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Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm still working on the sophomore year advice, I'm trying to decide what stories to tell now and what ones to save for their own posts... Anyway, here's a phone call from today.

-Doctor calls the pharmacy

"PDS Pharmacy, this is PDS."

"Hi did you get those scripts I faxed down for vicodin and Levaquin?"

"Well, what was the patient's name?"

"Joe Blow."

"Yeah, I have them right here."

"Ok, well should I give Joe the hard copy?"

"Well, only if you want him to have 2 copies, but considering you're giving him vicodin, I bet you don't want that," I say in a slighty smart-ass tone.

"Wait, what?"

It's at this point that I realize the doctor is either A) retarded B) drunk or C) retardedly drunk.
"Well since I have the prescription already you wouldn't want to give another script to him, because then he could get twice the amount that you prescribe for."

"OH, well what if he doesn't want to fill it at your pharmacy?"

"Well, we don't have to fill it, he could come pick it up from us, or you could tell us to destroy this copy and give him the hard copy, but why did you fax us if he didn't want to fill it here?"

"Well, he does, I just don't really understand this whole process."

Wow, you have got to be kidding me. I honestly never thought I'd have to deal with a doctor that didn't know how the prescription process worked. I mean, was there a class this "doctor" missed? I would never say that with my as yet unfinished schooling that I was smarter than a doctor, but...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How To Get Into Pharmacy School: The PCAT

I've decided to make this a 3 post series, and today I'll be writing about the PCAT. Yeah, I know I'm a few days late for the June PCAT, but whatever.

Anywho, here are some tips on doing better on the PCAT!

Oh shit! Remember all that information you didn't learn freshman year? Turns out you're getting tested on it. Whoops.

1. Get the Kaplan book.
It's like $26, and has all the information that you forgot 10 minutes after they tested you on it in school. In fact, I would recommend buying the Kaplan book instead of your university chem or bio books (Actually, buying a Gen Chem book was the biggest waste of my money ever, I returned it still in the shrink wrap). Don't worry about reading all of it, just make sure you're up on your basic algebra and plant biology, they seem to love asking questions about plant biology.

2. Learn how to name compounds.
Yeah, I know you haven't taken O. Chem yet, but trust me, knowing how to name compounds will skyrocket your Chem score.

3. Take the practice test.
Yeah, it fucking sucks, but take the practice test, and time yourself. Make sure you know how fast you need to answer the questions. Try to finish each test with at least 5 minutes to spare, this will come in handy later.

4. Do not go to bed early.
Go to bed when you normally do, you will be groggy and out of it if you get too much sleep. Drink a few (3 max) beers in the hour before you go to bed, since you've built up a tolerance it's not going to even produce a buzz, but it will calm your nerves. Once again, no Everclear. I recommend doing this instead of taking a sleeping pill because alcohol doesn't stay in your system as long, and you'll get more normal sleep cycles.

5. Eat oatmeal.
Or something similar. Something with a lot of calories and volume. You'll need the calories for this test, and you don't want to be distracted by a growling stomach.

6. Arrive almost late.
There's nothing worse than sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting for it to be time to start. Plus, somebody will come late, forcing the test to be delayed anyway.

7. Try to distract others.
Remember, the PCAT is percentile, so the worse other's do, the better you do. Plus, most of the people taking the PCAT in your room will be applying to the same schools as you. I can spin pens and pencils around my thumb. This mesmerizes people, they stare at it like they're in a trance. If you can't master the pen spin, anything that makes a small amount of noise will do, but you may be asked to stop by a moderator.

8. Finish at least 5 minutes early.
This way, you can either look over your answers (I don't recommend this), or, use this time to start the next test. NO, don't turn the page dumbass, instead, flatten the book out so you can see through the paper to the next page and figure out the answers to those, and if you can read backwards you can do the other side too. This is not cheating. It's strategy, plus the chem test is fucking hard, you need extra time.

9. Don't worry about the essays.
They just grade those by having a drunk chimpanzee whack a keyboard anyway. A standard 5 paragraph 8th grade essay will suffice.

10. Don't worry about it!
Everyone takes it, but it really doesn't have a huge effect on your admission to pharmacy school. Two of my friends got into pharm school with PCATs in the 60s. My school was super-secretive about the admissions process, but I found out through someone in the know that most of the emphasis is put on your GPA, and a "good" GPA is considered 3.6. This is just a "good" GPA, an "acceptable" GPA is a 3.2. After the GPA, the interview is the next biggie, then the PCAT, then the ethics test. How did I pass an ethics test you ask? I don't have a fucking clue.

So that's what I did to take the PCAT. I fucking bombed the chemistry section the first time, but all my other scores were pretty good. Do not take the August test, wait until October to take it again. Your score will just be lower in August than it was in June because you forgot everything from freshman year. I fucking bombed the chemistry section again in October, I actually got the same score, but my other scores were much better than before, and my cumulative ended up 5 points higher my second time. Go out and celebrate with the rest of your little pharmacy friends afterward. Try to finish off half your 1.75 of plastic-bottle vodka. Find out you can actually drink more than half before you puke your guts out and come to the realization that you really can't. Now go draw on your friend's face. Ah, good times.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How To Get Into Pharmacy School: Freshman Year

I was listening to my younger friends bitch about how ridiculous the PCAT was on Saturday and thought about how I got into pharmacy school, and further thought I should share my experiences with the world, or at least the 4 people that read this blog. So here's a list of suggestions on getting into pharmacy school.

1. Live in the dorms.
For fuck's sake, live in the dorms. If the college has a pharmacy floor, live there. Yeah, there will be a couple "nerds" that will think that the pharmacy floor is a place to be quiet and study all day. This is wrong. Our pharmacy floor was notorious on campus. We had more write-ups than any other floor on campus. Coincidentally, none of those write-ups came from our RA, they were always from RAs from a different floor, because pharmacy kids stick together.

2. Get out of your room.
Your room is for sleeping and masturbating. Get out there and meet people, they will come in handy for some of the later steps. If you don't, the people that do go out to the lounge will make fun of you and laugh when they do better than you on the tests.

3. Stop studying.
The test isn't for 2 weeks, why the hell are you even opening the book? In fact, why did you even buy that chemistry book? You wasted $180. Go out in the lounge and talk to people. Shoot the shit, this is your freshman year, the friendships you make now will last for at least the next 5 years. Studying is for the night before the test. Yeah, the test covers 7 chapters, but who cares? All information from freshman year is irrelevant, you will not need to know Boyle's law after this test. Learn it for 8 hours, then toss that information, your brain is put to better use memorizing the house rules for beer pong at different houses around campus.

4. Cheat.
There's a reason they let you use graphing calculators, use them in any way possible. This way, learning Boyle's law for even 8 hours is optional. In the real world, looking up stuff is not only accepted, it's expected. Writing lab reports is for the people who took that lab last semester, not you. Remember those people you met in the dorms? One of them has all their lab reports from the lab you're in now on their computer. Delete their name and date and slap yours on there. Saves 4 hours. Now go shoot some shit.

5. Drink. A lot.
Use your network of friends to find a buyer, and find out what's the cheapest beer and vodka and stock up. Anything that comes in a 30 pack and a plastic 1.75 liter bottle will suffice. Learn to love the burning of cheap vodka as it flows down your underage throat, you'll appreciate the good stuff more later in life. Avoid Everclear, you may feel like a total badass drinking it, but you'll forget that it's over twice as strong as that vodka you love so much and start thinking that taking shots is a good idea. It is not. I cannot even count how many times Everclear has blacked me out waaaaaaaaaay before I wanted to.

6. Get caught drinking. By the cops. On campus.
You'll never have a better story than the one where you ran from the cops in a drunken panic, only to realize you're right next to your dorm and you're essentially fucked. When this happens, throw your hands in the air, drop your backpack, and calmly apologize to the officer for running. Then after you've blown your .24 and been issued your ticket, go up to your room and crack another beer that you've stocked up on. The fact that you can function at that BAC is worth the celebration, it's a damn good thing you've followed step #5.

7. Tell the judge you puked. A lot.
Who gives a fuck if you didn't? He doesn't know that. He will empathize with you, and reduce your sentence, then laugh when your friend gets a minor the next week after blowing a .03 and gets the full sentence.

8. Stop going to class.
It's early, it's cold, it's a half-mile away. Get some sleep. Seriously, who gives a fuck about Punnett Squares? Not you, not anyone. Those notes are posted on the internet anyway.

9. Get an apartment.
This is something I didn't do until halfway through my sophomore year, and I regret not doing it sooner. Living at home during the summer sucks, and cuts into what should be drinking time. You have friends in your college town, stay with them.

10. Laugh when you make the Dean's List.
Laugh your ass off at the kids who stayed in their rooms and didn't make the Dean's List. They won't ask you how you made the Dean's List, but tell them anyway. Explain to them that they need to relax and blow off steam more often. They will deny that that is their problem. Do not let them weasel out of it, make sure they know that the human brain is not capable of learning all the time. Being drunk at the time is optional.

So this pretty much sums up my freshman year. Ah, the memories.


Ok people, this is obviously not the best way to get into pharm school. I'm just telling you all how my freshman year was. I obviously went to most classes, with the exception of chemistry and biology. The thing is, if you think your freshman year of college is really difficult, and you feel the need to study all the time, then you will not make it. You will not be able to survive pharmacy school. Yeah, calculus sucks balls, but that should be the only class you have much difficulty with. This is your freshman year, the rules change for sophomore year, which I will get to soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wait, I'm Actually Going To Have To Try?

Today I learned that one of the teachers I thought was going to teach me took a better job at a different pharmacy school. Normally, I would think this was a good thing, because new teachers are usually gung-ho and really try their best to get students to learn. That's been my experience, at least. However, this one I'm not too stoked about, seeing that I have every single test the previous teacher ever gave out in the past 10 years. Yeah, you read that right. 10 years worth of tests, the stack of papers is bigger than my Gen. Chem and O. Chem books combined. I even have the tests from a couple of the pharmacists I work with.

If the teacher hadn't moved out, his class would've been cake. Yeah, he writes new tests every year, but after looking over 10 years worth of tests I can get to know what kind of questions he asks and what kind of answers he's looking for. It's like the second time I took that PCAT; I knew what the Reading questions would be just by reading the article. It makes the test extremely easy and quick to do. Now I'm not only going to have to learn the material, I'm actually going to have to try.

Don't get me wrong, I do want to learn, I love learning. I just don't want to bust my balls doing it.

I fully expect most of you to be playing the world's smallest violin for my little sob story. Feel free to tell me to stop bitching. I really have nothing to complain about...

Monday, June 15, 2009


I wish I knew my brand to generic names better. I haven't had to memorize the Top 200 yet, so my knowledge on them is pathetic at best. An example:

A nurse from a walk-in calls my pharmacy to call in a script.

"HiPharmDStudent, I'mcallinginascript," she said hurriedly.

"Ok what's the name and birthdate?" I asked.

"SallyParker, ohsixohseveneightyfour," she rushes, "It'sfor Diflucan, thedoctorisWiess."

"Ok," I say, trying to keep up with her, she almost hangs up the phone. "Whoa, hold on there, is there a strength on that, or an amount, or directions?"

"Uh, well isn't there just one strength?" she finally says at a normal speed, "And I know it's just one pill."

"Uh, no, there's at least 2 strengths, 100mg and 150mg, do you have any idea which one it is?" I ask.

"Um, no, I guess I'll have to talk to the doctor," she responded.

It's at this point that I think this nurse is an idiot for not getting this information in the first place, but if I had known that Diflucan was Fluconazole, this wouldn't have been a problem. I felt like the idiot when I looked up the generic and realized that it was obviously going to be the 150mg and the directions would be "Take 1 tablet by mouth." It's for a yeast infection, and I've filled hundreds of scripts for it. I should've known this, but I never knew the damn brand name.

Of course, the blame most certainly isn't all on me. The doctor is to blame for not writing a full script, or just telling his nurse 150mg. I mean come on, how hard is that? The blame can also partly rest on the nurse, who should've known that I needed more information than just a drug name. Maybe if the nurse hadn't been in such a rush to get back to her US magazine this could have been avoided.

I always take the blame when I've made a mistake, but on this one I think I'm fairly blame-free.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So This Guy...

So this guy comes into our pharmacy the other day. He's a regular that we keep happy because he gives us good business. You know the deal, the man has 10 scripts and his wife has 12, we want to hold on to these customers. He came in to get the scripts he needs, which is only 2 of his total. I ring up his scripts and see that yes, these two scripts are over $100. This is the conversation that ensues:

Me: "Whoa, looks like you're breaking the bank on these ones."
Mr. Jolly: "Yeah holy shit, didn't my insurance cover them?"
Me: (Not knowing he's kidding) "Uh, well, yes, they did, but I can check to see if it's been covered better in the past."
Mr. J: "Yeah those bastards at the insurance company are really trying to fuck me over. I've been getting these pills for 15 fucking years, and my co-pays have only gone up. I'm gonna go sue those sons-of-bitches."
Me: "Uh... well..." I stutter, because I really don't know what to say at the moment.
Mr. J: "Yeah these pills have been keeping me alive for 15 years, which is good for me, but bad for my wife." His laughter fills the pharmacy, "She's gonna leave me one of these days... I can't wait!"

Now I get the joke. Now I'm laughing.

It's these type of people that make me think retail really isn't all that bad.