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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tamiflu Ho!

These past few days have been a wee bit crazy with this whole swine flu. I can't check the news without being bombarded by 7 out of 10 stories about the flu, most with the same information as the article before it, with one extra bit of info. They've identified patient zero, the first death in the U. S, a Mexican toddler occurred this morning etc...

All of this is happening in the South, and a little on the East coast, yet my pharmacy in the Midwest is ordering Tamiflu like gangbusters. I believe the closest case of this particular flu is a suspected case in Minnesota, so I think that ordering the maximum amounts from 3 different wholesalers is going a little overboard for us, but that's what we did yesterday. I'm sure Roche, the makers of Tamiflu, couldn't be happier.

I may end up eating my words later if this becomes a pandemic, but for now I think that my pharmacy is overreacting, and may end up watching the Tamiflu rot on the shelf, while it could be put to use somewhere. Like, oh, I don't know... Mexico?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm a Total Ladies Man

... or not.

I will be studied in later years. Kids in 9th grade health will read about my mistakes and think to themselves, "What a dumbass!"

We all know that when a girl asks a guy if she looks good the response from the guy needs to be an automatic "Yes." There can be no delay, unless the guy wants to argue for another 10 minutes about it. This respose, of course, is the amateur response. A better answer would be "Baby, I don't think I can take my eyes off you, you look so good" The guy has to be careful with this though, because if she takes you literally (which she undoubtfully will), he can't look back at the TV until she's not paying attention.

This is all obvious stuff here. Every guy knows this.

Apparently the women-folk have grown bored with our resounding yesses and predictable responses, and now they are asking us in much more sneaky and sly ways if we think the look good. I am now going to teach you how to get in the "friend zone," which we all know has no potential to progress any further than that. Beware, this could be painful to read.

I'm a very blunt person. If I see someone being a total hypocrite or lying out of their asshole, I'm going to call them on it. A lot of my sentences start with "You're so full of shit!" I don't think about feelings, I just tell the truth. I'm also extremely scientific and analytical, to put it in layman's terms, I'm a nerd. These qualities are even more prevalent when my defenses are down, such as when I'm drunk, or just waking up.

It happened to be on a Wednesday afternoon when I missed my opportunity. Wednesday afternoons are almost always dedicated to a nap. It is the only day I consistently do not have to work. A buzzing from my cell phone awakes me from my nap. Annoyed, I take a look at this message from my very single, very attractive, fairly new friend. Fairly new as in I met her about a month ago and had been flirting with her at my other job frequently.

"I run 5 miles every day."

Instead of saying something like "Wow, impressive," I, in my nap induced fog, reply:


"Well I run every day, but I want to look better in my bikini, so I'm trying to lose 5 pounds, but I haven't lost anything for a while. How can I do that?"

Many of you have predicted my mistake already. I didn't say "Seriously? You look great, you don't need to lose 5 pounds." I actually answered her damn question.

"Well you can start doing some weight training too, or you could run further, or just cut some calories every day."

Not surprisingly, I didn't get a response to that remark. An hour later I realized my mistake. She was fishing for compliments. She was testing the waters to see if I was in to her. What she got was a loud and clear "No," which couldn't be further from the truth. I texted her something along the lines of "I can't believe you want to lose 5 pounds," once I had my facepalm moment, but once again, no response.

We still talk, of course, but the relationship has already reached the "friend zone." I am now the guy she can ask for advice, not the one to give her compliments. Don't make the same mistake I did. Think about what her question is really asking, especially if you've got the luxury to do it over texts.

Did I mention that she had previously invited me to go swimming in her pool when it opened for the summer? Something tells me she's going to forget to mention it to me when that happens.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Step Away From The Counter

Ok, I really thought I'd write more about school when I started this blog, but it turns out that school doesn't piss me off as much as working in retail. Something tells me I'm getting into the wrong profession.

I knew it was going to be a bad day when "Steve" asked me to get as much stuff done before 4 o'clock because our cashier had an appointment. I asked him if he knew the majority of my work occurred after 4, considering that's when the order comes in and the mail-outs have to go out. Oh, not to mention all the other things we students have to do. He replied yes, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. Not a huge deal, a tech took care of the order, but this means I have a good 2 hours to deal with the customers. Yay.

Things were going along fine until Mr. Dad came in. His son was in the clinic getting his pinkie re-broken and set correctly. He usually went to a pharmacy downtown, but he needed his son's inhaler now, and couldn't leave the building. Ok, we'll call your pharmacy and get a copy for you. Not a problem.

Now Mrs. Mom comes in. Different family. She's here to pick up her daughter's birth control. I can't find it in the bins, so I check the computer. On my way to the computer she informs me that she called yesterday and that she talked to a lady and the lady said if there was a problem we would call her. I type in the daughter's name and see we had to fax on the prescription, and haven't heard back from the doctor. I tell her this, and she gets angry because we were supposed to call her if there was a problem. This is where Steve comes in. I'm already annoyed with this lady, so I let him handle it. He tells her he'll call the doctor, but she'll have to wait because he has to make a few phone calls for other patients. Instead of calling the doctor herself, she waits at my counter, and waits, and waits. She waits right next to the cash register, causing confusion among the customers who come in. They think I'm waiting on her. No matter how many times I tell her it'll take awhile, she still doesn't budge from the register. I have to lean around her to wave people up to my counter. I didn't know what to tell her to make her sit down without being a huge prick, so I ignored her.

Dad gets his copy, about 20 other patients get their medications, with Mrs. Mom standing there the whole time. Finally, Steve gets hold of the doctor. Turns out, the daughter needs to see the doc before she can get a refill, and Mrs. Mom knew that. She's been told this. She starts in on Steve, trying to get him to convince the doc to give her the prescription for at least another month. It takes 20 minutes for me to get home now is her best argument, because of construction. Never mind the 30 minutes she stood there waiting. Steve caves, the doctor caves. She gets her month. That's why Steve is That One Pharmacist. He's a nice guy, people get what they want when they talk to him. Some would call him a pushover. Mrs. Mom is still a bitch.

If this is what I'll have to deal with the rest of my life, just shoot me now. Where's the vodka?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Battle Within

I can hear it now, the lone macrophage, calling out as he releases chemokines into his surroundings.

"Captain! I think we've got something here!"

Captain macrophage responds, following the trail of the chemokines.

"My God, we're going to need backup," replies the Captain, as he looks in awe at the rapidly reproducing bacteria that has invaded his territory, the inner ear. "call in the neutrophils, and where are those dendritic cells? We're going to need help."

Meanwhile, the complement cascade has begun. Huge holes appear in the membranes of the bacteria, but the mass continues to grow, and grow, and grow. The neutrophils arrive, releasing granules everywhere, causing inflammation and killing off some of the bacteria, but it's not enough.

"Don't worry," call the dendritic cells, "we're loaded up with antigens and we're off to the lymph nodes."

"Hurry up for God's sake," cries the Captain, "we're outnumbered and we need T-cell help now!"

The dendritic cells reach the lymph node, presenting the antigens to every possible T-cell they can, until one recognizes the specific antigen. It's time to proliferate.

"What's the problem?" asks the T-cell.

"It's an otitis media sir," replies the dendritic cell.

"Dear God, the Student hasn't had one of those in well over a decade! I don't think there are any memory B-cells left from back then. This is going to be a long fight," the T-cell responds, a slight panic in his voice.


Only time will tell what will happen with this ear infection. I found out I was allergic to amoxicillin when I had a really bad ear infection in kindergarten. I had many ear infections, I even had tubes put in... Twice. But I rarely went to the doctor and was only given antibiotics once. I can't remember what I was given after my skin broke out into huge red rashes, but I do remember it did not taste good. Something tells me I could handle getting a capsule now though...

However, I can't exactly go to the doctor, unless I want to pay full price, because my dad believes our insurance cards are good for 2 years. I tried to argue with him, but he would not budge. I know for a fact that the cards are invalid, because they definitely don't run through the same PBM as they did a year ago. I have a feeling he lost the new cards, and refuses to acknowledge the fact. So, I'm on my own until October when we will get new cards once again. Hopefully he won't lose them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Little Common Sense Goes A Long Way

As a science nerd, like I imagine most pharmacists and Pharm D students are, I have to admit, sometimes it's difficult for me to see the woods because the damn trees are in the way. I enjoy breaking things down into the smallest parts possible to see how they work, which is probably why I enjoy learning about drugs so much. However, like most intelligent people, I possess enough common sense to get me through the day, much like the pharmacist I'm about to introduce you to.

We'll call her Shayna. Shayna got her Pharm. D. a few years back, so she's pretty new to the profession, but a great pharmacist none-the-less (easy on the eyes too). She's a lot like me, she wants to know exactly how everything works in minute detail. When I have a question, I always ask her, because I know she'll give me a 5 minute speech on exactly why a certain drug does a certain thing, and why it's used instead of this other drug. I love it; I learn more from her about drugs than anyone else. But, she too can miss the woods because of those damn trees. An example:

Patient comes up to the counter to ask why one form of contact lens cleaner costs more than another. Both are from the same company, both look relatively alike with slightely different designs. I see the obvious answer right away, but Shayna is in Pharmacist Mode (I think I'll trademark that phrase) and I feel like getting a laugh later, so I let her take care of it. As a pharmacist, the first thing she looked at was the active ingredients. After pouring over the two boxes for around 3 minutes, comparing the ingredients in each cleanser and their strengths. She eventually gives up and explains that both are idenitical products and that the new box design must be the reason the price went up. At this point, I had to intervene, because the patient was about to get ripped off by buying the cheaper cleaner. Can any of you guess why one was more expensive?

The cheaper box had a 12 oz bottle, the more expensive one had a 16 oz bottle. The sizes of the bottles were clearly printed on the top part of each box. I admit, the company made it a little more difficult to determine what the problem was when they decided to use the same size box for two different sized bottles, but a quick glance at the top half of the box would solve it easily.

So I lean over and say, "I think it's because this bottle has 4 more ounces in it." I wanted to say "Perhaps it's because this bottle has 4 more ounces, I think companies tend to charge more money when you buy more of their product," but that would've been unnecessarily mean, dickish, actually.

Shayna replies "Oh, yeah, I didn't even notice that."

Sometimes those trees can be a bitch...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back From Break

What is it about the week after Easter break that every single teacher feels the need to have a test? I'm not saying a few teachers are having tests, all my teachers are having tests, including lab. I just got out of a lab test, and I'm pretty sure I got a B. I gave myself a pat on the back and then realized I have 4 other tests this week. It's like a bad prequel to a movie that sucked in the first place "Finals Week: The Beginning."

Most teachers use the argument that the long weekend will give us more time to study. Um, no, the long weekend gives us more time to forget what we learned 2 weeks ago. Most of us students either go somewhere or have family over for Easter, and being a hermit and studying while family is around is usually frowned upon. The rest of the students, like me, just want to be lazy and eat Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs (they're soooooooooooo good) and watch the Master's or some other type of boob tube programming (I prefer the Master's). Oh, did I forget drinking? Yeah, we want to do that too.

I must now cram all the information from the past 3-4 weeks into a couple hours for my 2 tests tomorrow. Looks like I'll be putting the vodka down for a week or so...

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Introduction To A Co-worker

Apparently I have a strange sense of humor. Either that, or one of the techs I work with, Gingersnaps (quite obviously not her real name, just thought I'd point that out), has no sense of humor. One of the two.

Students are, of course, in charge of putting the drugs we get delivered every day on the shelves and in the robot. Today, we got in a large amount of hydrocodone/APAP 5/500, because it's always good to have extra on hand. I'm sure everyone that reads this blog knows at least a little about pharmacy, since I got my first comments after the Drugmonkey gave me a shoutout. Thanks for that, by the way. Anywho, you all know that the docs prescribe that shit like it's candy, magical pain-relieving candy.

After filling the robot as full as possible with the magic candy, I went to put the rest of it on the shelf we reserve for robot drugs. However, there was no room on the shelf for it, so I threw it on top, thinking anyone would look up there, considering that's where we keep all the shit that comes in bottles too big to fit in the shelf.

In the next hour or so, we went through a shit-ton of magic candy. Yes, "shit-ton" is an actual measurement; it's between "crap-load" and "fuck-load," but I digress. So Gingersnaps comes up to me as I'm doing a refill for someone who wanted That One Pharmacist, and asks where the Vicodin is, because she wants to put more into the robot.

"I ate it," I say, then I try my best to glaze my eyes over. I then turned to her, and said "All of it."

She just stared at me, so I laughed and said it's on the top of the shelf. She replies "Oh," and walks away. No smile, no "Oh, that was a joke!" just "Oh."

I bombed. Took a swing and missed, but now I can make fun of her for not having a sense of humor, unless that wasn't as funny as I thought it was... hmm...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Damn, I'm glad I'm not this kid...

Holy Jesus Christ! This kid is creepy. I type in "lab coat" into Google to possibly find a picture that I could use for my profile picture and this pops up on page 3. It looks like he could actually fly away on his dumbo ears, but I think his huge head might weigh him down. Perhaps I'm being too harsh, not everyone can look as good as me...

But that's not really the point. I took a look at where this picture came from and it's from the Advance Healthcare Shop. They're asking $17.99 for this "Toddler Lab Coat with Caduceus." What kind of parents would actually buy this for their kid? I mean shit, why don't you put some more pressure on your elementary school children?

Oh Bobby! Look what we got you! Now stop playing with your friends and put on this lab coat. Ah look at you! You're so cute! Let's get you inside where you can study for your MCATs, it's only 12 years away!

Is there anything Americans won't buy?

P.S. I still can't get over his ears... The hand in the pocket with the thumb hanging out is very stylish though.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pointless Labs

Ever sit in lab staring at some tissue trying to discern whether that one blob was a different color than the other? I just got done doing this, we will have a practical on it next week, and if I get a C, I will be happy (hey, C = PharmD). Why do we need to know this? For fuck's sake, we're going to be pharmacists, not doctors.

I understand the need to know how our bodies work. We need to know why certain drugs work, we need to know why taking X drug will affect Y drug. But, we do not need to know what the thyroid looks like, fuck, I don't even think we need to know where it's located. I feel we just need to know what it does. Am I wrong? Ever hear a couselling session go like this?

Pharmacist: Here's your levothyroxine. Oh, and your thyroid is located in your neck, just so you know. Also, it looks super cool under a microscope. It's pink and white. We call the white parts colloids. Are you paying attention? This is important information!

Patient: Huh? Wait, what?

Pharmacist: The white part of your thyroid is the colloid.

Patient: Oh, ok.

Pharmacist: Any other questions?

Patient: Why am I taking this?

Pharmacist: Not important, just remember 'colloid.'

Patient: Oh, ok.

No, you haven't. Because it doesn't fucking matter what a cross section of an endocrine gland looks like. Not to us at least. What matters to us is why you are taking the drug and if that drug will interact with another drug you're taking.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Phone Call

Me - "The PharmD Student Pharmacy, this is Student."

"Ummm..... Yesh.... Herro?" Awkward pause.

Me - "Yes, hello."

"I... Haf... Queshion?"

Me - "Let me get a pharmacist for you."

Muuahahahahahahahaha. Karma's going to be a bitch when she gets me back for this one. Oh well, I'm waiting.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Please explain something to me. How in the hell does someone just murder someone else? How can someone justify that? Kimberly Saenz was a nurse working in a dialysis clinic in Lufkin, Texas. She injected bleach into people's IVs. How sadistic is that? Have you ever got bleach in a cut? Think if that pain was in your whole body.

I have wracked my brain and I cannot think of a single reason for this type of action, except that maybe she was so sick and tired of working that she needed to kill off some of her work. I've been pissed off at work before, but I've never been pissed enough to start killing people. I could do it. I have the power and knowledge to fuck with someone's pills, but I couldn't do it. Ever. Actually, that probably wouldn't work because that person would come in the next day and bitch about how their pills look different, even though I had explained to you the day before that they are exactly the same, but made by a different manufacturer, but that's a whole different story.

I never thought I'd say this, but thank you Texas for having the death penalty. I suggest you use bleach instead of the normal lethal injection.

Read more here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

That One Pharmacist

Does every pharmacy have that one pharmacist? You know, the one that every single patient wants to talk to, no matter what they need? My one pharmacist is Steve (not really, I'm trying to keep this relatively anonymous). This guy has obviously always been a people person. He astonishes me with his ability to talk to every single fucking patient that walks through the door. He can have a conversation with a slightly mentally handicapped, extremely loud and annoying individual, and enjoy it. I don't know if he's missing a gene, or has an extra one or what, but this guy is special.

Over 50% of the calls I answer go like this.
"PharmD Student Pharmacy, this is Student."
"Yeah is Steve there?"

Now, during my first couple months of working at my pharmacy I would say "Yes, one moment please," and thank my lucky stars I didn't have to, you know... work. Now I have learned that most of these people don't need to talk to a pharmacist. Now, I respond with "Yes, but he's on the phone right now (regardless of what he's actually doing), is there anything I can help you with?"

90% of the time it's something I am perfectly capable of doing. Like "Oh, well I just need a refill." Or, "Oh, well I don't have insurance, can you look up a price for me?" Sometimes I just bang my head on the counter when these calls come in. Of course I can do that, what do you think I'm here for? To twiddle my thumbs? Come on.

Does every pharmacy have that one pharmacist?

Birth Control: It's Covered Too!

Something happened in my pharmacy recently that pissed me the hell off, for more than one reason. I was counting out some pills, most likely oxycodone or some other CII, when I heard it. Screaming. Kids screaming. Numerous kids screaming. A chill goes down my spine. Please, please for the love of whatever is out there, not in my pharmacy. Relief comes flooding in when they walk into the clinic. Good, they have an appointment, I have at least an hour or so to prepare myself for this shit show. Wrong. 45 minutes later I hear it again. Screaming. Fuuuuuuuuuck.

Ok, I tell myself, there's no way in hell all of these little brats have scripts. Not possible, no way the doctor had enough time to check out all the kids. Wrong again. They walk in and start tearing the pharmacy apart, and their mother hands me the scripts. 8 scripts. All for amoxicillin. AHHH! What. The. Fuck?!?!! One kid is pulling on his ear and you give them all antibiotics? Fuck you doctor, you just wanted to get these brats out of you office so someone else had to deal with them.

Have your children filled here before? "Oh yes, all of their information is in there," mother says as one of her little brats starts hitting her. No shit, this little 3 year old was punching her mom, and her mom was doing nothing to stop it. Well, I look up brat #1, nothing in the computer.

Ma'am? I don't have any information for brat #1, are you sure you've filled here before? "Oh, well maybe not," mother says as brat #2 knocks over the Ring Pops. (I completely forgot about Ring Pops until I worked in a retail pharmacy. Kids love those fucking things. Only 80 calories a Pop!)

Ok, do you have insurance you want this billed to? Oh boy, here it comes, I know 8 gold cards are coming out. Sure as shit, 8 Medicaid cards fly out.

Eventually I get all the scripts in the computer, filled, and waited as the pharmacist checked them. I watched as the mother sat in a chair while her children rolled on the floor screaming and knocking candy off the shelves. I am still uncomfortable with telling mothers to get their kids in check, I am still a student, remember. Someday I'll get the balls to do such things, I can't wait for that day.

What I really wanted to tell the mother was this. "You know something? I'm sick of paying taxes so you can sit on your ass and get pregnant. I'm not working my ass off so you can take a dick. Medicaid covers birth control, talk to your doctor and get your lazy ass on some birth control, for fuck's sake."

If I had said that, she probably would've responded, "It's against my religion."

*Sigh* Honestly...

Student Duties

Ah to be a student. All of the fun of being a pharmacist, none of the real duties. Got a question regarding a prescription? Let me get a pharmacist for you. Want to bitch about what we have in stock for OTCs? Let me get a pharmacist for you. Want to be a total pain-in-the-ass? Let me get a pharmacist for you. 7 words I have learned to love. Yet, I can still send/receive copies, I can take a new script over the phone, I can call insurance for overrides, I can refill scripts, I can count out CIIs, I can fill the robot, receive orders, and update inventory. I can do it all, but the minute things get hairy, I can say those 7 magic words and all my problems disappear. I can go to the back and laaaaaaaaugh, and when the pharmacist gets back I can ask him/her all about it. Soon I'll be able to counsel, well, I can counsel now, but I only do it with amoxicillin and DNCB in pet, and when I can counsel more drugs those 7 words won't be as magic, and that will be a sad day.

But we students also get the shaft when it comes to bitch work. We do all of the bitch work. All of it. We empty all garbages, including the bathroom, boss's office, and the cashier's. We're in charge of washing all the dishes, so if a tech or pharmacist or student makes a compound or solution, guess who's in the kitchenette getting the ointment off the spatulas? Yeah, it's the student. We sort through and file all scripts according to number, and when the shit hits the fan, those can get out of order real quick-like, and with 100-300 new scripts a day, that's not fun. We fill the robot with vials and caps and drugs. We stock the shelves with all different dram sizes and caps. We wipe down the chairs and counters at the end of the day. We vaccuum. Oh boy do we vaccuum. This my friends, is the worst part of my day, especially now that the snow is melting. This means that all that dirt plow trucks throw on the road so your SUV doesn't slide off the road every time the mercury goes below 32 is piling up, and you walk on it. When that happens, it gets caught in your shoes and then you walk into my store, where it all somehow gets deposited in the big fucking grooves in the rug that my boss unwittingly bought. These grooves are fucking huge, making it impossible for the vaccuum to create a vaccuum on the rug, making my job of vaccuuming 10 minutes longer. I wonder how many times I can say vaccuum in one sentence? Hmm....

Which means on days like today I don't get out of the pharmacy until a half hour after I'm supposed to, because everyone seems to need their prescriptions filled 5 minutes before we close.

I'm New At This

Welcome, you're reading my first ever post. Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back and let my words wash over you like a nice warm bath.

Let me tell you a little something about myself. I am a PharmD student somewhere in the Midwest. I currently hold a job at a retail pharmacy, and many of my posts will be inspired by the wackiness of what goes on at said pharmacy from a student's eyes. However, I get the feeling most of my posts will deal with school, seeing that
JP, The Angry Pharmacist, The Angriest Pharmacist, and The Drugmonkey can and will cover pretty much everything about retail. Plus I go to school every day, and I do not work every day. So, let's get started!