Between various friends and family who work at different types of jobs I feel like I've heard a lot about 'retreats' lately -- you know, where a bunch of people from a company or department go off somewhere for a day and talk about their goals, their mission, their overall plan for the upcoming year, whatever.

Everybody hates these things with a passion. Usually they are boring as hell and considered to be a total waste of time. When I worked hospital all of the staff had to endure a bunch of meetings during the 're-engineering' of our department. Giant binders full of glossy flow charts and lists of stuff were generated by some out-of-state consulting firm that just modified the same recipe for whatever company they were hired to torment. People saw their job descriptions literally change overnight and there was a mass exodus of personnel (the economy was better back then so nobody worried about getting another job.) Gawd, it was horrible.

Thankfully, as a mere worker bee I am spared this in my current retail setting, but the pharmacy managers are required to attend gatherings like this and generate a rather fuzzy list of goals and objectives, which mostly just involves changing the order of the sentences from the previous year. They have no problem with WHAT they would like to do, it's the HOW that never really gets addressed.

I don't have anything against group meetings like this, but I'll never understand in a million years why they don't get all the people who DO THE JOB together once in a while to brainstorm on how to make things better, easier and more efficient. None of this ethereal 'goals and objectives' crap. Actual nuts-and-bolts ideas. I work with a lot of people who have some great ideas, but it almost seems like the people who run the place are afraid of us --- they never ask, they never give feedback on a suggestion, and people just keep bitching about the same problems day in and day out. I'll just never understand it. Somebody comes up with a simple idea, like moving a computer terminal, and it takes an Act of Congress to make it happen, if it ever does. This has been such a consistent theme through my entire work life so far, and it still drives me nuts.

OK then, back to school. My mission will be to tread lightly through the Nix and the ADD meds. Oh, and anybody know how I order more paper towels?