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Monday, May 22, 2017

Mind Your Letters

Sometimes even the most mundane arguments, nay, discussions, with patients can provide us with a humorous bon mot.

Uber-Tech: <what the patients must hear> How may I help frustrate you today?
Pt: I need to get a prescription refilled.
UT: Certainly. Which one do you need?
Pt: I don't know the name, but it starts with a "P".
UT: All of your "P" medications are too soon to fill.
Pt: <Huffy> No they're not. I know I need it. It's for my stomach or something.
UT: Uh-huh. Protonix is too soon. We just filled it last week. Could it be some other medication?
Pt: <phully phrustrated> No. It starts with a "P". Just fill it.
UT: Ooooorrrrrr. You could go home, find the bottle that is in a state most empty and tell me the number so we may process the correct medication you actually need.
Pt: <mumbling> This is why I hate coming here. You never know what I need.

15 minutes later

CP: CP's Prescription Emporium, you irritate, we medicate. How may I help you?
Pt: I was just in there trying to get my refill.
CP: Yep. I remember. Gave UT a rather difficult time about your "P" medication refill.
Pt: Yeah. Sorry. About that ... I was wrong.
CP: No shit, Sherlock. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Did you find your bottle?
Pt: Yes. It turns out it's my "F" medication. Here's the number.
CP: I see it here: Finasteride. An area a little lower than your stomach.
Pt: Yeah. "I got my "P's" and "F's" confused.
CP: Well, like some people's minds, a "P" is just a closed "F". See you again soon.

Recounting the conversation

UT: What did he say?
CP: He got his "P's" and "F's" confused.
UT: And parts of the body. I always thought you were supposed to mind your "P's" and "Q's".
CP: Yeah. There's a big difference between telling someone to go "F" himself and to go "P" himself.
UT: <Falls on floor>

Friday, May 19, 2017

They Just Don't Get It

Retail is like a basketball game. As long as the other team keeps scoring, you will be behind.
My boss doesn't get it.
She is rather narrow-minded and heavily under the influence of corporate Kool Aid.
I love our conversations, however much they resemble an exercise in futility.

Can't Help Annoyingly Needling Every Location: <struts into pharmacy like a queen> Hello!
CP: <Stares daggers> To what do we owe the presence of her Royal Ladyship?
CHANEL: Just checking on my peons, I mean, my peasants, no, what did they tell me to say?, my drones? Worker bees?
CP: They get the point, Madam Superior.
CHANEL: Like the nun?
CP: Yes. Because you are Nun The Wiser.
CHANEL: Oh. I like that.
CP: Thanks for making my point. As you were saying?
CHANEL: It seems from all of my reports that you keep falling behind in production.
CP: Well, you did cut our hours.
CHANEL: No matter. Our system works majestically so long as you have the right people in all the right positions.
CP: This sounds like a royal fuc... orgy.
CHANEL: Pardon?
CP: Nothing. Keep going.
CHANEL: As I was saying, with our current system, you should be able to pump out 40 to 50 prescriptions per hour.
CP: But we currently have 50 to be typed and 50 to be checked.
CHANEL: Right. So, because Corporate is flawless and perfect and shits rainbows like my mouth, that means you will be caught up in 2 hours.
CP: Dafuq? How do you figure?
CHANEL: Simple math my good indentured servant. <waves like Glinda> That's 100 total prescriptions to be done. Divide that by the requisite 50 per hour and you get two! ah ah ah ah ah Two hours of work!
CP: Thanks Count Dooku. But there is a flaw in your system.
CHANEL: Hardly. Corporate are never wrong. Math is never wrong. Pray tell how you figure, blasphemer!
CP: Simple math You Royal ... Leader lady. I currently have 100 prescriptions in my queue. You are assuming that no more prescriptions will be added to my workload over the course of the next 2 hours. And that is where you fail as a leader. Retail pharmacy is like a basketball game. As long as the other team keeps scoring, you will be behind. When the Cavs get a lead of 20 + points, they don't just go sit on the bench and wait for their opponents to catch up and tie the score. The Cavs continue to score. They try to extend their lead. In the same way, prescribers don't just stop sending e-scripts; patients don't just stop bringing us work to do; patients don't just stop showing up to pick up prescriptions; the phones don't just stop ringing; the fax machine doesn't just get paused; the corporate requirements (vaccines, cycle counts, the order, cold calls, etc.) don't just evaporate.
CHANEL: Then you're doing it wrong.
CP: Oh. I forgot. You've also handicapped me by making me play a man down. It's more like 4v5 now thanks to your cuts.
CHANEL: Okay. <twitches> Well, you'll be caught up before you go home. Cheerio! Pip-Pip and all that.
Uber-Tech: WTF just happened?
CP: The corporate robots get twitchy when you confuse them with reality. We are like a glitch in the Matrix to them. We operate in the real world and they can't handle it when confronted with logic and reason.
UT: You mean "alternative facts".

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Call Ahead Seating

This is what restaurants call it; or some variation that results in the patron using her smartphone to call the restaurant telling them she is on her way. This allows her to add her name to the waiting list now as opposed to when she arrives in 20 minutes.
Some restaurants call these reservations. 
Chain restaurants don't take reservations per se, but they accept and encourage people to use mobile technology to reserve, sorry, save, their place in line. (I understand. People will skip reservations without calling. Instead of reservations for next Friday that may not show, they accept "holds on seats" for 20 minutes into the future for people more likely to dine at their venue.)

Retail pharmacies have used and encouraged this for decades. It's called "call in your refill before you come to the pharmacy". A day or two early would be most appreciated. However, the non-adopters of this technology are also the ones to complain when a party that just walked in the door gets seated ahead of them.

Words of Advice: Call Ahead.
1. If you want to make sure we have it in stock, Call Ahead.
2. You just left the office and your prescriber sent it electronically? Call ahead. Call now. If we received it we can move it up in the queue. (Me love you long time for doing this.)
3. For the last 6 months I have personally told you we will not stock your $2500 medication and that you should call 1 or 2 days before you need it. Don't yell at me about not stocking it after I told you to Call Ahead.
4. You want to know why it takes so long to wait for a refill? Call Ahead.
5. I monitor my queue and make all antibiotics high priority or waiters. This minimizes wait times. Not everyone does this for her patients so ... Call Ahead.
6. People always ask if they can wait. Of course. I am not one to keep you from doing whatever you choose to do with your time. However, instead of standing around waiting at my counter, does it not make more sense to Call Ahead, perhaps a day or two or three early, and spend your time waiting ... elsewhere? Like home?

I had a gentleman last week walk in and hand me a bottle. I asked why he did not call in the refill.
Old Guy: I need this refilled.
CP: Why didn't you call this in over the phone so you wouldn't have to wait?
OG: Why would I call it in and have you guys tell me 2 hours, or tomorrow, when I could just bring it in and you'll tell me 20 minutes? I can shop during that time.
CP: True ... Or you could have called it in yesterday, walked in now, just as you are here to shop, and not have to wait 20 minutes because it would already be done.
OG: But I'm here now.
CP: Unfortunately your medication is not. We don't receive our order for another hour. Had you called it in yesterday, we may have had all of it. Or we could have told you to come down at a later time. You will still have to make another trip.
OG: This is why I hate coming here.
CP: Right. Because the lack of a simple phone call on your part somehow translates into bad service on my part. Sometimes you win #PharmacyRoulette and sometimes ...

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pleasure Doing Business With You

So many questions ...
1. Do I please her when she is ready, when I am ready, or when the prescription is ready?
2. Is she expecting to be pleased? Or is this going to come as quite the shock to her?
3. Can I send her away explaining "we do not have this item in stock" so another pharmacy may please her?
4. Can I ask her to call the 1-800 "customer pleasure", I mean "customer service" number beforehand? Y'know, just in case ...
5. Will she be happy with our usual (wait) time of 15-20 minutes?
6. What happens if she doesn't arrive for this until 8:55pm and we close in 5 minutes? Do I make her come again?
7. I see 2 refills on the prescription. Do I have to please her with each refill? What do I do in the case of a "refill too soon"? (Will she not be pleased?)
8. How (quickly and often) do we get more refills?
69. Does the inhaler come into play?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ask, And Ye Shall Receive ...

... exactly what you requested.
It's like the story of the djinn being really literal when granting wishes.
 -Wisher: I wish to be rich.
 -Djinn: Done. Your name is now "Rich".

CP: How may I help you today?
Sweet Little Old Woman: I need my sugar pills refilled.
CP: Which ones?
SLOW: My sugar pills.
CP: Thanks for the clarification. I'll be right back with them. Wait here.
<walks over to OTC shelf>
SLOW: What's this?
CP: Your sugar pills. Good Day!

SLOW: Well can you give me my husband's medication?
CP: I can give it a go. What's he need?
SLOW: His high blood pressure medication.
CP: Does he have a prescription for it?
SLOW: <bewildered look on face> He needs a prescription for it?
CP: Yes. All blood pressure medications require a prescription.
SLOW: Our last pharmacy did not.
CP: Perhaps you should call him to verify what he needs.
SLOW: <steps back from counter, makes call, back and forth yelling ensues, storms to shelf then turns her ire on me> You're an idiot!
CP: Thanks.
SLOW: <brandishing a box of Coricidin HBP like an argument-winning hand grenade> It's right here on your shelf. You don't need a prescription for it.
CP: Well it's an OTC cold product so there's that. It says "HBP" so gullible people will purchase a worthless product simply by following a marketing gimmick. It keeps you from asking a pharmacist any questions. But I'd guess discussions with you are a rather one-way highway.
SLOW: But it says High Blood Pressure right here!
CP: Right. Not to treat HBP, but to treat sinus symptoms without raising your HBP.
SLOW: It's for his HBP. It says so right here!
CP: Okay. Good luck with that. Want me to ring that out with your sugar pills?

I sometimes wish to go back to school and major in Sociology. I wouldn't even need to do field research. My pharmacy experiences would suffice as a study in human behaviour.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Your Refill Has Expired

... It's passed on. It has ceased to be. It is no more. It is bereft of life.

Death Of Prescriptions: I would like to have my prescription refilled. 
CP: Certainly. What is the number? 
DOP: 666
CP: Prophetic. Unfortunately, it appears there are no refills. 
DOP: But it says I have 6 more on the bottle. 
CP: Allow me to search further ... ah. Here it is. This prescription was written last year on 5/1/16. Since prescriptions are only valid for 1 year from the date they were written, this expired on 4/30/17. 
DOP: But it says I have 6 refills on the bottle. 
CP: Keep reading. 
DOP: ... until 4/30/17. What does that mean? I need this. 
CP: Do you have your wallet handy? 
DOP: Of course. 
CP: Do me a favour. Grab your driver's licence. 
DOP: Ok. I fail to see what this has to do with my prescription. 
CP: Somewhere on there is an expiration date. Have you found it? 
DOP: Yes. It expires on my birthday in 2018. 
CP: Good. Now imagine that your prescription is your licence, or vice versa. In 2019, your licence will still look the same. Your picture doesn't just disappear on the expiration date, thereby rendering it invalid. In much the same way, refills don't just vanish from your bottle once the expiration date passes. You may need to drive, but you still must visit the BMV every 4 years for a renewal. For prescriptions you must visit or, at least in some way, contact your prescribers to let them know you are still alive and requiring medication. 
DOP: But ...
CP: Let your licence lapse. Get pulled over. Argue with the officer that nothing has changed, your weight, height, address, picture, etc and see how quickly she lets you go. I'd be willing to bet she'd apologise for inconveniencing you. 
DOP: You're ...
CP: ... an ass. I know. Get over it. Here's one more for you. Take all of your bottles and "will" them to your children and phuture grandchildren or put them in a time capsule to be opened after your untimely demise. Even though the bottles will still indicate a number of refills on the bottle, they will not be valid. Unfortunately, we do not possess the magic required to remove words from bottles once they have left our possession. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Tempus Fugit

Even though Standard Time has existed since the mid- to late-1800's, some people still insist on ignoring its practicality. Railroads were the largest proponents, and first adopters, of the Standard time system. It made sense from a traveling perspective. Apparently people continue to use their own local "sun time" to make trips to the pharmacy.

Oxford Dictionary's Definitions (and the ones upon which most people agree.)

Morning: "The period of time between midnight and noon, especially sunrise to noon."
Afternoon: "The time from noon or lunchtime to evening."
Evening: "The period of time at the end of the day, usually from about 6pm to bedtime."
Night: The period from sunset to sunrise in each 24 hours."

Surely Understanding Nothing: I am calling in my refill.
CP: Jolly good. We serve to live.
SUN: I will pick it up later today.
CP: Lovely. Do you know an approximate time so I may prioritise it accordingly?
SUN: I will be in tonight.
CP: Thank you. As it is currently 2:13pm, we shall expect your arrival after 4pm.
SUN: What? No! I was thinking around 3:00pm.
CP: That's less than an hour from now. In no part of the world is 3pm considered "evening". I should have told you after 6pm as that is more in line with the true definition (see above).
SUN: Well I'll be there at 3pm.
CP: Next time, just tell me 3pm.

As a result of this conversation, we have instituted a policy in my pharmacy where all wait times are confirmed twice. First, we will ask if the patient is using EST, CST, MST, PST, ACST, (du) HAST, ORAT, or GMT. Then we must verify that a 20-minute wait in Standard Time is not expected to be ready next Friday, or in 7 minutes.
Maybe we should do the whole "synching of our timepieces" before patients leave the counter or we hang up with them.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It's Not Me, It's You

Early candidate for Quote of the Week:

This One's Outta Line: "Why didn't you call me to tell me you were putting it back?"

CP: How may I help you today?
TOOL: I'm here to pick up my prescription.
CP: I see. I see. What's the name?
CP: Got it. Giant TOOL. Now I know why I remember that name. We returned this to stock yesterday.
TOOL: What? Why? I need it right now!
CP: Of course you do. It's a bedtime medication and it's 10am and I know you don't work nights but allow me to research this.
TOOL: I need it right now! This is ridiculous.
CP: You took the words right out of my mouth.
TOOL: "Why didn't you call me to tell me you were putting it back?!"
CP: <pregnant pause with a slight inclination of the head and a sinister smirk> Hmm. You're phunny. We don't call patients to tell them we are putting medications back.
TOOL: Why the hell not?!
CP: Because we call patients to remind them to pick up their prescriptions. Somehow you must have missed the 7 voicemails, 6 texts, 4 letters, 2 emails, and the Stripper Gram we sent to the house over the last 13 days.
TOOL: No one ever called me.
CP: <Having already prepared for this, spins computer around> It shows right here that an actual human being answered the call and took our message on 3 of the occasions we rang your dwelling. Oh, and someone signed for the Stripper Gram so you'd better check out what TOOL Jr. has to say about it.
TOOL: How long now?
CP: Probably 3 to 7 minutes.
TOOL: I'll be back tonight.
CP: I thought you desperately needed this now.