Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Men in the White Coats

It doesn't take more than a few days of working in a pharmacy to learn the perplexing phone calls one receives throughout a day. After a while, it becomes a normal step in an otherwise hectic day.

The other day was different.

Early in the morning I received a phone call from one of our elderly customers. She has always been a bit on the forgetful-side, but she is otherwise quite well. The reason she was calling was that she had been to the hospital the day before and was concerned about taking too much of her meds.

A quick check and I saw:

Cheratussin AC #120 1-2 Teaspoonfuls Every 6 Hours As Needed


Levaquin 500mg #14 1 Tablet Twice Daily Until Gone

Namely she was concerned about taking too much of the cough syrup as she took some in the middle of the night and couldn't quite remember when that was. We set her up on a rough time frame and called it good.

Now after lunch the phone rang again and it was her again. This time however, her tone was completely different from before.

"What um.... why do I have these meds?" was uttered on the other line.

My curiosity spiked, I inquired what she meant.

"Well you see.. I was uh.. I was just sitting on my couch when these six men came into my house. And the took me, they TOOK ME, off my couch and threw in me in an ambulance. I don't know why they came to g... do you know why they came? And they took me to the hospital to see this Doctor and the Doctor was scary and then... and then he gave me this medicine to kill me... and I don't want to take the medicine to kill me.. do I? Wait... who are you? Are you from that Doctor's office?"

Now I have talked to many people who have been out of it over the last nine years. Either they've been high on drugs (prescription or otherwise) or are generally just a little off, it is another common occurrence in a pharmacy.

This was something completely and utterly different. As I'm still comprehending what I'm hearing, her little voice says softly;

"I should hide. Do you think I should hide from that doctor? So he won't give me any more drugs to kill me?"

By that point sirens are going off in my head. This is a woman in her mid-70s who lives completely alone. If she goes hiding, in her condition, no one is going to find her.

After a few minutes of rambling discussions I convince her to stay put and that I'll call the doctor to talk to him about the 'deadly' medicine he gave her.

Upon calling the ER she went to I asked, quite plainly, if they had a next of kin on file or if they knew how she got home. Of course I received answers to neither question as I was passed from nurse to nurse to nurse.

Finally we decided to have a welfare check done. A few hours later we received a call back from the ER doc from the night before wanting to know what had transpired. The police found her at home during the check, thank God, and were forced to bring her back to the hospital.

I have not been back to that store since, nor am I likely to for quite a while, so I still have no idea what happened afterwords.

The most puzzling part is what precisely set her off so quickly. She had no history of mental illness prior to this which led our pharmacist to suggest perhaps it was a reaction to the Levaquin. He had read about a similar occurrence in the past and it was the only thing that readily made sense.

Maybe they should add something like this to an experiential section of pharmacy school.

The main lesson? Beware of the men in the white coats...

Friday, February 26, 2010

PharmGs - Pharmacy Gangstas

Completely and utterly hilarious.... I dare you, pharmacy friends, to watch this and not laugh once.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This Is My Gnome

Go ahead, click it and see it even bigger. You know you wanna

This is my gnome, Melvin. Pretty cool little guy isn't he? Melvin guards the plasma when the wife and I aren't home.

And he's a pretty damn good player. There's always ladies calling for Melvin. I think it has something to do with the red hat, but when I wore a similar one I struck out.

Then I thought it was the beard so I thought I would try that. Then I remembered its almost impossible for me to grow facial hair.

Other than that he's you're typical gnome. He likes to stay at a constant temperature, so he doesn't hang out outside like some of his friends. Melvin also enjoys drinking Johnnie Walker in the evenings and taking long walks on the beach.

Melvin is pretty much one of the coolest damned people I know. And he's not even real. That is how awesome he truly is.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm On A Horse

Now I don't usually enjoy commercials, nor do I usually pimp commercials, but I have seen this probably 50 time each every time it makes me crack up. It has gotten to the point where, at work, we will cite the lines from it.

Perhaps I'm just weird...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What the Fuck is 'PC LOAD LETTER?'

Silence filled the pharmacy is if all of the air had been sucked out of it. To be honest, it seemed as if the air had been sucked out of the area.

Plastic littered the floor and the smell of a hot printer head radiated my nostrils. Confusion slowly evolved to amusement as a smile crept across my face. As my eyes drifted up from the mangled pile of white plastic pieces stood a man in magnificent pose.

He was my pharmacist. And I was damned proud of him.

You see if look up "Cheap Ass Sonofabitch" in the dictionary, you will see a photo of the owner of the company I work for. It honestly goes to levels I really did not think were possible. Sadly this spills over to the technology aspects of our work day.
Thus, the 'newest' printer in our stores is only slightly younger than I am, myself being almost 24 and 1/2 years old. Many of them habitually display "PAPER JAM" when there really is no paper jam.

On this day I found out that this printer actually does have paper jams. Only those paper jams occur on every other patient ed form printed. An enviable situation it was not.

Apparently on this day the pharmacist had had enough. I had presumed he was going to clear another paper jam. It wasn't until I heard the loud crash that my attention was diverted.

"It fell off the shelf," was all that was uttered.

For it to be in so many pieces it was clear that it had fallen from a much greater height than the shelf.

Alas I cannot be angry, but be proud of the pharmacist that day. It was something that I, and many others, have wanted to do countless times over the past several years. As odd as it may sound, it also removed all of the stress built up from the day.

So to that particular pharmacist, I salute you. I think we can all drink to that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nine Years Ago Today....

Repost from last year:

That being said today is a special day, although not in a good sense. Nine years ago today my sport lost its leader, its champion and by all rights its greatest driver, Dale Earnhardt. After nine years it still kind of feels as if a family member is gone, which is rather strange. Then again those of you who did not follow the sport prior to that day will never quite understand. But if there is any of you out there who does read this blog and does understand what this day means... well then you'll understand the accompanying video as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Have An... AHEM... Size Problem

Around my first interview, for whatever reason, I finally got a bug up my ass and rediscovered the gym on campus. I had grown rather lazy over the past few years, I think some of that can be attributed to the stress I put on my self, and naturally it began to show.

Actually it was the fact that most of my t-shirts were becoming close to spandex like material on me and I didn't feel like buying new clothes.

Four months later I've dropped 30 pounds, am finally running sub-8 minute miles (I was a runner when I was younger) and my clothes are hanging off of me. My pants damn near fall off me on a constant basis, to which I apologize to the American public, as I am not used to always having to wear a belt now.

There has been an unforeseen side effect to this whole endeavor. It was something that everyone I mentioned to would not have considered either.

You see, my wedding ring no longer fits me. I originally bought it a bit larger than I wanted, with the logic being your fingers will increase in diameter over time, and I went for a stylish Tungsten ring. It's really pretty damn sweet looking. They warned me that I would not be able to resize it, but I couldn't imagine my finger changing so severely that I would need it resized.

Welllllllllllll looks like I was wrong. Who'da thunk I had that much weight to lose in my fingers. I mean seriously you can look through the thing:

Kinda hard to see in the small pic, but if you click it the larger view gives a better idea.

So now I am left with the proposition of buying a cheaper, way less cool, ring that actually fits. An oversight on my own part, I realize, but it still rather blows.

Thus, I just wanted every one to know that I am male, and I have a size problem. At least one of us can admit it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Twist to the Waiting Game

Much like the rest of us who work in a pharmacy and are applying to schools this time of year, chances are you know several other people who are applying to the same set of schools you are. It is just the nature of the beast. In fact I have become really good friends with one of them to the point where I refer to her as the little sister I never wanted.

However I discovered a bit of a twist to the waiting game I am in now. You see a couple of people I work with, including my friend, were all accepted to my favored school today.

It's an odd feeling because I am immensely happy for them... yet selfishly I feel jealous and a tad angry. More so, why couldn't I have been accepted right off the bat like them.

I already know the answer and it comes down to my foe in this whole process, the dreaded GPA, but it still makes me feel like an ass for thinking that way.

Oh well, hopefully my day will come soon.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pharmacy School Interview Round-Up

Man that's a weird title for this post. My mother-in-law is obsessed with Bonanza, maybe its running off on me.

I thought I would go over the five schools I have interviewed at over the last few months. Those of you thinking to apply to just one school, I implore you to consider otherwise. Needless to say I was shocked at the overall variation in several aspects between the schools. It doesn't hurt to have a well rounded selection if you ask me.

As always, no school names will be mentioned for anonymity's sake. This is to give an idea of what a collection of schools can offer.

Pharmacy School Interview #1

This is probably still my top choice. The program best fits what I want to do over my career. One of the things you discover as you travel around is how pharmacy schools can have vastly different focuses. This one was focused on patient care which I can relay into my retail aspirations.

By far, the students here were the most friendly. Not only were they kind during the Q&A sessions and able to stick around to chat afterward, but when passing students in the hallway they were spontaneously offer support to all of us. It was a small token at the time that I came to realize is a strong reason why I like this school.

Pharmacy School Interview #2

This is easily the my least favorite choice out of the schools. It had a vastly different interview schedule, which I now believe to be far too short. One of my interviewers stated she hadn't looked over my application nor even knew my name prior to sitting in the room with me. I briefly covered the experience here.

The students were nice, but they appeared frazzled. At times it seemed as if they were forcefully saying nice things about the school and the program. It wasn't until we ventured over for pizza and drinks, yes drinks, that they finally seemed relaxed.

It also didn't help that this school has a strong focus on clinical and research pharmacy, two areas I do not wish at this moment to go into.

Pharmacy School Interview #3

Whoever scheduled this interview is an asshole. I had to be on campus by 7am, by FAR the earliest out of all of the interviews. It was also my first experience with an interview essay, which went okay despite the fact that my brain is not fully functioning this early in the morning.

Didn't really get to meet too many students during this interview, but the ones I met appeared content with the school and the program. Some gave the impression that they did not really wish to be here, but it was 7am and during winter break so I will let that slide. I was VERY impressed with the way the curriculum was laid out over the four years as it had the most logical progression out of all the schools. The faculty was very laid back and VERY willing to help you, a nice touch.

Plus the location of the school, and the city it was in, gave it major points for living conditions. That is another factor I did not really think to consider when this all started.

Pharmacy School Interview #4

This school had the most beautiful and well thought out campus. Actually, you could say their campus was rather innovative in many aspects. The students and faculty were all very cordial and did their best to make you feel at home. I left with really no negative feelings, but also really no overtly positive feelings.

Easily, this school presented the most thoughtful essay out of the three I had to write and I found the topic to be rather enjoyable. The way the graded you throughout the day was also very considerate as it relied not only as you as a student, but how you are as a person. I would have no qualms about going to school here.

Pharmacy School Interview #5

This one was... well strange. No tour of the school was given and when I asked some questions about the program the response was, "Well you can look that up online." This was, by far, the farthest I traveled for school, so I really did not appreciate that response.

The essay was rather self-promoting in nature, much like the essay from school #3, but simple. I really don't like a self-promoting essay as it is forces you to sensationalize yourself. Honestly, I do not think you should have to do this, but I suppose it is not my choice.

Perhaps the most unusual portion of the experience was the interview itself. The questions were unlike anything I had had previously and it really through me off my game. One of the questions that really bothered me was whether or not I had a moral or ethical problem with dispensing Plan B. It was one of the questions, since it is a such a hot topic with some people, that I was not comfortable answering because of the strong views some individuals have on it. I rather felt like it was an inappropriate question given the circumstances.

That being said the faculty was overly enthusiastic, but the students only acknowledged us during the defined meeting time. They appeared content with the program, but also appeared rather distant.

Thus, the waiting game has begun. I have five chances to find out my fate between now and May 1st. The experience as a whole has been illuminating and I hope I have shown some light upon the process the last several months.

To be honest I am not sure what program I would decide on, if I'm lucky enough to have the option to decide. It's a decision my wife and I shall have to come at together, but as long as I get in somewhere, that's all that matters.

And trust me, there will be one helluva celebration if an acceptance letter arrives. And y'all are invited!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Everyone is as Cool as Me

Since this blog began on that chilly Fall day in 2008 there have been several underlying themes to my posts. Sure there are the rants on pharmacy, college, motorsports and the likes. But there is one theme, which I mention off and on on a semi-regular basis, that has recently garnered national attention.

I don't want to say I was the first one to state it, but I do think I deserve some recognition for it. Especially since several people over the years have said I was down right nuts for thinking it.

What is this mind blowing fact?

That Betty White is the greatest senior citizen in the history of mankind.

Proof is as follows on posts from March 24th, 2008 (Back when no one read this little blog) and June 12th, 2009.

You guys can send all of your congratulations to:

I thank you for supporting my awesomeness in this spectacular time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beware of the Elderly

I have stated several times that many of my coworkers are not... well they are not the most astute employees in the world. Some of them I am surprised they can pick the right drug when filling a script half the time.

Yes, they really are that bad.

I was having my tour at the counter about mid-afternoon after processing scripts all morning. I try to do a little bit of everything during a day when working with other people just to give them a change of pass. I see labels appear for Tramadol, Augmentin and Lortab for a 77 year old gentleman. The dosing appeared to be that similar of a some type of surgery, so I didn't think much of it.

And then the pharmacist handed me the hard copy. All it was was the discharge orders the man was given upon leaving the hospital.

Of course in my mind red flags went up immediately. No DEA number, no signature, just bare bones information. The pharmacist stated that the elderly man said this was all he had been given and didn't know what else he would need.

On a whim I decided to press the man. It was one of those gut feelings you always hear detectives getting on tv. I mentioned that we would have to contact the doctor to get proper prescriptions before we could dispense these meds. It was a bit of a tug of war match until he finally grumbled that he would see if he had them in his car.

A minute later he walked back in the store, scrawl on his face, with the hard copies in hand.

Ruh oh. Did I bust grandpa's little scheme?

He went from being cheerful to a downright asshole in about 4.2 seconds when I called him out. The kicker is that the hard copies had a much lower quantity (I'm talking like 12 tabs for the Tramadol, etc) than what was stated on the discharge notice. Obviously the doc on call was somewhat aware of the situation.

Thus, the more of the story is beware of the elderly. Then can be crafty drug seekers too. Plus they have canes. And canes hurt, trust me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Trip From Hell: Follow Up

Well I'll be damned. I opened my email this morning to a nicely worded letter from the airline that I had problems with during my trip.

Essentially the recognized the problem I had, but were limited into how they could respond to the situation. The figured out who the employee in question was and would be having a word with her. To top it off they gave me a $150 credit towards my next flight with them.

Granted, it does not cover all of the extra expense I had to endure, but I sure as hell did not expect to receive anything back from them.

Maybe the airlines aren't as bad as they're made out to be.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Theme Song for Pharmacy?

I bought this CD probably about three years ago and completely forgot about it until my recent excersion around the country. Always thought this would make a damn fine theme song for pharmacy and I used to have it playing in my head when particular customers came to the window.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cure-All Medication

As some of the regular readers are aware of I am a racing-fiend. Specifically NASCAR, but I enjoy pretty much all disciplines (I'll get up at 4am to watch a Formula One race for instance). The last few years some of the smaller teams have been signing sponsors from 'drug' companies.

It really started in 2000 when Pfizer jumped on the scene. Ironically the driver's last name was Fuller.

Pfizer stayed in the sport for many years and GSK got in on the act for a while too

And really there wasn't much wrong with it. Then we started getting the 'dietary supplements' entering the sport and it is where the purpose of this post came into play. Namely there has been extensive debate over the emergence of the supplement Extenze entering the sport

Often, since I have a background in pharmaceuticals, I am asked how can something like this be promoted on tv and on a car like this. Most of them are aware that it does not contain an active ingredient, so one would think that the FDA would step in.

And that is a very good point. How is it that products like these can be advertised, and advertised extensively, with little repercussions. We have a hard enough time trying to convince patients that generic brands are equal across the board or that simvastatin will work just as well as Lipitor in treating a patient's cholesterol.

Yet things like this are allowed to be advertised in anyway they please. Usually there is some crack down and fines involved for false advertising (Airborne being the prime example) but by then the damage has already been done.

You would think someone would want to step in and say, "Wait a minute, aren't we undermining legitimate healthcare by allowing these products to be on the market?"

And that is a very damn good point. Then again someone would have to overlook the dollar amounts involved and we all know that isn't terribly likely to change any time soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Little 'Slick'

"I'm a little dry, y'all gotz anything that will get me nice and lubed up for tonightz?"

Customer quote. All I'm really gonna say about it, so you guys can draw your own conclusions.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Trip From Hell

Let me preface this first by saying that I do not travel so I may appear ignorant in some areas of this story.

Before I left I mentioned that I was going on a bit of a trip. Essentially what this has consisted of is a vacation in Las Vegas, directly followed by my fourth interview which is almost directly followed by my fifth interview. All in 13 days. Wicked.

The Vegas part was fine, actually you could call it down right fun. Leaving Vegas though, that's when the shit started to hit the fan.

You see in my haste to exit our return flight I left my PSP and all of my games on the plane. Yes, dumbass move on my part (which will soon be eclipsed, trust me). Still waiting to hear back if they found the damned thing because I know precisely where I left it.

The next morning we went to the airport to fly out to my fourth interview. I had everything prebooked before we had left for Vegas, so I assumed we were set. I went to the kiosk to get our boarding passes and when I punched in our code this popped up on the screen.

This flight has already departed. Please select another flight.


I glance down, the time is right, the airline is right, the date..... oh shit. Somehow I had selected a fly out date for Saturday, not Sunday. To top it off, despite checking over everything at least a half dozen times, I never caught the mistake.


Over to the ticket counter we go to see how we can remedy this. The chick at the counter was a complete bitch. I mean rolling her eyes, the whole works. She informs me, obviously, that'll have to buy a new pair of tickets and the flight leaves in about an hour.

$450 poof.

Whatever, it was my mistake and at least we had a flight to the city I needed to be in. I took the high road and realized it could be much worse than it actually was.

We arrive in the city and mosey on over to where our rental car is. They give me the keys, and I notice the vehicle they had given me.... a PT Cruiser. Oh dear God no. Again, I said fuck it and lets go. I put the keys in the car start it.... and it promptly dies.

Now what?

Try starting it again and nothing. It appears, to me at least, that the battery is dead. Oh joy.

Luckily they were fairly accommodating and gave me a different car which was able to drive off of the lot. Hooray!

The next day I arrive at the school for our day of activities (note to those who will be doing this in the future, you spend 6-8 hours at the school and your interview is usually only 30 minutes. Make note of this.) and get myself pumped up for my interview.

I arrive at the appropriate room at the appropriate time... and no one is there.


Apparently there was some sort of miscommunication and my interviewer was unaware he was supposed to be here today. I felt like I had been stood up on prom, but this time without the booze to ease my pains.

Whatever, they find me someone else and the interview goes quite well. The trip is done! Or is it?

The next morning we arrive at the airport and find ourselves at the kiosk trying to print our boarding passes when this notice comes up:

Please pick up the phone next to you and talk to a Representative

Uh oh, am I on some kind of list? Did I utter the word bomb in an inappropriate place? Instead they tell me that my return tickets are void and I have to go to the ticket counter. Okay...

At the ticket counter they tell me that because we did not make our initial flight, it automatically voided our return flight. I don't fly, so I am completely unaware of this fact, but apparently she is. I suck it up, and buy another set of return tickets on the same flight.

$460 poof.

Now here is my question. Obviously the chick at the return airport was aware of the problem and understood that I simply did not have the time to call Travelocity to remedy the problem before I had to board. So why didn't the first ticketing clerk mention that my return tickets were no good.

I could have bought roundtrip tickets for over $400 less if she had just mentioned this fact. I know its my mistake, but c'mon, I thought these people were here to help in that kind of situation.

Alas, that part of my trip is over. With the extra airfare and extra night in a hotel that we didn't stay in (they were a package deal) the whole thing cost me an extra $1035.


I have no one to blame but myself for the entire situation. So here is the lesson kiddies, always, ALWAYS have someone else proofread your trip itinerary with you. Otherwise you'll end up like me.