Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the year advice

Well, a new year is rapidly approaching, and I'm hoping and praying for fewer stupid people in my life. I know that won't happen without a little education, so here's some free advice to anyone using the services of a pharmacy...

1) Come prepared. Bring your insurance card and your identification, as well as a way to pay for your portion of the prescription cost. Don't assume we already have your insurance info - ESPECIALLY if you've never been to our pharmacy before! Don't assume that, just because you have insurance, your prescription will be free.
2) Be patient. Filling a prescription takes time, if you want it done right. Also, you are not the only person in the world - you may have to wait behind 20 other sick people.
3) Don't argue with the pharmacy staff. If you hear something you don't like, we can try to explain it to you, but don't argue when we do. We don't lie to you just because we like being called bitches. The cash price IS $122, your insurance considers it non-preferred, and your copay IS $75. All fact, arguing won't change it.
4) New moms, give your kids normal names. And if you refuse to do that, don't give me the evil eye when I can't pronounce it or have to ask if it's a boy or girl. (Saw a kid named 'Furious' the other day - wonder how mom's labor went? I'm thinkin' not so good...)
5) Don't wait until the last minute - for ANYTHING. Refill? Call us a day or two in advance. No refills left? It's on your label - pay attention! We can fax your doctor, but give us a week, in case the doctor's a slow poke. If you saw the doctor and got a new prescription, don't come rushing in 5 minutes before we close and call it an emergency. If it's from your regular doctor, I know his office closed 4 hours ago - you had time... PLAN AHEAD for vacations or holidays! I don't care if you miss your flight because you waited to request refills.
6) Put down your damn phone. If you can't pay attention and answer the questions my tech asks you when you drop off a prescription (are you allergic to anything?), then when you die from a problem related to the unanswered questions, don't come crying to me.
And the most important thing to remember when going to the pharmacy...
THE PHARMACIST AND TECH ARE PEOPLE - TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT. Cussing at me will get you kicked out of my pharmacy. Cussing at my techs or cashiers will get you the same. Yelling and screaming at us will NOT speed up our filling process. As a matter of fact, it just slows everything down while we try to calm you down.

Have a Happy and Smart New Year!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Didn't take long...

Well, I'm back to work. Only 6 hours a day (doctor's order), but I'm happy to be off my backside and doing something.
I've been back a week now, and I've already encountered some stupidity...
Yesterday, I must have spent a total of two hours convincing a lady that we didn't take any money from her flexible spending account. We billed her insurance. That's it. I talked to her insurance company, and they didn't take her money either. But she kept saying "My insurance paid you $42, and I paid you $27, and you took $42 from my FSA, so you have to give me my money back!" The drug was $42, the insurance didn't pay anything on it, she had a $15 coupon, so her out of pocket expense was $27. I kept asking her if she was looking at her explanation of benefits or her FSA statement, she kept saying both. Only after 2 hours and multiple phone calls did I finally convince her to call her FSA and figure it out. I stayed amazingly calm. She asked my last name, and after I told her, she kept using my full name ("Well, Jane Doe, I paid $27) - it was so annoying.
But it still feels good to be back at work...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dumbest driver ever

I know, it's not related to pharmacy, but some stupid people jump out at me and I just have to say something.
I was cruising down the freeway earlier today when I experienced something I rarely ever do - car envy. Men may experience this regularly, but for us women, it's not often we see a car and say to ourselves "I REALLY want that car!"
This car was amazing - A Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, midnight blue. It was right in front of me, so I moved over and pulled along side to get a better look. I didn't want to appear to be gawking, so I slowed a little to fall behind.
That's when I saw her - the stupidest driver ever... She was in a beat up old Dodge Neon, talking on her cell phone (illegal in this state, BTW), going about 60mph in the pouring rain, TAILGATING the Ferrari. I'm not talking about following a little too close - she was no further than 10 or 12 feet from the back of that gorgeous piece of machinery.
I've been known to occasionally tailgate, usually not intentionally, but this was ridiculous. Even if half my brain was removed I wouldn't ride the ass of a car that costs as much as a house! The MSRP of the Ferrari is over $315,000 (had to look that one up) - somehow I doubt miss chatty Cathy in the Neon had insurance good enough to cover it if she rear-ended the beauty in front of her.
With people like her on the road, I know I would never buy a car like that even if I could afford it...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Off work again...

Got the dumb ass Doctor to fill out my forms correctly. It took an hour and a half, and I pretty much had to explain every aspect of my job and how being one-armed impacted it, but I'm off work until I'm out of a sling. Yippee!
Not yippee for coming up with stupid people stories, though.... not til December, anyway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to work, and not by choice...

So.... My Dr and his bitchy MA have now screwed up my leave of absence paperwork THREE times, and since our corporate whatever-their-titles-are in HR can't see that "OK to go back to work on 9/19 but don't drive in the sling you're wearing until 12/9 and don't use your left arm AT ALL until 12/9" just doesn't make sense. So, for the first time since surgery, I have had horrible pain - being in a sling while standing for 8 hrs makes you hurt from the ribs up, shoulders, arms, neck, upper back, you name it.
The incredibly stupid in this little rant? Surgeon, MA, HR person, and ME - for giving into the demand to go back!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How unprofessional....

So - I found a stupid thing that's non-pharmacy related to rant about. Sarah Palin. I had to walk out of my living room in the middle of the VP debate because her lack of professionalism is killing me! The "say it isn't so, Joe" comment, the "shout out to the 3rd graders" at the school her brother teaches in, the mispronunciation of the word "nuclear" multiple times... IF she and McCain win this election, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT allow this woman to meet with foreign leaders!!!! She cannot even speak intelligently and relevantly during a campaign debate.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No stupid stories for a while...

I had shoulder surgery last Tuesday and will be away from work for a couple of months. So, unless some idiot comes in my house and does something really stupid in my living room (just standing between me and my TV during a Law & Order rerun might qualify), I'll have nothing for you for a while...
But - one last tale before I go... DESPITE the sign in the pharmacy that says - in RED letters - not to call me during my medical leave if problems arise, I got called by work 4 of the first 5 days post op... The first call was less than 24 hours after surgery.... I know my techs are smarter than that - they must have just missed the sound of my voice.....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stupid drivers

This rant about stupid people has no bearing on anything medical or pharmacy related, but I just had to get it out of my system....
I was driving on a highway that I not-so-affectionately refer to as "the autobahn" the other day. It seems that every other driver on that road thinks it's a racetrack! I can be going 5 over the speed limit, and people still pass me like I'm standing still... Well, here I am, going about 62mph, in the right lane, minding my own business. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, this red blur of a BMW zooms up on my left, and decides to merge into my lane when his passenger door is about even with my front tire. I nearly rolled my SUV when I had to swerve really hard onto the shoulder just to avoid being hit. I was shaking like a leaf, and thought for sure my heart was going to pound out of my chest!!! I called 911, and reported this jackass of an aggressive driver. Apparently, a lot of other people called 911, too, because just as I approached the exit I needed, I saw the beemer pulled over by 3 state troopers. I stopped on the shoulder, and used every ounce of self control not to run back to this guy's car and punch him in the face. I gave my report to the troopers, but all they could do was cite him for going 80mph in a 60mph zone - they didn't see him run me off the road... But, one of these days, one will, and he'll be sittin' in a jail cell for a while.
So - for all you drivers in such a hurry to get somewhere - don't be STUPID and try to kill someone in the process!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Physician Assistant

The other day, I had an appointment to make a final decision on shoulder surgery. (yes, the shoulder injury that started out as a neck strain according to the urgent care moron) The surgeon was booked up, so I was scheduled to see the PA. Of course, the PA seemed to feel the need to re-invent the wheel, asking me questions and having me do things he could have read about in the chart. No big deal, until we got into range of motion.
"Raise your arm out this way" "Do you want me to stop when it starts to hurt?" "No, I want to see how high you can raise your arm" WTF? I can raise my arm all the way over my head - it just hurts like the dickens to do it, and that's not normal! In hindsight, I should have said the following...
"OK, I'll do that, but first you have to drop your pants. I'll grab hold of your penis, and you start to back up. No, don't stop when it hurts, I want to see how far it will stretch."

Oh, by the way, surgery is September 9th. I'm tempted to go see the urgent care dude afterwards and tell him I had neck surgery on my shoulder...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Whose responsibility???

Yesterday, a gal came into the pharmacy wanting to pick up her prescription. We had never filled anything for her before, and had nothing waiting for her. She said her doctor's office was supposed to phone one in. "I called them 3 hours ago" "Well, they haven't called us yet, you may want to call them again and let them know you're here waiting." Her response to that? "Since when is that my responsibility? You're supposed to call them"
Ummm, excuse me? You've never been here before, we don't even know which doctor we were supposed to call...
Come on people! Take some responsibility for your own health care! What's next? Are you going to expect me to go to your house to shove the damn pills down your throat, too?????

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's "Natural"

I really hate it when people assume that just because something is "natural" that means it's safe. Or, when they ask me to recommend a "natural" alternative to their prescription because they don't want to take drugs - they prefer something "natural" and "safe".
Let's talk about natural...
Many drugs were originally derived from nature. That Lanoxin your doctor prescribed? Comes from the foxglove - a lovely flower that I happen to have growing among some wildflowers on the edge of my property. Aspirin was derived from tree bark. Penicillin, in case you forgot your history lessons, came from mold. Premarin - now's the time for the squeamish to look away - comes from horse urine. Gross, but a good source of estrogen if the horse happens to be pregnant. Morphine is derived from the opium poppy. Armour Thyroid come from pigs - if you doubt me, ask me if you can smell it sometime, it smells like dead pig (ugh). These are example of drugs derived from nature that can be helpful, if not good for those who need them.
I once was standing in line at a grocery store, and a lady in front of me was buying some herbal weight loss product. The cashier asked "Does this stuff really work?" and the customer responded "I don't know, but it's all natural, so it can't hurt to try it." Not being one who can just let a stupid (or maybe just naive) comment like that slip by, I said to the lady "Natural does NOT mean good for you! Tobacco is natural, marijuana is natural, cocaine is natural. You gonna run out and try those, too?" The lady didn't buy the diet junk....
So - next time you see "All Natural!" on a label, don't be fooled. And, if you want to know how natural your prescription drugs are, just ask me...

(now that I've typed the word natural so many times, it's starting to look funny - have I spelled it right???)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I HATE insurance companies!!!!

For laypersons reading this blog (no that doesn't mean you get laid a lot - it means you're not in healthcare...), you probably have no idea just how much we pharmacists and techs go through with insurances on a daily basis. Yeah, you may hear a bit of our difficulties when we tell you your prescription is no longer on the formulary, but we deal with that kind of inconvenience hundreds of times every day! The damned insurance companies can do whatever they want, with no notice to us or you, the insurance holders, whenever they want.
Last month your copay was $25? Well, this month it's $50. Or this month, that drug isn't covered at all. Last month the ID number we submitted was correct, this month it's not, and they didn't bother to send you a new card.
Last month, if your insurance wanted prior authorization to cover your prescription (insurance speak for 'we want to know why this person has to have this expensive drug instead of a cheaper one that will do the same thing') we would fax the doctor with the alternative drugs that are covered - if the insurance is kind enough to tell us what those options are - and a phone number to call if they want to keep you on the same med. This month, they expect me to call them directly (and if the doctor does, they won't help the doc, but instead tells them to have me call), then ask me all kinds of questions the doctor has the answers to and I don't. What is the diagnosis, what drugs have been tried and failed, yadayadayada...
Last month, if I submitted a claim for $25, I might have gotten $20 from the insurance company (and your copay would be $5). This month, I submit the same $25 and get only $13 from the insurance company - but your copay stays the same, so I lose money.
Why am I ranting about this? My doctor's office got tired of the crap from my insurance company, and cancelled the contract with them (the insurance wanted to reduce reimbursements by 7% - with inflation higher than it's been in decades, that's a HUGE cut). Now, I'm mid-treatment, and facing the prospect of surgery with little or no coverage from my insurance. Luckily, the office said I still can see the doctor for 60 days, and I also have coverage under my hubby's insurance. But this just pushed me over the edge...
I've said for a long time that insurances are the thorn in my side, but now I'm thinking that it's more like the knife in my back...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

some people.... I swear....

Today, there was this gal who was already ranting up a storm the moment I walked in (I closed today). Being the ultra-observant, responsive, support-my-staff manager that I am, I approached the customer and asked what was going on and if I could help. Turns out Medicaid was denying her methadone script. She was freaking out telling everyone who would listen that she was pregnant and that her withdrawals could kill the baby. In my state, Medicaid only allows two fills of the same drug per calendar month, and this was her third. After some research, I decided we could call and get an override, and told the gal that she should let her doctor know not to write 10 day supplies of anything for her if she's going to be on them long-term. She bitched and moaned the whole time we were contacting medicaid, told me about having it stolen from her when she left her drugs on a picnic table in a park (WHY the hell you would just leave methadone lying around, I'm not sure....) As all this is going on, I see her bouncing a baby on her knee - was it hers, I asked? Nobody knew. hmmmm. She gets her drugs, leaves, and as she leaves, tells her friend that she's never coming to this f-ing pharmacy again. WTF? We just helped you get your fix! Then, not FIVE minutes later, Medicaid calls US and says they noticed many irregularities... Like the story about the picnic table - she told Medicaid that the person who was picking her script up from the pharmacy for her stole it. Like 90 days worth of methadone being filled over the last 30 days in a total of 6 separate pharmacies. I look at her profile, read it all off to the medicaid lady, and we start suspecting that this gal isn't pregnant at all, and this "withdrawal will kill my baby" line is BS. First off, no record at Medicaid of any prenatal care. Second, a script for Plan B (the morning after pill) just 2 months ago. We're beginning to think that she LOOKS pregnant from post partum weight (the baby she was bouncing was less than 6 months old), and she's scamming us all....
Oh how I hate that! And worse yet, if you're successfully scamming me (after all, I did get you your drugs today), at least be NICE to me! You can bet I'll be outing her to her doctor - already left a message for him to call me...

Monday, July 28, 2008

My fault, again...

Had a customer try to blame me for her recent hospitalization today. She said that because I refused to fill her Ambien script (I didn't refuse, her insurance did - it was 2 weeks early, and her plan is one that pays for 30 tablets a month, not one of those that limit 10 or 14 a month) she ended up in the hospital. She went TWO whole nights without Ambien and ended up in the hospital. Now, last time I checked, 2 nights of insomnia was not a medical emergency. But, overdosing on Ambien for the first 2 weeks of the month, then abruptly discontinuing it could cause some nasty withdrawal - maybe that was it. Must have been my fault - I forced her to take all those extra tablets, right???? Whatever....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy happy day!

We've been running short-staffed for a while. There just never seems to be anyone qualified who applies for the tech positions. Then, like magic, I get multiple resumes of highly qualified applicants. One came in today to accept a job offer, and another came by for a preliminary interview - they BOTH rocked! No stupid person could ruin the excitement I got from knowing I'm going to be back at full staff soon....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Drive through pharmacy

So - who's the moron that decided a drive through in a pharmacy was a good idea? Come on, stand up and show yourself - I'd like to throw something at you!
Seriously - drive-throughs are for fast food joints, and having one at a pharmacy invites the people who think things should happen immediately to come to my store.
No, you can't just sit and wait for your script to be filled while you're in the drive through. It's for dropping it off or picking it up - but not all in the same transaction.
No, the drive through doesn't have different hours than the pharmacy - you can't come to the drive through before we open and expect to be helped (we're not a friggin' Jack in the Box!)
No, I'm not your personal shopper. If you want something other than a prescription, you'll have to get your lazy butt out of the car and come in.
No, a box of a hundred syringes won't fit in the drive through tube system. Neither will the 25 scripts you're picking up at once - and I'm not standing here all day to send the tube back and forth with 3 or 4 things each time.
No, you can't expect a heck of a lot of privacy in the drive through. Everything I say to you comes out of that very loud speaker there, so anyone in the next lane, or even just walking by might hear me tell you how to take your Viagra. If you don't want anyone to know what you're getting, then come in the store.
Thanks.
Oh - by the way - I'd also like to throw something at the architect who decided that the drive through station in the pharmacy should be way at the opposite end of the pharmacy from where the majority of work gets done. Could you please stand up, too?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Insurance cards

I'm so tired of people showing up without their insurance cards... Do these people not realize that this is the mode of payment for the prescription they just presented??? Would you go shopping at the mall, not have your Visa or MasterCard, then when you respond "credit" as the cashier asks how you're paying today would you say "I don't have the card with me - can't you just look it up?" NO! Then why do you think I can look up your means of payment???
With the exception of Medicare Part D plans, I can't look up your insurance info - you MUST have your card. (this was the ONE thing the government did right with part D...) Don't get mad at ME because YOU didn't bring it with you...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day before a holiday

I want to post a sign - a really big one, with bright red lettering - in my pharmacy that says "Failure to plan ahead on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine" Except that it seems like 90% of my customers can't read, so it wouldn't do any good...
It was amazing just how many people came in yesterday with PILES of scripts - 5 or 6 per person - expecting them to be done immediately because they were leaving town and in a hurry. Most of these scripts were written about a week ago. We always try to be honest about how long filling the scripts will take, so a lot of the day we were saying it would be an hour or so. "What? THAT long????" Um, yeah... You've got 6 scripts yourself, and I've got 22 people waiting ahead of you... "But I'm leaving town!" Sorry, we'll go as fast as we can...
What we really wanted to say, but exercised remarkable self-control, was "Well, Mr. Dumbass, why didn't you think of that when the doctor wrote these 6 scripts on June 27th instead of waiting til 3pm on July 3rd when your flight leaves at 6pm?"
I gotta find a sign maker....

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stupid criminals

Some forgeries are pretty good, and we miss them until someone points out to us at a later date that the person is known for passing forged prescriptions. Some are more obvious, and others are downright outrageous. We look at them and KNOW the person HAD to be higher than a kite when writing their own script.
Recently, a gal who used to work for a doctor and stole a prescription pad upon her termination from the office presented us with this:
Hydrorodone/APAP 1750/17.50 #80 - 1q46hprn
Soma #80 - 1750/17.50 tid
Xanx 2mg #80 (no directions)
We told her we'd have to call the doctor for the lack of directions on the "Xanx", and she took off. We confirmed with the doctor's office that this was a forgery (like confirmation was necessary? HAHA!) and made a note in her profile, thinking she'd never come back.
Lo and behold, last week, she was high enough to try it again! This time she completely left the strength of the "hydrorodone" off the script, but we didn't tell her we were calling anyone. Idiot stuck around long enough to end up hauled out in handcuffs.
But wait! There's more!
The next day, I get a call from the office manager for the doctor, and she said our stupid criminal had the nerve to call the manager up and ask for help getting out of this legal bind - "Can you call the police and tell them the doctor gave me permission to write my own scripts?"
Yeah. Right. Must have been high again...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yup, my fault - again....

So we get this call from a drug company today. Apparently, one of my customers called the 800 number on the box of her Gynazole, wanting her money back. The company called me and asked if I'd refund the customer if the company sent us a replacement. "What was wrong with it?" I ask. "Nothing, it just didn't work." "No hole in the tube or defective applicator?" "No, it just didn't work" Then, I actually said this out loud to the lady from the drug company - "And this is your and my fault how???" She laughed. I refused to refund the money - had the product had some sort of manufacturers defect, no prob - I'd refund and replace in a heartbeat. But, after reviewing the customer's profile, I came to the conclusion that the doctor keeps misdiagnosing bacterial vaginosis as a standard yeast infection. And THAT is not my problem...
So I've decided that I want refunds on all the pain meds I've had since the end of April - my rotator cuff tear is still there and still hurts....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Diet pills on L & I ????

Yesterday, a lady comes to the window demanding that I re-bill a script to L & I. She had paid cash for it. I look at the profile and see that it's for Xenical (a diet pill). I KNOW that L & I won't cover it (what do you do for a living? Candy taster?) so I tell her I can't do that, because L & I doesn't cover diet pills. "How do you know that if you don't try it?" "Because I do." "Try it anyway" I tell her no - it costs me money to electronically submit a claim - I'm not going to do it if I know DAMN WELL that it won't be covered!
Needless to say, she walked away mad...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crazy people

First, some disclaimers... I don't usually use the term "crazy" to describe those with real mental illness. I'm using it here because it's so much more convenient than specifying the exact mental illness the subject of my story has (often, I can only speculate). And, I don't believe that crazy people are necessarily stupid...

I see a lot of crazy patients. For the most part, they're actually great customers - when they're on the right meds, they tend to be very pleasant and know they need to be on their meds, so they are consistent, loyal customers.
Then, there are the ones who don't take the right meds....
A couple of years ago, a patient with a script for a rarely used psych med came in, and because of the rarity of this drug and his insurance issues, it took us a while to fill his script. He paced in front of the pharmacy for the entire time. After picking up his script, he continued to pace, except now, he was carrying merchandise each time he passed in front of my window. A guitar on one pass, a fishing pole on another, you get the idea. It appeared that he was piling things up in front of the emergency exit around the corner from the pharmacy. I called "security" to try to have him escorted from the store, to no avail. I thought for sure he was going to steal something, so I called management. No luck. Then, crazy guitar-playing fisherman comes to my window and asks where the bathroom is. I point in the general direction and tell him where. Then he turns and walks the opposite way. I looked at my tech and said "What do you wanna bet he's gonna pee in the corner?" Sure enough, he went and pissed all over the pile of merchandise he had placed by the emergency exit... EEWWWWW
Another crazy man had issues with crowds and waiting his turn. He'd come to the drop off window and ask to pick up his script. One of us (this happened multiple times) would say he needed to go to the register - and there was a line of 3 or 4 people - he'd look at the line and walk the other way. After 4 or 5 times of this, he started to get agitated, and it was making me nervous. So, I contacted management - or, shall I say attempted to contact management - to get him out of my pharmacy. I was using the walkie talkie for this contact, and left it turned on to hear (hopefully) the response. Instead, I hear the dressing room attendant calling a manager to come quickly because a customer was taking his clothes off OUTSIDE the dressing rooms. "What do ya wanna bet that's our crazy guy?" I asked my tech. Sure enough... He was almost completely nude by the time management arrived.

So - how does this post about crazy people fit in a blog about stupid ones??? Notice the common thread - "other managers" who don't respond until it's too late.....

Other managers

No, I'm not talking other pharmacy managers. We are all cut from the same cloth, and judging from the plethora of pharmacy blogs out there, I'd guess that no matter which company you work for, it's always the "same shit, different day".
The stupid people I'm talking about are the managers from other departments within the store. They have NO clue about what it takes to run a pharmacy - not from a procedural standpoint, or a legal one. For example....
The phone calls I get multiple times a week that start out with "You need to come back here right now and [do whatever inane task they think is important]" This could be to pick up a delivery in receiving, fill out some form in personnel, or correct a problem in invoicing. Whatever. I usually respond with a resounding "No", since I can't legally leave the pharmacy until another pharmacist is there. Then, they all gather in the break room at some later time (usually when one of my techs is there) and talk about what a bitch I am...
Or when the Asset Protection (loss prevention, security, whatever title you choose) manager asks me to notify him if a certain kleptomaniac comes in, knowing that she and her husband are also patients of mine. She's standing in line at my register, so I call the AP office-no answer. Text message from my cell to the manager - no answer. Overhead PA with "code" phrase to get AP over to the pharmacy - no response. Call on the walkie talkie for management to come to the pharmacy - no answer. Call the manager's office - no answer. Give up and decide that I don't care if she takes off with another $700 worth of electronics - it doesn't affect MY bonus...
Just before inventory, being told by a manager to delete all the items that we've manually entered into the system. Usually special order products - we're supposed to keep our customers happy, right? We order junk that we don't usually stock and then the people never come pick it up. I tell the manager I can't delete the items, because the product is still on the shelf. "You have to" OK - and just how are we supposed to count these items on inventory day???? I don't delete them, as a matter of fact, I spend 5 hours on my day off re-entering the ones that these stupid other managers have already deleted. Then inventory day rolls around.... half of the items have been deleted again.
So to all the "other managers" - until you go to pharmacy school, then spend a couple of years learning to balance all the management crap you expect me to take care of with filling prescriptions for 10 hours a day, DON'T TELL ME HOW TO DO MY JOB! Take a look at the P&L every month and look at the millions of dollars my department contributes every year and just accept that I know what I'm doing and get out of my face....

(not that I really think any "other manager" is reading a pharmacy blog, because the world revolves around grocery, garden center, toys, housewares, or some other department...)

What a name...

My first thought when I saw this child's name was "Do these parents really want their child to turn out this way?"

Daeviante

A little too close to "deviant" for my taste...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Can you READ?

It's astonishing how many people can't figure out which part of the pharmacy to go to for which purpose. For one, there are signs - "Drop Off", "Pick Up", "Consultation". Yes, consultation is a big word, but drop off and pick up are pretty much 1st grade reading. But, the most obvious indication, even for those who are completely illiterate is the cash register. Ummmm, if you haven't even given us the paper to fill the script yet, why would you go to the cash register? Better yet, why would you get all pissy and act so inconvenienced when the cashier directs you to the drop off window???

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My corneas are burned...

It amazes me what people wear in public. Sometimes, the old adage "If you've got it, flaunt it" is OK, but some people have taken it too far. Take today's hoochie momma... Having at least a G cup must make it difficult to not be noticed, but wearing a super low cut top, then bringing more attention to these monster boobs by tattooing them - "Baby" on the right, "Doll" on the left - is taking it a bit far. Funny thing is, she had NO idea how ridiculous she looked...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Karma...

I LOVE it when mean, rude, nasty, stupid customers get what they deserve.
Little background first. Annual inventory was this week. It takes hours and hours of preparation, then the inventory itself throws a wrench into the workflow. It would be easier to just shut down for the day, in my opinion (which never counts).
Gal calls in the evening. Script is only partially ready. "We have a week supply ready for you, but the rest won't be ready until tomorrow" "I was told it would be here today!" "Well, it probably is, but because inventory isn't done yet, I can't open my deliveries yet - we'll have it ready tomorrow though." "Then give my script back - I'll go somewhere else" OK. We cancel the fill, dig through prescription files, and set it aside for her. She calls back... "Never mind, I'll just take the week supply and come back tomorrow" "Well, you said you wanted the script back, so we already cancelled the fill, and will have to start over if you want it. That will be about 2 hours." Serves the bitch right....
This one involves a cranky man who demanded that my tech "go get" me after I'd gone home. She wouldn't even call me - I had done inventory prep til midnight the night before, came back at 5am, then stayed 11+ hours. Cranky man had apparently bitched about a price one time a while back and said his friend the pharmacist told him it cost the pharmacy much less. So, I had price matched for him (only after getting permission from my district manager because it's a controlled substance and we're not supposed to match on those!). He wants script filled, but New RPh doesn't know about price matching deal, tech won't call me at home. Cranky man calls the next day to chew me out. After listening a while, I offer to strike a deal - I'll make sure every one knows about our price match for him, IF he never uses foul language in my pharmacy again. He demands that tech and New RPh apologize. I say "I'm not going to make them apologize for following policy" So he says he's going to transfer his scripts, AND notify the local media of how horrible I am. OK. Have a nice day. Other pharmacy calls for transfer - won't tell me their price even after I relay the whole story. Whatever. Now comes the sweet revenge.... We call to get price quote later - other pharmacy's price is $11 higher than our ORIGINAL price! Serves the bastard right...

More making it fun...

My new pharmacist is a HOOT!!! I will strangle him if he ever decides to leave....
Near the end of yet another crappy day, one routinely obnoxious old lady is waiting for her script. As she stands in the waiting area, she's telling all the other waiting customers how she's sick of this pharmacy because she always has to wait and that she's been waiting an hour and a half. New RPh asks her name - "Mrs. H" He looks at her and says "You can't be waiting for Mrs. H's prescription. She dropped it off at 5, it's not yet 6 - that's less than an hour, and you said you've been here an hour and a half, so you can't POSSIBLY be Mrs. H. What was your name again?"
I was gone for the day by then, my tech called me at home to tell me the story, I almost peed myself laughing...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Making it fun

Sometimes, to keep from going insane, I have to use these stupid people as a form of entertainment. Here are a few ways...
When someone brings in a forged prescription, call the cops. It's fun when they're stupid enough to stick around until the cops show up and arrest them. It's REALLY fun when the arresting officer is one we refer to as "Deputy Hottie" WooHOO!
Give them stupid answers to their stupid questions - with a straight face, of course - then watch the confusion on their faces. For example: "Your insurance isn't covering this drug, but it's only $4 if you'd like to just pay for it." "But I don't want to pay for it. What are my options?" "Um, pay for it or go without." (It's Claritin - I'm not telling anyone to go without a heart medication...) Look on face ... ??????
Or, to the person cussing up a storm in the waiting area, whether it's directed at me or not ... "Excuse me, but I don't tolerate foul language in my pharmacy. You'll need to take your prescription somewhere else" I find this amusing since I know my language "skills" - I could make a trucker (longshoreman, whoever you imagine being foul-mouthed) blush. Half the time the cusser tries to tell me they weren't cussing... Yeah, right - I know what the f-word means....
Or, the lady I referred to in an earlier post who was reading me the riot act because she couldn't find pasta - "Eat rice."
There's more, but I just realized I'll be late for work if I don't get going now.... Gotta be there in time for the person who asks through the gate if we're open yet, after all.....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Names....

I consider myself to be an observer of cultural and socio-economic trends. One of these trends is to name a child something outlandish in an attempt to be "unique". In my opinion, there's unique, and then there's stupid. Some names I've seen recently:

Surrenahdi - presumably, this is pronounced the same as "serenity"?

Twins named Donte and Dante - and mom gets mad because we can't tell the difference when she calls in for refills...

Neiljohn - a combo of dad's middle and first names, maybe??
Anjohnneil - Neiljohn's sister (seriously....)

Kayshevona, Kaytreona, and Kaysheona - sisters, thankfully not triplets....

Blaze - that's a name I'd give a horse, personally (or maybe a superhero?)

Ok - people can name their kids whatever they want. The real stupidity here is when the "unique" parents get pissed off at those of us who can't pronounce the names. Hey - you're the one that invented the name - don't get mad at me!

(The REALLY stupid thing is that spell check didn't highlight ANY of these names!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's not ALL bad...

Lest you think I only deal with stupid people, causing me to hate my job, I thought it would be nice to deviate from my standard stupid people posts and let you know that they're not ALL bad. As a matter of fact, I have some customers that are so wonderful that they make up for many of the stupid, mean ones.
There's "Gramma" - I mentioned once that she looks like my late grandmother, so now, when she calls, she identifies herself as "Gramma" if I answer the phone. She even crocheted a set of potholders for me!
People with cute kids - even though I have no desire to have any of my own, I usually enjoy other people's children. One customer regularly hands her baby across the counter to me. Nothing like a cuddle from a way cute baby to improve my day! And the customer whose kindergartner insisted that mom bring her to the pharmacy on Halloween so she could show me her costume.
The parental types - I have one customer who was ready to whip out his pocket knife to protect me from a particularly belligerent customer. And his wife loves to bring in baked goodies for us. Then there's the two who had a rather loud discussion about which one would get to kiss the bride first just before my wedding (in a fatherly way, of course).
Then, there's the joke tellers. I've got a couple customers who are always good for a dirty joke - and if you blush when they tell them, the next jokes will be even dirtier!
So, if I can have at least one GREAT customer come in every day, it makes up for all the horrible ones. Now I just need to figure out how to schedule them so it works out that way....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mean people

I think mean people are just stupid people who think that being mean, rude, and generally nasty somehow hides their stupidity. For example.
The jackass who makes my cashier cry by making some racist comment about her accent. Dude - this is America - we ALL have accents of one kind or another - if you don't like it, stay under the rock you came out from!
The lady who walks up and interrupts my conversation with another customer because she has to know where the Breathe Right strips are RIGHT NOW! (yo, beeyatch, you have one stuck to your nose already - you can wait a second, OK?) Then, she proceeds to call ME rude because I make her wait a second. WTF????
The woman who comes in shortly after our power comes back on (some bozo drove a car into a power pole an hour ago), proceeds to throw a fit because her script's not ready. We tell her that we were in the process of working on it when the power went out, and it got stuck in the system - we're fixing the problem now and it will be about 20 more minutes. She walks over to her companion and proceeds to go off about how all the people working here are stupid because we can't get her stuff ready in time for her to pick up. Let me guess - YOU'RE the idiot who hit the power pole???
Then - saving the best for last - the one who's mean to the wrong person. The gal who's friend was just arrested for altering a prescription for a controlled substance that decides it's a good idea to cuss out the sheriff... Oh yeah that will definitely get the deputy to unlock those cuffs!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stupid phone calls part 2...

At LEAST 3 times a day I get one of these calls:
Ring ring..
"Thank you for calling my pharmacy, I'm the pharmacist, how can I help you?"
"Hi. I'm calling to see if my prescription is ready. See, 'cause my doctor's office said they would call it in two days ago, but I called yesterday and it wasn't ready, so I called my doctor again, and they said they would call it in this morning, and I'm completely out of it and I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow and I really need it filled today, so could you check to see if my doctor called?"
Dead silence. I wait a bit before responding - some days longer than others, if I feel like testing the moron on the other end of the line. Occasionally, when I wait exceptionally long, the caller will say "Are you still there?" but more often than not, there's silence on the other end as well. I can't bear it any longer...
"I can't check if your prescription's ready if I don't know who you are...."
Note to customers - IDENTIFY YOURSELF!!!!! I'm not a mind-reader....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Teenagers...

'Nuff said. No? You want more? OK.
There's this law that prohibits distribution of controlled substances to minors. Meaning, if you're not over 18, even if the prescription is for you, I can't give you a controlled substance. I am the one who gets punished if I do - something like $10,000 and up to 5 years in jail.
So, there's this young lady (and I use the term lady loosely) who comes in with scripts for some pain reliever (I want to say Vicodin since it's so popular, but it could have been something else), and she's only 16 years old. I tell her we'll fill it, but an adult will have to pick it up for her. She says she is an adult. No, I mean someone over 18. She storms away.
Maybe half an hour later, she shows up (with some pimply-faced punk tagging along) and wants to pick up her drugs. I remind her that an adult has to pick it up. "Why?" "Because it's state law" "That's bullshit - I don't believe you." So, I take the time to go online, print out the page from the pharmacy law book that contains the law, and show it to her. It uses the term "minor".... "I'm not a minor" "Yes, you are - you're not 18 yet" "I'm not a minor, though" I think a bit and say "Well, if you're an emancipated minor, bring me a copy of your legal papers so I can document it, and I'll give you your script" "But the stuff is for ME!" "I realize that - but I get in trouble if I give it to you because you're not 18. I don't know you, and even if I did, I don't like you enough to go to jail for you." And this is where it gets good.... "But I AM an adult because I have a baby!"
I could have said so much - but exercised remarkably good self control - things like... No, having a baby at 16 doesn't mean you're an adult, it just means you're easy....
Instead, I just shook my head, looked at her punk boyfriend (I assumed he was the babydaddy...) and asked if he was 18. "Yes." I look back at teen mom and say "He can pick up the meds for you if he shows me ID - but you can't - having a baby is not in the legal definition of adult"
And the best part of this whole stupid teenager story??? She came back a week later for another script, and we went through the WHOLE THING AGAIN!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nurses....

So often, when a patient refuses to allow me to counsel them regarding a new prescription, I hear "I'm an RN" as the reason they don't need/want drug information. Every single time, I get flashbacks of all the dumb nurses I have ever encountered, like....
When I worked in an emergency room, I overheard a nurse going over discharge instructions with a patient in the next bay (cubicle? - whatever you call the area of the room divided by curtains). "This prescription is for ibuprofen - it's your muscle relaxant" I challenge any of you to find that description on the label of your Advil or Motrin IB bottle. Leave the drug info to the professionals, ma'am....
When I was a patient in an emergency room, I had a nurse tell me that I had to have two separate injections because the drugs weren't compatible in one syringe. When I informed her that the products are commercially available premixed in one syringe, she actually argued with me (after I told her I was a pharmacist). Needless to say, I'll never go to that ER again, at least not while I'm conscious!
At least once a day at work, I'll listen to a voice mail from a nurse who missed her calling as an auctioneer. When prescriptions are left on voice mail, we must write the info down as we listen. It never fails - there's at least one nurse that makes me rewind the voice mail half a dozen times, only to have to call the office because I can't get the information correct. Then, when I say that the reason that I'm calling is because she was speaking too fast on the voice mail, all I get is a giggle...
And then, there are the voice mail prescriptions that can't be figured out because the nurse leaves out vital info - like the patient's name, the drug name, the doctors name (or the spelling of it - like I would be able to guess the spelling of a 10-letter name that only has one vowel?), or even worse - the office phone number so I can call back to get the information Ms. Bonehead left out.
And the worst - the ones that are so dumb that they don't realize what they've said or done is dumb and get all pissy when I try to clarify... "No, I didn't get that fax" "I KNOW I sent it!" Well, you must be right then, because I LOVE taking the time out of my totally boring day to call and argue with you over something that's in my hand right now - I'm just having fun making you yell at me.....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Doctors are human, too.....

Which means there are plenty of stupid ones!
I know, most people think their doctors are the most intelligent, god-like creatures on the planet. But I know the truth. Don't get me wrong, there are good, even great, doctors out there - I know some personally. But then, there are the idiots, the ones who...
Write prescriptions for drug strengths that don't exist. And the patients who argue that the doctor is right are just as stupid. "You can have your metformin in 500, 750, 850, or 1000mg - but not 875 - I'll call the doctor" "But the doctor said I HAVE to have that amount!" "Well, it dosn't exist" "Yes it does - the doctor said so!" Oh right - it does exist - let me pull it outa my ass real quick for ya....
Write prescriptions for drugs that haven't been manufactured in years. Suprax tablets? Yeah, I remember them. Drug of choice to treat clap. They stopped making them about 7 years ago. Doc? You may want to actually ATTEND a continuing education class at the next conference rather than playing golf....
Write directions that are impossible to follow. No, you can't cut a capsule in half. I recall walking into my mother's kitchen a number of years ago, only to witness her attempt at cutting a capsule. Before I could get "Don't do that" out of my mouth, the powder from inside the capsule was all over the kitchen. "Why did you do that, mom?" "Well, the doctor said if I freeze it first, I can cut the capsule in half." Note to doctors - if you freeze powder, all you get is cold powder.
Refuse to follow the law when writing prescriptions. There's all kinds of laws regarding prescriptions. So many, that I probably don't even know them. But, a few are so basic and clear, even the dumbest doctor should be able to get it right. Wrong. No cursive handwriting - stupid, waste-of-my-time law, but with good intentions - to get the doctors to write legibly. Some doctors have better cursive than they do printing, some have totally bad writing no matter what. But when I call, tell them the law, ask to clarify the prescription, and get "That IS my printing", I want to ask for their third grade teacher's name so I can chew her out! The DEA# has to be on the prescription for a controlled substance. Pretty basic - but when I call to ask for the number, the office refuses to give it out over the phone - then we have to fax. I point out that it should have been on the script in the first place, and get "I never write it on prescriptions for security reasons - you should have it on file" Doc? If you don't want to write out your DEA#, then stop writing for Vicodin....


Next up, dumb nurses....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sidelined by an injury

Sorry for not posting anything entertaining lately, but I've been suffering with shoulder pain for the past week or so.
As it turns out, this injury has provided me with a little bit of inspiration for this blog!
First - the correct way to inquire about a person's injury. You can ask me "What happened to your shoulder?" or something to that effect, but if you say "Did you do something to your shoulder?" I may just flippantly reply that I'm wearing a sling because I LIKE trying to open prescription vials with one hand!
Second - what's up with doctors? I tell the guy that my shoulder hurts, and the note he gives me to get me out of work for a couple of days says that I strained my NECK. Then, after the meds he gives me for my strained neck don't help my shoulder, and I go back to the office, he and the nurses all look at me like I'm a drug-crazed freak. So tempted to shake my keys at them and say "These unlock the pharmacy - if I wanted drugs illegally, I have the means..."
Finally found a doc with a brain, pain is improving, life may just get better soon.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stupid phone calls

I probably deal with as many stupid people on the phone as I do in person, but two calls in my entire career stand out as the worst (best?).
I'll start with number two. It falls under the "Just because you know my name" category.
My name is on a sign on the wall outside the pharmacy, plaques on the wall inside, my nametag, business cards, etc... This invites a lot of idiots who think that just because they know my name that I have to be the one they talk to. For everything. And I do mean everything. My techs are getting pretty good at screening these calls for me, but occasionally one slips through. This one started out "Hi, Mrs Pharmacist, this is Jane. I'm calling beacuse I need to get a blender and I...." I stopped listening at that point. Hello? Why on earth would you call your pharmacist about a blender???
The all-time stupidest (is that even a word? Well, it is now - I like to coin my own now and then) call - actually, multiple calls from the same bonehead - was many years ago when I worked in a hospital. I was on the night shift, and a man called and asked for the pharmacist. I said "Speaking. How can I help you?" He says "No, I want the male pharmacist." I was the only pharmacist there, and told him such. He proceeded to go on and on about how many female pharmacists there were and asked me why that was. "I don't know. How can I help you?" Then the call got really weird - "Well, there are still more male pilots than female pilots, aren't there?" I decided that the call was stopping there, and told him I was hanging up unless he had a pharmacy question - he hung up first. But then, persistent little idiot that he was, continued to call back and give me the same speech every hour or so. After four or five of these calls (getting shorter and shorter - I started to recognize his voice and would just hang up) - he had to get the last word in. Phone rings. I answer. All I hear is a man screaming at the top of his lungs "More men pharmacists!" and a click.
Okey dokey. Now we've established that there is stupid, and then there's just plain crazy...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

They don't teach that in pharmacy school...

I'd say, in general, that pharmacists are a pretty intelligent group. But, there are some things we don't know (and I for one, freely admit to what I don't know). Stuff that they didn't teach us in pharmacy school. Veterinary medicine is one of these things.
I know of some pretty good websites for info, and just as a pet owner (four lovely four-legged "fur kids") there are things I have learned from my own vet. But it never ceases to amaze me when a customer gets all pissy because I can't tell them how to treat their animal and refer them to a vet instead.
Yesterday, a man comes up and asks what to give his dog for diarrhea. Well, there can be many causes of diarrhea in dogs (just as in humans), and since animals metabolize drugs differently than people, I suggest to him to see his vet for evaluation and treatment. He yells at me about how he refuses to pay 150 bucks to treat a case of diarrhea. Then he goes to the section with the diarrhea meds (I like to call it the butt and gut aisle) and spends about 15 minutes looking at stuff, picks a product and leaves.
Even though I am a real animal lover - did I already mention my own 4 pets?- I halfway hoped he had picked something that would kill his poor little pooch just to put the thing out of the misery of having an idiot owner.
Note to customers - If the pharmacist says they don't know, and refers you to a doctor or vet, don't be an idiot and just decide on your own what to do!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sorry, we don't stock that in the pharmacy....

Unless you go to a small, mom-and-pop type of pharmacy, chances are, the pharmacy staff has no control over what merchandise is carried in other departments of the store. That doesn't stop the stupid from blaming us for it though....
A while back, one of my regular customers was picking up her scripts, and decided I was to blame because she couldn't find the pasta. She's normally a rather pleasant lady, but this hidden pasta had her in a rage! I politely explained that much of the food section had been recently moved around, so I couldn't tell her exactly which aisle, but surely, it was over there. She continued to holler at me, so I finally said "I wish I could help you, but we've never stocked pasta in the pharmacy." Now completely red in the face, she screamed "What am I supposed to do?!" I put the most serious look on my face that I could manage and looked her square in the eye and said "Eat rice."
Another customer came to the pharmacy and yelled at me about the store no longer carrying the right brand of yarn. I told her it wasn't my department, but she could express her concerns to customer service or to the manager of the department. She said "I already did - I just wanted you to know that this is making me move my prescriptions to another pharmacy because YOU stopped carrying my yarn!" Fine. But the last time I checked, the local yarn store didn't have a pharmacy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Does it LOOK like we're open?

Webster's dictionary defines "closed" as "not open". I see many, many customers who need to buy a dictionary....
Most pharmacists that I know arrive at work about half an hour before opening for the day. We run reports, listen to voicemail, fill prescriptions that have been called into the automated refill system during the night - things to prepare for the day.
Not a day goes by where I don't have at least one person come to my pharmacy before business hours and ask if we're open yet. Let's see... Door's closed, gate's closed, lights are off - does it LOOK like we're open?
The ultimate stupid person shouts to me through the closed gate - "Are you open?" I say, "No - we open at 9" Dummy shouts again (gate has holes in it - no need to shout, really) "Can I drop off my prescription anyway?" Again, "No - we open at 9" More shouting - "How about if I just shove it under the door?" I'm starting to feel like a recording - "No - we open at 9" Mr. Brilliant tries again - "What if I go through the drive-through?" I don't want to say it again, but I do - "No - we open at 9" He tries one last time - "What if I fold it up and stick it through the hole in the gate?" I'm getting fed up - "I'm not going to say it again - NO - we open at 9" One last shout from him - "Well, you don't have to be a bitch about it!"
Well, I may be a bitch, but at least I'm not stupid....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I've been inspired!

After reading the blog of my "friendly neighborhood pharmacist" (fillmysubscription.blogspot.com) I was inspired to create a spin off. I, too, am a pharmacist with many hilarious tales from behind the counter.

However, I decided to focus mainly on the stupid people I encounter every day. I'm not talking about the average Joe who does or says something they later regret - we've all thought to ourselves "Wow that was dumb, I can't believe I did that!"
I'm talking about the REALLY dumb ones that leave me shaking my head, wondering how they even found their way to the pharmacy in the first place!

So, stay tuned, I'm sure you'll be shaking your head, too....