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.