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Tuesday, October 31, 2023


CPP: I see here in your bio that you like asking and answering rhetorical questions. 
CP: I do. It's unexpected. 
CPP: What other ways do you like to buck normalcy?
CP: Asking people to explain answers they supply that are quite unexpected. 
CPP: You are a fan of the comic, and the term itself, non sequitur. 
CP: Indeed. You are familiar with the Geico Airport commercial? 
CPP: Of course; the one where the traveler replies "you too" to the TSA agent wishing him a good trip. 
CP: That's the one. Have you ever stopped and asked a patient, or anyone, for that matter, why they said what they just said? 
CPP: Questioning the origin of their non sequitur to determine if they didn't understand what you were saying; to determine if they had their response prepared and, no matter what you said, they were going to reply the same; or if they really didn't understand the assignment and were looking for a way to safely exit the uncomfortable conversation? 
CP: Right. Like this example:

CP: Welcome to the Machine. What did you dream. This is CP's Playhouse. How may I help you?
Do I Look Dumb Or What: I need a refill on my medication. 
CP: You have no refills left. I sent a request to your office and I would suggest you call them as well. Maybe if we both attack them, they'll get back to us sooner. 
DILDOW: I've been coming here for years. 

<Option #1 - We reply with equally useless knowledge>

CP: Oh wow. I've WORKED here for years 
CP: Oh wow! I once scored 4 touchdowns in one game for Polk High. 
CP: Oh wow! Giraffes and Humans each have 7 vertebrae. 

<Option #2 - We ask the relevance of their reply>

CP: Oh really? Wow. And what does your loyalty to our business have to do with your lack of refills? Are you implying "I've never had this problem before" or something else sinister towards me? 
PT: But. . . 
CP: Or are you letting me know that you know that I know you should know by now, due to your years of loyal servitude, that you should know better that you have to call Dr. Zoffis yourself for your refills? 
DILDOW: But. . . 
CP: Seriously. What possessed you to reply with "I've been coming here for years"? That doesn't follow the conversation. Appropriate replies wold have included:
"Oh. Ok. I shall ring my provider forthwith."
"Oh. Fiddlesticks. What are my options so I do not go without?"
"My bad." 

CPP: Sometimes that's a fun rabbit hole to investigate. Often, it's short. 
CP: It's fun watching them struggle to comprehend what just happened. That's why I have so many fun facts on hand. They always get distracted by shiny new things. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

No One Believes Us Anymore

CP: You know what I miss? When people used to take our word for something. We were seen as the experts and our answers were The Final Word on everything pharmacy-related. Now it's just become another answer patients wish to argue with you. 
ME: If we tell you it's on backorder, it is. We aren't artificially presenting a mass market conspiracy. 
MICE ELF: Now people like to argue. "Well I'll just get it where my girlfriend fills hers; she never has an issue getting stuff."
ME: Right. Somehow we are the only ones experiencing a shortage. Maybe she got lucky each time previously, but today? Today it's on backorder. Why does this have to be an argument?
CP: Or this one: You gave me expired Paxlovid. 
ME: OMG! I hate this so much. 
MICE ELF: Never mind trying to explain about concurrent trials or the company being forced to put A date of expiration on the box. 
ME: They don't want to hear it and don't care. 
CP: I was handed a box, explained the "outdated" medication and how the FDA had extended the date, so far at least, to the end of 2023. She still insisted I give her another box with a better date. 

Tries Wasting All Time: This is expired. 
CP: It is not. 
TWAT: It is. 
CP: I assure you it is not. The FDA extended it through 2023. 
TWAT: Well I want a new box that says that. 
CP: Well I don't have one. They all have the same date from the last order I received. It's not Harry Potter where I can change the newspaper headline when something changes; much like I can't change the number of refills on your bottles in your house. 
TWAT: Well that's not good enough. 
CP: Hand it to me, I'll wave my hand over it and hand it back. Satisfactory?
TWAT: No. What should I do?
CP: You got two choices of what you can do: one, take the medication to treat the covid you apparently tested positive for, yet stand here spitting venom at me at my counter without a mask or, and I like this one better, you can find a DeLorean and go back in time to 9 months ago and and get covid then and I will STILL hand you the same box but it will be in date. Your choice. 
TWAT: <harrumphs> 

ME: Yeah that was pretty surreal. I pine for the days when we were the most trusted profession. 
MICE ELF: Everyone wants to question and argue about every answer, no matter how trivial. 
CP: I used to say "just because you don't like the answer doesn't mean it's a wrong answer". I still say it, but I used to too. 
ME: Yeah. Everything is an argument or a battle. Just say "oh, ok" and move on. If you have a follow up question, ask it. 
MICE ELF: Like "where can I get it" or "do you have an ETA" or something better than blaming me for your suffering. 
CP: Hell, people will complain about this post (TL:DR, or "paxlovid is a waste anyway" or whatever. Just enjoy the ride). 


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

If The Real World (And People Behaved) Like Pharmacy

ME: Hey, CP. What's your annoying-behaviour-of-the-human-population-of-the-day for today?
CP: Randomly shouting, or even speaking at normal volume which is somehow worse, the product(s) you are seeking at a retail establishment. Or even for people for that matter. 
MICE ELF: Yeah. How many times are you standing behind the bench and you overhear someone in a rather forgettable conversation questioning where something is, only to find out they are directing it at you without warning. 
CP: Right? I can't see you from here. If you're on your phone or speaking with your friend next to you, you have to get my attention if you are expecting me to respond directly to you. Especially when you don't change cadence or tone or volume; it sounds like a natural part of your conversation. 
ME: It often sounds rhetorical sometimes. You didn't direct your question to me, so don't expect an answer. 
CP: You know the ones who are worse?
MICE ELF: Worse than those?
ME: Who is worse than the people who think we are always paying attention to them?
CP: The people who enter a store and proceed to shout random products into the atmosphere. 
ME: Like when we are typing or otherwise doing downward facing dog at our counter and you hear "DEPENDS!?" and you're not sure if it's a question "where are the Depends?, a proclamation "Look! Depends!!" or a noncommittal response to "are you busy tonight? it depends.". 
CP: Or they shout for anything with the same ambiguous interrobang inflection - Bathroom?! Halls?! Condoms?! 
ME: Why do they shout? And they don't even break stride as they're gliding past your counter. 
CP: I think I'm going to walk in to stores from now on and just start shouting everything I'm looking for too; I'll be at Lowe's with like a brand-specific Tourette's: "Nails?! Tools?! Machines?! Chains?!" 
ME: I mean the least they could do is make eye contact with a few seconds. 
CP: Pervert. 
MICE ELF: Or get within 11 feet of the counter before drawing the attention of the entire building to them and their needs. 
CP: Remember: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." All animals are important, but some are more important than others" right now. . . 


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

A Little Knowledge Is A Bad Thing

CP: I posit that a little knowledge is a bad thing. 
ME: I support this. 
MICE ELF: I think you mean "too little knowledge". 
CP: No. Simply "a little". It's the start of something. The problem is, people may discover this little bit of knowledge but not possess the ability to interpret it or use it as intended; mayhap it takes on sinister or nefarious connotations in their possession. 
ME: Agreed. If they remained blissfully ignorant, they would be less likely to cause harm to themselves or others. 
MICE ELF: What you're saying is these people tend to wave their limited, out-of-context knowledge like a sword simply cutting into things without any appreciation for the damage it can cause. 
ME: They don't understand the power that comes with this responsibility. 
MICE ELF: Why do you pester us with these mind exercises, CP?
CP: Package Inserts. 
ME: And the medication pamphlets we have to distribute with every prescription. 
MICE ELF: I wasn't a fan of those from the beginning. I understand the requirement, but I, MICE ELF, am not a fan. 
CP: Nor am I. Our biggest fears have become reality. 

CP: Thank you phor calling CP's Chancroids and Pustules, how may I help you?
Getting Independent Research Lady: I'm so glad it's you. The cardiologist wanted to start my husband on a new medication and it's expensive. I wanted to research it first and I don't want him to take it. I was online last night for hours. 
CP: If you know everything, why are you calling me?
G-IRL: To tell you we aren't going to fill it and you can put it back or whatever. 
CP: Ok. Did Dr. Zoffis explain why your husband should be on the medication? 
G-IRL: Yes. But we don't want the side effects. It causes UTIs and low blood sugar and sinus problems. He doesn't need any more problems than he already has. Why didn't Dr. Zoffis tell him this? Why did he give him this if causes all of these side effects?
CP: It doesn't "cause these side effects" in everyone. You omitted a couple of key words in your studies; it "may cause" or it "can cause". Nowhere does it say "everyone's gonna get this!". The most common side effects for this medication occurred in 0.1% to 2.8% of the people taking it. While 34.2% of those studied experienced side effects, similar to placebo, the highest reported number of any specific adverse event was single digits. 
G-IRL: But I read them and it says he will get these. 
CP: Is he also going to get vaginal discharge and neutropenia? Or just the ones you hand picked for him? 
G-IRL: Well he hates diarrhea and has had UTIs before so those would be bad. 
CP: Ok. Just so everyone is clear - Dr. Zoffis recommended a new medication to help your husband and, despite my attempts to support this decision and to allay your concerns, you are going to ignore our advice, the advice of two healthcare experts, and use your own research to make healthcare decisions. Do I have it right?
G-IRL: Yes.
CP: GIRL, bye. 

MICE ELF: You're right. A little knowledge is a bad thing. 
ME: In the wrong hands. More often, it's a dangerous thing. You can give a person an education but you can't make them use it. 
CP: Well, at least not all of it. They play "Pick and Choose". 

Monday, October 2, 2023

CP And Me And Mice Elf

ME: Why do you use both of us for your conversations?
CP: Because people prefer a dialogue as opposed to a diatribe. 
MICE ELF: Then what are we discussing today? 
CP: Pharmacy protests/walkouts. 
ME: Why do you need us? 
CP: To help be a sounding board and make our points. 
MICE ELF: And those would be?
CP: The surprising argument people have against walking out is "I care about my patients". 
ME: Oooh. That seems a little out of touch. 
MICE ELF: And selfish. 
CP: I would be willing to say that most pharmacists, when polled, would say they care about their patients. 
MICE ELF: Well, except for that one conversation you had last week. 
ME: Another story for another day. Continue. 
CP: We all care about our patients. You are concerned about not being open for one day and how disruptive that will be and that it will, sadly, put you behind a day <sniffs> 
ME: I sense no sympathy for these people. 
CP: Correct. The rest of us are concerned about every patient we will see in the future. These pharmacists are concerned about the short-term whereas we are looking long-term. If we bite the bullet and close a day here or a day there and effect change, then all our future days will hopefully be easier, better staffed, and less chaotic. That's the goal: better working conditions for everyone, even you short-term, it-doesn't-affect-me-why-do-I-care pharmacy peeps. 
MICE ELF: I sense you are seeing pushback from colleagues. 
CP: I'm not sure if they are out of touch with the practice of pharmacy, retail in general, have great stores that are never behind, or only got into the profession for the money, not the true, altruistic reason people join the ranks of healthcare workers. I'm concerned when people are more worried about "their patients" than their working conditions. We have seen a steady decline for decades now and we always wondered where the bottom of the slide would land us. Just when we thought we found it, the corporations handed us a spoon and said "keep digging". 
ME: To those pharmacists concerned about their patients: You'll still be open tomorrow. There will still be work to do. Surely you can suck up the extra volume at your store to help those who are trying to help you. If you really, truly cared about your patients, you'd want to fight so you don't have to risk their lives to protect your livelihood. 
CP: Too many people have left the profession under these worsening conditions. And while for new pharmacists this is the only working environment they have known, the rest of us should know better. 
MICE ELF: Oh, and let's not forget: THERE. IS. NO. PHARMACIST. SHORTAGE!
ME: Right. Only a growing group of dissatisfied professionals who are tired of being thrown to the wolves and getting yelled at for 12 hours a day with no help and the Fear Of Making Deadly Mistakes. 
CP: Exactly. If there were a shortage, any one of us could walk out, for good, tomorrow, and get that shiny new job wherever we pleased. Not so easy to do. I get it. We all also fear for our jobs, our livelihoods. But what good is it if we burn out and kill ourselves in the process? Or, worse yet, someone else? Stop being the people who claim to care more about our profession than those who are actually doing something to help you. Be a bandwagon fan, but don't claim to not support us; don't claim you care more about your patients than we do. You know nothing, Jon Snow, and I'm ashamed you're my colleague. 
ME: On the plus side, most of these handfuls of people have been taken to task over their holier-than-thou attitudes, but a rising tide lifts all boats; they will benefit regardless and take our gains willingly. 
MICE ELF: And ask for seconds. 
CP: As long as we remain a fractured profession, corporate wins. As long as we remain splintered amongst ourselves, they win. 
ME: Be helpful. Be supportive. Be positive. 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

No One Cares

CP: Why do people feel the need to announce everything?
CPP: Like when they join or leave a social media group?
CP: I think that's where the habit started. "This group is no longer about kittens; I saw pictures of full-grown cats. <sniffs> I 'm out."
CPP: Right? Who cares? No one. It's not an airport; you don't have to announce departures or arrivals. 
CP: "Thanks for letting me in the group". All you did was click a link that said "join group". It's not a secret society; we have no secret knocks. 
CPP: Why is this relevant today?
CP: The people who feel the need to tell us anything not germane to our interaction. 
CPP: Par exemple?
CP: "I could have gotten this cheaper at (names competitor)." Okay, cool. Sweet. Good to know. If I have to buy this same item, I'll be sure to go there MICE ELF. 
MICE ELF: But I don't use that.
CP: <shhh> Seriously, though? Why do I care? I don't. You are here. You are paying me my listed price. If it really mattered to you, why are you here and not there? Hmm?
CPP: I'm going to try that at the gas station. I'll walk in to pay and tell the clerk that gas is cheaper down the street. "I could've gone there where it's $0.03 cheaper." 
CP: To which I'd reply, "yet here you stand, in front of me, at my establishment, waiting in line to pay for gas when you had the power to go there yourself". 
CPP: I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to take her money, while making snide offhanded comments about how he sucks. 
CP: Notting Hill, The Retirement Years. 
CPP: Right? Yet everyone does it. 
CP: GoodRx has really factored into that. Maybe you could have paid that there. Maybe not. I've seen different prices on the same prescriptions on subsequent days at the same pharmacies. 
CPP: And never mind the front end merchandise. 
CP: I'm going to try that at my local grocer. Y'know I could've bought these for less across the street. 
CPP: <scans> uh-huh <scans> that's nice <scans> 
CP: No one cares. Go there then. If I need it, I will pay for it. If comparison shopping is my goal, and I know the prices elsewhere, then I will go there. Or I won't. 
CPP: Maybe they're expecting us to say "ooh, how much? I'll match it for you"? 
CP: It's the sense of validation. Make sure you know my feelings. I don't care about yours, but I', a real person and my feelings matter. Somebody see me. <sniff>
CPP: <applauds> Nice. The sarcasm dripping off this is on point. 
CP: Not too cynical? 
CPP: Never. 
CP: And that's why people come here; the level of service and trust and commitment we provide to our patients. 
CPP: It's obviously not the prices. 
CP and CPP: <guffaw heartily>