Friday, October 29, 2010

My Wife Rocks

Never underestimate your support system. Seriously, its slightly surprising how much stuff they cram into your schedule each week. Tie in working and maintaining a family... And you can gather some idea the organized chaos that I deal with on a daily basis.

Immediately you are initially concerned on how you are going to balance things. Some areas are going to have to be sacrificed, there is no denying that, but where to do so becomes problematic.

This is where my awesome wife comes in. Some days I leave the house at 7:30 am and do not end up back home until midnight.

Yet she never complains. She's always happy and jovial when I get home, if she's still awake that is. Sometimes she'll have dinner ready for me, even though it may be excessively late.

And even when I am home, I'm often holed up in my study for hours at a time. I'm not sure if we've gone to bed at the same time since school started.

Still no complaints. And did I mention she's pregnant?

Often I have people ask how I'm able to do all of this on a daily basis. My wife is the biggest reason for this. Without her, and my beloved BlackBerry whom keeps me uber organized, I woulda sunk a long time ago.

My wife rocks.

You should all be jealous now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tale of the Rogue Shitter

“Do you have a tissue?”

A seemingly innocuous question, especially considering the time of the year.

“No,” I replied. “Walmart generally doesn’t let us keep tissues here for public use.”

She nodded, I finished checking her out, and she calmly walked away.

Looking up to the next woman in line, I notice an expression of confusion and slight terror in her eyes.

“Can I help you?” I ask.

She stammers, “Is that… is that shit?”

Perplexed I leaned over the counter to see what she was pointing at. There, on the normally sparking white floor, was a smeared brown mass leading away from the register. Trailing away from the smear proper were clear footprints with a small Nike symbol emblazoned upon them.

Quickly, I begin to analyze my encounter with the previous customer. There was a hint of tequila on her breath… did she stammer? What else did she buy? Was she wearing a dress?... Yes she was, a black and white floral print dress.

Why did she ask for a tissue? Oh wait…

The woman in line quickly steers her cart to another line while I block off my lane. I beckon for the CSMs to come to my area. Needless to say we are taught how to handle all sorts of spills, but human feces is not one of them.

“What… is that chocolate ice cream?” asks my perplexed CSM. When I state what I believe it to be she quickly asks, “Should we smell it?”

Should we smell it? You didn’t need to smell it. There was the typical corn kernel present, the ultimate calling card of feces on the floor.

If there even is such a thing.

How you can casually walk away from such an event I will never know. And to knowingly track it all the way out the door on top of it. In some twisted way, I'm impressed she maintained her composure, although now I know why she was exceptionally polite to me.

It’s also a good thing for her she chose to go commando that day. It was, however, not a good thing for us that she chose to go commando that day.

Moral of the story is when you gotta go, just go on the floor. Everyone likes a surprise.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Last Time...

Can't send you out of this world without one last listen to our favorite KoRn song.

Crank it up bud.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

...Because I'm A Scientist!

Note: This is one of the hardest things I have ever written on here. I'm not normally the type to outwardly speak of things like this, but it's something that I personally need to do.

How can you quantify one's life in a simple sentence? Is it an impossible endeavor? Or merely a monumentally difficult task?

I sit here tonight, jaw still agape from the day, trying to decide if this idea is possible. If there is a concise way to explain the entire being of one particular person.

Throughout high school I was luckily enough to find someone who not only shared in my unique sense of humor, but thrived in it. While others discussed the most recent football game or newest video game at lunch, we would launch off into philosophical discussions ranging from the intricacies of the newest KoRn album to the current world economic situation.

And when you're fifteen years old, that's a helluva strange topic span.

We survived two semester of Spanish together by plotting our eventual 'takeover' of the country. For instance we decided to sell Maine to Canada for a case of Labatt Blue, build a wall around Iowa and declare it a biohazard zone, and build matching old English style castles in the hills of San Francisco.

Once during a biology field trip we unwittingly toppled over a 20+ foot tree in the middle of the woods. The first concert either one of us went to found us wondering the side streets of the city, stumbling upon sights our young eyes had never quite imagined.

Throughout high school we had this plan of constructing a trebuchet designed to launch ourselves into a lake. Our physics professor at the time declined to help us, seeing as we were underage, but periodically over the years we would figure out the mechanics behind the overall design.

As high school ended, our trebuchet plans were put on hold due to time and money constraints. When I talked to him this past summer, he quipped that we had the time, he just needed for me to finish pharmacy school so we'd have the money to finally build the damn thing.

We jokingly discussed renting and arriving to our ten year reunion in a jet black helicopter, just to make people talk.

Now we will never finish our trebuchet... never shock our class by arriving in our jet black helicopter.

Hell we were supposed to retire to the same nursing home and proceed to blow it up via experiments from Bill Nye and Mythbusters. Assuming we survived from launching ourselves in our trebuchet that is.

From now on, each day is now a little dimmer, little less joyous,

Which comes back to my original question, how do you condense one person's life to a simple sentence? The thing is, for every person that sentence will be different.

I'll never forget the pride he showed after receiving his first job after graduating college. His new line, whenever someone asked why he did something, always ended "...because I'm a damned scientist."

And for me, that's about as concise as you need to get.

Godspeed Roy.

You were one of the best friends I have ever had and we had more fun than two people should ever have together. My life will never be quite as complete as it once was.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Should I Take an Elective in the Spring?

You guys want a small part in the path of my becoming a pharmacist? Well now's your chance.

For various reasons, I do not have to take one of our required courses in the spring which leaves me with an open block. I now have the opportunity to take an elective class or simply not replace that class at all.

Why the question then? Well there's two main outcomes.

Do not take an elective and have more free time this upcoming semester with the new baby. I know the first six months, roughly, are going to be the toughest and not having to take a class would make things just a tiny bit easier.

Take an elective, and I finish up my total electives more quickly. This will allow me to take off a block during my fourth year rotations, something which is rather entertaining to me.

So what would you do? Go for short term or long term gain?

Poll is on the top right of the page

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Advice For My Generation

As cheesy as it sounds, my generation of pharmacists is the future of the profession. Most are not as well versed in the field as I and it is something I am aiming to change over the coming years.

Right now the sole sources of information about pharmacy to us students come from the school and the organizations affiliated with the school. That information may, or may not, be applicable to every day pharmacy life.

My question to you is what would you tell someone in my generation about the world of pharmacy? It could be advice about school itself or about the real pharmacy world.

What would you have wished you were made aware of when you were in our shoes? How would you have liked to have been better prepared?

Feel free to leave your respective field and length of time in the profession if you wish. My goal is to collect these and use the replies to educate the rest of my generation.

We all have differing experiences and, as I've mentioned before, it is extremely beneficial to see all sides of the coin.

So be honest. Don't hold back.

I know I will.

Public Service Announcement: Check Cessation

Hi there, Phathead here for a helpful public service announcement.

Did you know we live in 21st century America? That we have such fantastical gadgets like the cellular phone and mobile computer. There is also this thing invented by former Vice-President Al Gore called the Inter-Net.

It is truly a wondrous time to be alive, wouldn't you agree?

Seeing as we have such wondrous technology to better our daily lives, why do we not use it more? There is no sense in using inferior technology like vacuum-tube computers, the phonograph or anything made in Canada.

Really, it comes to one simple sentence, and I want you to say it aloud with me.

Are you ready?

Stop fucking writing checks at the check-out line.

You see, with these new technologies, the ancient skill of writing checks is now obsolete. Much like we ditched the stone table and chisel for an Apple iPad, you too can ditch that lowly checkbook.

Did you know that at most retailers your check is processed just like a credit card? If you did not know this fact and/or your mind is blown, well the rest of this announcement is for you!

Did you know that you don't even have to write the check the majority of the time. Those little fancy robotic printer machines will do it for you!

And there is an even simpler way to conduct yourself at a check-out line. Don't whip out the checkbook at all! Leave it at home where it belongs writing checks for your mortgage, health insurance and pornography subscriptions.

There is a reason you have that little plastic card in your wallet called a Debit Card. And I'll let ya in on a little secret, it does the exact same thing as your check!


So next time there is a line of ten people behind you and you being to carefully write out a check, stop, step back and remember:

Stop fucking writing checks at the check-out line.

Let's make the world a better place, one non-check at a time!

This public service announcement has been paid for, and endorsed, by Phathead, Pharm.D. Candiate, Class of 2014. All rights reserved. ©

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pharmacy Junior High

Remember the days of middle school when your biggest worry was who you were going to sit next to a lunch or walk home with at the end of the day? It was a more simple time in many ways, but also extremely childish in others.

For instance, do you remember when someone would be upset with you and you'd get the shoulder slam while walking down the hallway? And after ending high school you are left with the assumption that those days are over?


Those who follow my every Tweet with abated breath, yes I am stoking my own ego, read about my attempt to become class president a few weeks ago. It was a failed attempt, namely because I focused on real world logic and a promise to not focus simply on social gatherings but on preparing us for the challenges ahead.

Naturally they are no where near concerned with that as of yet, so I lost. Personally, it's not too big of a deal as I will be back next year to try and convince them once again.

What has happened since has been nothing short of perplexing. You see, the gentleman I ran against is... well I'm not sure what he is. He conducts himself like a politician, literally having a checklist with him during the first week in order to meet everyone.

To most he comes across as someone through and polite. To me he comes across as someone with some sort of personal agenda.

He's not a bad person by any means, just not someone I overtly trust. A few times he stated what he wanted to do as president or what he thought of the profession and, being the kind person I am, I sat and listened as he described something not even touching on the realm of reality.

Afterward I offered him my counterpoint, to which those around us stared slack-jawed. As someone told me at the bar the other night, I've "owned his ass" several times this year.

What has happened since that election? Well I'm now blocked from his Facebook profile. That's right, he didn't defriend me, but merely restricted the hell out of what I can see.

When he talks to a group of people, of which I am included, I am ignored. Or if I am acknowledged, I am quickly dismissed. It's like I'm invisible but without the actual benefits of being invisible (i.e. sneaking into the girls locker room).

Really, we're just a shoulder slam away from having a rumble during the recess after lunch.

Obviously he feels threatened by me, which I find immensely humorous. It's also disturbing because I would have thought by now that we could be adults about matters like this. I wasn't bitter about the whole election situation, I was gracious and offered any support I could give over the next year.

Now I'm left with the options of being a royal dick and undermining him during the year, or coming back on the offensive next fall. Clearly, the latter is the best choice, but the former would be so much more fun.

Decisions, decisions...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thank God for Advil Congestion Relief

With the winter season quickly approaching, all are in the opening stages of prepping for the onslaught of the winter cold season. With the exception of the occasional sadist, no one in enjoys the sneezing, hacking and congestion the arrives with our yearly cooling.

But wait.... What's this? Could it be a savior for all of our cold symptom woes?!?

Contains Ibuprofen AND Phenylephrine? Genius!

1 Pill Dosing? Spectacular!

And at just $8.98 for 20 tablets it's a steal!

Hooray, the upcoming cold season is already defeated! Let that pesky rhinovirus burn in hell!

Wait a minute... 200 mg of ibuprofen... 10 mg of phenylephrine? How can this be? You could by the separate components for a mere fraction of a cost... but then again why would you to begin with?

With that sort of dosing you might as well just eat the box. Maybe drizzle some Nyquil on it for added effect and flavor.

Oh Pfizer, you never cease to amaze me in how you can squeeze money of the unknowing consumer. Bravo to you and your creative marketing product. Hope you can sleep well at night in your giant mansions.

Congestion free of course.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Anal Raping with a side of Tequila

Hi everyone. How are you? Pretty good I'm sure.

How am I you ask? Why what an interesting question. There is a mental countdown in my head right now as in four hours the skies will open and the tequila will rain down.

And I cannot wait.

School for the first month had been peddling along in first gear. They weren't shoving information in our face and all of the professors appeared to be kind, understanding and non-threatening.

It was a false sense of security.

Today will be my third test in seven days. Normally not too tall of an order... except for the nature of the tests. The week has steadily grown worse and in two short hours I will take my final exam of this retched stretch.

You see, they lulled us into thinking the exams themselves were not to be too bad. The practice questions were easy. The lectures were easy. The study guide was easy. The exams.... not so much.

It was like being in a prison cell with a lonely guy named Bubba and not an ounce of KY present.

In the last week I have studied more than my entire undergrad career combined. It became quite apparent that our profs were not as easy-going as they made themselves out to be. These exams have been the most demented, head-throbbing exams I have ever experienced. And the worst is yet to come.

For the first time in my life, I truly felt utterly and completely stupid.

And really I cannot blame the profs for this. I underestimated, along with the majority of my classmates, what would be required for each exam. Obviously that little tangent in biochem may ultimately be related to a problem worth 10% of your score on the exam.

As I sit here, bruised and bleeding, a new plan of attack for the rest of the semester has been formulated. These SOBs aren't gonna keep me down, and I'm going guns blazing for the rest of the semester.

First thing is first however... where the hell is that tequila?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thinking on a Macro-Level

Our society thrives on instant satisfaction. It is a theme which I have covered numerous times over the years, but there is a related problem that proves to be just as frustrating.

That being an inability to view things on a macro level... to see the big picture if you will.

I have an often unique perspective on the pharmacy world because I have contacts not only across this country, but across the world. Due to this, I often see individuals deriving conclusions about a situation solely from their own experiences. For example, if they are having difficulty finding employment, that must mean that it is difficult to find employment everywhere ergo, the profession is screwed!

Except that is not the case and, in fact, the severity of that particular situation tends to be highly localized.

As the world has grown smaller and we have become more blended society, many have regressed and begun to view their world in a local manner. Perhaps it is an attempt to hold onto times gone by, but it is an odd observation as much as it is distressing.

And it's something which must be negated sooner rather than later.

One of the reasons I enjoy chemistry, and happen to be good at it, is that you are forced to see the big picture in order to understand a topic. For instance, we've been covering enzyme kinetics the last few lectures and the discussion drifted over confusion over why a specific amino acid, Serine-195, was so important in the action of chymotrypsin.

The screen at the front of the hall displayed the related sequence and shape of the molecule. Many around me sat trying to figure out what made that particular site special. It took me all of ten seconds to realize that it had to do with the residues surrounding it... i.e. looking at the larger picture.

Sure enough, there is a triad effect with the surrounding residues that explains why this site is preferred.

In class we will be continually taught to look beyond the obvious. We are but a very small subset of the overall population and cannot speak for the majority.

Individuals flock to shows with hosts like Dr. Oz, Glenn Beck or Oprah because of the over-the-top, sensational set of advice or story they present. Most people take that at face value and move on with their life without ever truly thinking about what, or why, something was said.

That particular example is one of the reasons working retail pharmacy is so difficult. No matter how calmly and effectively we explain something, as soon as Dr. Phil goes off on a well worded rant (and lets face it, he's a pretty good orator) what we have said is immediately forgotten. Suddenly whatever has the most pop, if you will, becomes fact.

I believe the clinical term is "A Deficiency of Analytical Thought Processes."

That's why I respect a man like Jon Stewart, even if I do not always agree with his ideals. He is one of the few individuals who is trying to curb precisely what I am describing here.

Opening one person's eyes to the entirety that is the world is but one small victory. It is something that I try to do on a daily basis. If I had a personal soundboard, that would be one of the most well worn switches.

So do me a favor, the next time you're getting worked up or enveloped in an idea or situation, take step back and try and view things for what they really are. The world will be a slightly better place.

Trust me.