Monday, March 10, 2014

Down Memory Lane

Maybe it was getting outside for a long walk after a winter's hibernation that did it, but I started reflecting over my years as a pharmacist, and thinking about the little incidents that stood out to me. Although I've worked in retail for quite a while, a lot of my memories go back to hospital pharmacy, where I also spent a lot of time.  Through the hundreds of med-cart checks, the thousands of orders and IV bags and crash carts and questions about "can I mix these two things in an IV?", it's interesting how certain moments stick with you forever.  My own list includes:

-- one of the first times (as a newbie) I was sent up to the bedside to talk to a patient about his potential discharge meds.  He had a tube in his throat and told me he really wasn't interested because his wife took care of all that stuff.  I didn't know what to say to him and I still wouldn't today. I felt pretty darn inadequate.

-- walking through a "Head and Neck" unit where the patients often had cancer and were sometimes terribly disfigured.  One poor guy basically had a hole where his nose should have been.  The head nurse there was an absolute angel and took care of those people like they were family.  Her name was Sandy.

-- staying several hours late after an evening shift waiting for the blood bank to deliver a bunch of gamma globulin so we could run it all into an IV bag for an emergency high-dose administration.  I had never done it before.  I walked it up to the nursing unit after we prepared it.   I still have nightmares about tripping and falling, and watching that IV bag burst and splatter all over the floor.

-- ditto with my first experience preparing a bag of high-dose methotrexate.  The oncologist was young and fairly new and I think even he was nervous to order it.  The patient was a 21-year old.

--after years of working in the basement, being transferred to a surgical satellite pharmacy on an upper floor.  I remember sitting there with the sun streaming through the window one day and feeling reborn.

--starting a new hospital job and sitting through new employee orientation, when a huge packet of "Benefits Information" would be slapped down in front of me.  I'd think Gawd, this is so borrring!
Little did we know that that kind of job (full-time! with benefits!) would become the ultimate in good fortune.

-- and finally, going on bedside rounds in a Nephrology unit.  We were visiting with an older woman -- sick, chronic, hirsute.   She said to the (very experienced and very kind) doctor, "I'm worried."  He looked at her and said simply, "I am too."   I'll never forget that one.