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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dealer On The Streets. . .

CP: <hangs up phone> Hmmm.
ME: That sound signals intrigue.
MICE ELF: What got the hamster wheel spinning in that noggin of yours, CP?
CP: Another abusive phone call from a patient asking when her medication was due for a refill.
ME: How is this one different?
CP: It got me thinking about the hard working drug dealers.
MICE ELF: Oooh. I hear Dopeman already.
"It was once said by a man who couldn't quit.
Dopeman please can I get another hit?"
CP: Exactly what I was thinking. I wonder if street dealers face similar situations as their legal counterparts? Did you ever wonder if they have to put up with the same abuse we do?
ME: Um. Yeah. We sorta share a brain here.
MICE ELF: Like, does El Dopeman turn on his phone first thing in morning and find dozens of messages and people blowing it up for their supply?
CP: Is there a line on his corner before he even gets there?
ME: Can you just picture him denying refills as too soon?
ED: "Oooh, I'm sorry but I just sold you a 3-days supply yesterday. You're going to have to wait."
Client Of El Dopeman: "When can you fill it?"
ED: "Two days at the earliest. And don't be in line before I get here."
COED: It'll be ready then?
ED: Yes.
COED: I'm going to another dealer. This is ridiculous.
ED: Okay, but he's going to check the Street Users Guide to Abuse Reporting (SUGAR) and won't fill it either.
COED: "Hey man, gimme a hit."
ED: I cannot do that. If you OD, I lose my income. No paying clients = no money for me. I've learned that dead clients don't pay.

CP: Yes, and then she'll be back in line the next day, hoping there's a floater dealer she can cajole into an early refill.
MICE ELF: "She's called the Strawberry and everybody know, Strawberry! Strawberry! is the neighbourhood hoe."
ME: Well this sure took a turn. You had all these thoughts simply in the act of hanging up the phone?
CP: My brain works in mysterious ways. Six straight days of phone calls, with multiple calls a day from the same patients at a few of my stores planted the seed for this thought.
ME: The above conversation would be phun to overhear. Maybe we should combine phorces?
MICE ELF: Our state's PMP with the SUGAR report? Sales tactics? Best practices?
CP: Sounds legit. I see Uber-Tech telling me there's a call on hold from El Dopeman and he wants to know if one of his clients is double dipping and coming to the pharmacy.
ME: Nah. They're probably like doctors; don't review the database then blame the pharmacist for the patient taking too much.
ME: They probably get treated better than we do.
MICE ELF: Although they sometimes go toe-to-toe in the middle of a sale.
CP: What the hell have you been listening to lately? And aside from their chances of being shot being slightly greater than ours, I wonder if their arguments over price include GoodRx.
ME: Well my phone says that the Dopeman on the next corner is charging less per gram/ounce than you are. Will you match the price?
CP: Yeah. I bet he's questioning his lifestyle choices every day and wishing he went to pharmacy school like we did.
ME, MICE ELF, and I <pass out laughing>

Friday, June 12, 2020

One Is The Loneliest Number

CP: What do you think is a skill lacking among people today?
MICE ELF: Listening.
ME: Critical thinking.
CP: Good answers.
ME: Pourquoi?
CP: I have oft repeated that people do not hear what we say, either from an attention standpoint or one of expectancy; they hear what they expected.
MICE ELF: Say what?
ME: Cute. I assume you have a real world tale to exemplify this?
CP: Indeed I do.

<last week>
UT: Welcome to Arby's. May I help you?
Patient In Car Keeping Engine Running: I am picking up for my wife.
UT: Name?
PICKER: Upper.
UT: Okay. I see that we have exactly one Rx ready for her.
PICKER: Ok. And how many does she have today?
UT: Well, it rhymes with none. . .

ME: That's good.
CP: There's also this one:

CP: Thank you calling Phineas and Pherb Pharmacy. This is CP, Pharmacist. How may I help you?
Every Nurse Using Fones: Is this the pharmacist?
CP: Maybe.
ENUF: May I speask to the pharmacist?
CP: You already had the pleasure, but you wanted it. Please try again. <click>

MICE ELF: That's why I sometimes like to answer the phone in odd voices or with strange, unexpected names.
CP: Because people don't hear the first thing you say; or in UT's case, ANYthing she said?
MICE ELF: Exactly. They've pre-programmed themselves. If events don't match their planned routines and preconceptions, they are lost.
CP: Like new pharmacy graduates who seemingly have been taught WHAT to think instead of HOW.
MICE ELF: Do not get ME started on this again.
ME: What? I wasn't listening.
CP: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Why Are We Having This Conversation?

ME: Did you ever wonder, with some of the conversations we've had, if our presence was actually necessary?
MICE ELF: Like the people you pass on the streets talking to themselves?
ME: Similarly. I feel as if those conversations don't need verbal combatants any more than some of the conversations at work.
MICE ELF: CP, tell ME about last week's quick discussion.
CP: It was an overcast day, the smell of fresh rain on the draft through the drive-thru drawer that never closes. I was rather amusing MICE ELF with a story about how the people who need to be on automatic refills are the ones who rail most against it.
MICE ELF: Like the people most in need of . . .
ME: Stop it. Stop it now!
CP: Continuing. . . I rang a guy whose medication was out of stock. It should have been a simple call but, as these things do, it took an unnecessary pivot.

CP: Good day, kind sir.
I Doubt It Old-Timer: Is it?
CP: It is indeed. I get to call people and deliver bad news so what could be better than that?!
IDIOT: Why do you people keep calling me?
CP: Well, had you answered with a more kindly greeting, I would have explained the reason for my call.
IDIOT: Well, get on with it.
CP: The prescription we were trying to fill for you today is out of stock. It is a special order item and we need to request it phor tomorrow.
IDIOT: That's fine. I don't want it anyway.
CP: Ok.
IDIOT: How much is it?
CP: Pardon?
IDIOT: How. Much. Is. It?
CP: I don't know. I thought you didn't want it.
IDIOT: But I need it.
CP: You said you didn't want it.
IDIOT: I need it.
CP: Ok. Then the price is zero.
IDIOT: How can it be zero?
CP: Since I have nothing to give you, I will gladly charge you nothing for nothing.
IDIOT: This is why I'm switching pharmacies.
CP: No you're not. You switched here from somewhere else and now we're stuck with you. This is why you're supposed to be on the courtesy fill program that you keep complaining about every month and yelling that "I can call in my own damn medications". If you were on the program, we could have possibly received a bottle in the last 3 months. We would have had time to find it at another store; or transfer it. Instead, here we are.
IDIOT: I don't want it.
CP: Well good. Lucky for you, we don't have it.
IDIOT: <click>

MICE ELF: So. . . did he need it?
CP: <shrugs> All I heard in my head throughout that was "I don't want it, I just need it. . .
ME: . . . to breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
MICE ELF: There has to be something deeper there.
CP: Elbow deep. . .
ME: Stop it.
CP: There's something kinda sad about the way that things have come to be.

Monday, June 8, 2020

New Game - Round II

CP: I decided to turn my favourite post series, If The Real World Worked The Way Pharmacy Does, into a game called How To Play Patient In The Real World.
CPP: Each round of the game will present a challenge originated by a patient's actions/interactions within our pharmacy.

CP: Today's round will be Supply Issues. Take it away, CPP!
CPP: <Overly nasal, enthusiastic announcer voice> Welcome back for another round of How To Play Patient In The Real World!
CP: <more nauseatingly enthusiastic> It's good to be back to the game that teaches regular pharmacy people how to behave in the real world. Give us a phresh reminder of the rules, CPP!
CPP: We take normal patient interactions. . .
CP: Normal by the patients' standards. . .
CPP: Indeed they are because we would never dream of acting this way in public, let alone the professional realm of the pharmacy.
CP: Right you are, Ken. Yet here they are, acting like a conspiracy of lemurs frolicking under the canopy drunk on fermented fruits.
CPP: Today's round, supply issues, puts us in the middle of that fight; lack of enough product to supply them asses.
CP: That's "THE Masses", not "them asses".
CPP: Is it though?
CP: Good point! As we see everyday, backorders are a part of life in the pharmacy, becoming more and more prevalent thanks to more and more recalls.
CPP: And just how do people take this news?
CP: As if we are personally responsible for this inconvenience. They yell and scream and cry and threaten us with bodily harm or, worse yet, the dreaded call to corporate!
CPP and CP : <gasp in horror and clutch each other>
CPP: And this is the basis for today's round. What is our exercise today, CP?
CP: Today we are going to any store that sells products.
CPP: Intriguing.
CP: Search for any bare spot on a shelf and ask an employee if they have more in the back. When they respond in the negative, crank up the volume and gesticulations. Yell that they have to find this particular product at another store, another chain, another state, but that you are more important than anyone else in the history of time and you'll be damned if they are going to treat you like a lower class citizen, depriving you of your Orange and Blue Oral B toothbrush with soft bristles!
CPP: Accept no substitutions. No compromises!
CP: No retreat, no surrender!
CPP: Ask why they are out of flour, or sanitizer wipes, or sugar, or strawberries.
CP: Well it is peak strawberry season.
CPP: No excuses! Their store exists to serve you! Other people also eat strawberries? Not my problem. That's on the poor soul unfortunate enough to be faced with your righteous indignation right now.
CP: You alone are deserving of this product, whatever it may be. Is there a nationwide shortage?
CPP: <ahem> see March/April 2020.
CP: That is entirely the store's fault! Do not let them off the hook because a pandemic caused a shortage. Or that multiple manufacturers were found to have levels of NDMA in the metformin.
CPP: Pish. How do we score points in this round, CP?
CP: Points are awarded based on how many store personnel are brought in to explain to you that backorders are out of their control and how many products you can find with empty holes on the shelves.
CPP: Bonus points awarded if you can find the same products at multiple stores and receive the same results.
CP: Remember, the store that sells the product is also in control of manufacturing and distribution of said product. That's just solid pharmacy patient logic right there.
CPP: At least that's how our patients treat the pharmacy staff so it must be true.
CP: Hence, the name of the game: How To Play Patient In The Real World.
CPP: Because if they act like that here, we all must all be allowed to act like that elsewhere.
CP: Them Asses.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Hold Me Closer, Doctor Lancer

<overheard in background>
UT: CP is on the phone with another doctor so it will be a minute.
CP: <whispers> What's up?
UT: Angry doctor on hold phor you.
CP: My favorite kind.

<waits a minute after finishing previous call to collect self>

CP: Thank you for holding. This is CP, Pill Pauper to the Stars. How may I help you?
Doctor Is the Cranky Kind: Can I call in a prescription?
CP: You can try. Since we've only just met, I cannot phully answer that question.
DICK: <gives name in a mumbly manner>
CP: Could you spell that for me, please?
DICK: <hurriedly spells, lacking enunciation>
CP: Can you take me off speakerphone, please?
DICK: Sorry. I was on hold for like 15 minutes.
CP: Wow. Well you're not now. If you think that's bad, you should try calling doctors' offices. Now there's a wait time!
DICK: <harrumphs, and makes mocking laughter noise>
CP: My tech warned you I was on the phone with another doctor. It's the great thing about pharmacists as professionals. We get to answer our own calls and speak directly to the people who ask for us, unlike, say, doctors who are allowed to delegate the phoning in ability to others. Anyway, now that you complained about the wait and received a, some would say, unwarranted yet totally justified clapback after your peevish retort when I picked up the phone, how may I help you?
DICK: <spits rx out a la Eminem in Rap God>
CP: Sweet. Since this rx must be critically important that you personally took the time to call me and patiently waited on hold just for the privilege of speaking with The Pill Pauper, I am going to verify the accuracy of your speed read.
DICK: <scoffs>
CP: And lo it was sayeth by the menu of the phone: "if a doctor thou doth be, presseth the number 3, no more, no less. And by the pressing of the 3, thou shalt be taken unto the mail of the voices where thine message shall be left for the pharmacist to retrieveth at their leisure."
DICK: <click>

UT: Where was that doctor located?
CP: New York.
UT: That explains a lot. She definitely was not used to the CP approach to prescriber attitude.
CP: She's well-versed now.

Friday, June 5, 2020

I Gave You All The Information

ME: With what are you going to regale us today?
CP: A story about patients not using the information provided to infer or deduce an answer to the question they are about to ask.
MYSELF: I sometimes wonder if people script the questions ahead of time and will ask them regardless of our answer.
ME: The bench is yours, CP.

<fade in to a pharmacy near you>
CP: Welcome to CP's Phortress of Philtres. How may I help you?
Barbie Asking Anyway: I am picking up my prescription today.
CP: Just one?
BAA: Just one.
CP: Okay. Good. It appears I have one, and only one prescription here for you.
BAA: Okay. Which one do you have?
CP: I have your Valtrex. And only your Valtrex.
BAA: Do you have my Ritalin filled?
CP: Sorry?
BAA: Do you have my Ritalin filled?
CP: Did I say I had two prescriptions?
BAA: No.
CP: Did you acknowledge the existence of only one filled prescription for you?
BAA: Yes.
CP: And did you also verify it was for Valtrex?
BAA: Yes.
CP: I have to ask. What would lead you to believe that, after confirming all of the above, you have a SECOND prescription ready for pickup and that it would be Ritalin?
BAA: <shrugs> So is it here?
CP: You make my ass twitch.

ME: What you're saying is there is a woman out there who has mouth herp and can't remember she has it?
MYSELF: Yes. She's an absent-minded herpelinguist.
CP: When I say there is one, There can be only one!
ME: Thank you, McLeod.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

New Game

CP: I decided to turn my favourite post series, If The Real World Worked The Way Pharmacy Does, into a game called How To Play Patient In The Real World.
CPP: Each round of the game will present a challenge originated by a patient's actions/interactions within our pharmacy.

CP: Today's round will be pricing.
CPP: <enthusiastic announcer voice> We had a patient come through the drive thru last week. It began as a normal transaction until we told her the price.
CP: <more saccharin enthusiastic announcer voice> What happened next, CPP?
CPP: Well I'll tell you CP. She looked at the bag in the window, pointed at it, and yelled "WHY?! Why so much?".
CP: <nauseatingly overjoyed> Why indeed! Let's show these contestants how the game will be played.
CPP: Right on!
CP: Your job will be to roam the hallowed halls of any retail business.
CPP: Any business?
CP: ANY business will do.
CPP: What do I do while roaming these aisles, CP?
CP: As you roam, find an employee. Any employee will do for this but if you can also find one locked in a specialised cage (pharmer, baker, butcher, food sample lady) bonus points will be awarded.
CPP: Everyone loves bonus points.
CP: Approach them with either a product in hand, or randomly point to a product on the shelf and ask "WHY? Why so much?".
CPP: Can I try this at my local restaurant as well?
CP: You certainly can.
CPP: Simply point to an item on the menu and shout "WHY?! WHY SO MUCH?!"
CP: The louder and shriller the better. Decorum be damned!
CPP: Keep in mind here, the goal is not to question the price for your understanding.
CP: No. The goal of this game is to catch the employee off guard. They don't know why decorative votive candles are priced at $13.00 for 30; or that a Dyson hairdryer is $399.99.
CPP: And they don't know why mashed potatoes are a $12.00 a la carte fee when you can buy a 5 lb bag for $5.00. Just as we don't know why their insurance is charging them the amount on the label.
CP: We want to understand our patients. Going out into the Real World and acting like they do will allow us to connect with them and shop in their shoes.
CPP: So head to the stores and get shopping.
CP: We want to hear your best "WHY? Why sooooo muuuuuuuuuch!?" stories.
CPP: Points awarded for the best responses.
CP: Join us next week when our next round will be supply issues.
CPP: Stay tuned and play patient!