Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twas A Pharmacist's Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the pharmacy,
Not a patient was stirring, not even a proxy.
Prescriptions were hung by the window with care,
In the hopes that tomorrow will bring no despair.

While the patients were nestled all snug in the beds,
The goods one that is, likely not the hotheads.
And the PBM in their castle, and we in the moat,
The pharmacist is left, unable to emote.

When out of the gate, there arose such a clatter,
"Fuck," goes the pharmacist, "Now what's the matter?"
Away to the window he peers, eyes scanning with a flash,
And out jumps a patient, smiling, yet brash.

"I need some Norco," she states, wearing booze and glitter,
"Goddamnit," mutters the pharmacist, cold and bitter.
"We're closed, nearly Christmas and now you appear,"
"Drunk, disorderly and covered in beer?"

"But my night, kind sir, it all happened so quick!"
"And my Oxy was stolen, just ask my clinic!"
He starts the computer and curses the name,
Looks and wonders and says with an exclaim.

"Miss this was filled a mere four days ago,"
As her eyes quickly dart back to and fro.
"I told you once, kind sir, it fell in the trash,"
And now the lies are dealt, all coming with a crash.

"Stolen or the trash, where has it gone?"
Knowing the answer was to long foregone.
"I just need it," she says, her voice a quiver,
A junkie she be, veins a pulsing drug river.

"It is to soon to fill, you'll have to come back,"
And it is then it arose with so much of a crack.
"Fuck you, kind sir, who do you think you are?"
"Do I look like a hussy from the local bar?"

"I know my laws, have money and  know my rights,"
"And I know my doctor who will put up a fight."
"Give me my Norco asshole, or for I won't hesitate"
"To call the state board, take your license and castrate."

She paces and races and screeches aloud,
"Give me my drugs, right fucking now!"
The pharmacist steps to the window, mouth slightly agape
Waiting for his words to slowly escape.

He spoke not a word, but looked straight in her face,
How much more can we live in disgrace?
"Christmas it may be, the season of giving,"
"But to be a junkie is really not worth living."

"Bitch if you want, go throw and yell,"
"But don't you dare give me such hell."
"I am a professional, trained in health,"
"Not here to be your pimp despite your wealth."

He sprang to the gate, to her face gleaned anger,
"I'm sorry for your problems, but I care no longer."
As the gate slams down, the junkie shouts loud,
"Happy Christmas to all, and enjoy being plowed."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where Is The Passion in Pharmacy?

While struggling through my undergraduate years, what stoked the fires of my soul was pharmacy. I loved every minute of being in one and would do everything I could to absorb myself in the profession. My desk was littered with trade magazines, my computer flooded with pharmacy websites and even this little site here was born out of this fit of passion.

And while time was worn on and I find myself questioning that passion at times, it nonetheless is still flickering. The new fire in my life is my family, but becoming a pharmacist is ingrained in my being after my experiences these past ten years. It is, in many way, what defines me not only for myself, but for many of the people who know me.

So why do I not see this in my classmates? Why do I not see this in my co-workers? Why do I not see this in the majority of pharmacists, 63 and counting, that I have worked with over the years?

Where is that passion in others that drives me each and every day?

It is out there, fleeting as it may be. No matter where I have found myself, I have always had a pharmacist near by who truly cared about the profession. They saw what I saw, yet felt our hands tied in numerous situations.

My classmates seemingly go through the motions of school, jumping when professors say jump and barking when they say bark. Excitement is extruded over cute little informational clinics, the next frat get together, or the idea of an exam being over. We are tested on regurgitating classes of drugs, signs of a disorder and how to dictate a therapy.

Yet there is no passion in these discussions. For many, it's just more school... a means to an ends if you will.

Again, there are those who feel this passion, who want to see change or wish to envision pharmacy as something more than it is right now. Perhaps it is not as surprising that those of us have found each other to varying degrees as we, more or less, stand out within the class.

But we need more passion.

The disillusion in the profession still astounds me. Retail pharmacy is slowly devolving into a profession of puppets, only doing what corporate lays out for them to do no matter their desires. It is almost as if we are living in a George Orwellian 1984 and information is relayed in pharmacy doublespeak.

"Give more flu shots! Push for 90 day supplies! Obtain new patients!.... But we're going to cut your hours by 20%"

"Patient's are of the utmost importance to our business!... But you're going to be understaffed, only allowing you to spend a brief moment, if at all with them."

It is as confounding as it is frustrating. And I can completely understand why those who say they came out of pharmacy school ready to change the world, only to have their hopes and dreams squashed by reality.

My question is why give up? Why let that passion die? Why must so many pharmacists and students be so apathetic?
"Time is the fire in which we burn." - Delmore Schwartz
Above is one of my favorite quotes that I use as a reminder that our time is ultimately limited and that we need not waste it with frivolous activities. Live life and have fun, but do not waste it away merely doing what corporate says.

Find that passion. Fuel it and stoke its fires. Take that extra second with your patient not only to show you care, but to show yourself that you can do what you want.

We do not have to be pawns in a corporate game. We are professionals and we deserve to be treated like so. Stand up for what you believe is right and where you're passion for pharmacy proudly. After all, they can only ignore it for so long...