The first of the month is always super stressful for pharmacists. Not only are we usually busy, but it seems like everyone saves their shit/drama to explode on us. If you think that I’m a callous asshole (and obviously are not a pharmacist because if you were you’d understand) then read on and maybe it’ll give you a bit of insight as to why not only myself but all pharmacists either drink or are on antipsychotics.
First thing in the morning, I have to do the backlog of call-ins from the answering mac-
Phone rings.. Pharmacist on line 1. Mrs Jones needs all of her regular medications refilled. She wont give any of the numbers to any of the clerks, will not give you the numbers, says “you know what I normally get” and she wants them delivered. She mumbles like she has marbles in her mouth as the answering machine is blaring in the background because you forgot to pause it when you grabbed the phone.
-hine. There are about 15 Rx’s on the machine, and after playing each about 4 times you think you can understand what they want. You write down everything and start to fill them as people start to mosy around the store. Vicodin, Soma, Vicodin, Soma, Valium, Vicodin, Soma you fill and fill and-
Pharmacist line 3.. Dr Dumbfuck’s high school dropout receptionist is trying to sound out amitryptline but it sounds like amultryptillyinyling. She cant make out the strength so she has to-
Pharmacist out front for a question. Some woman is bawling in front of you asking for her somas early because her grandbaby died and she has to leave for texas RIGHT NOW. You tell her that you’ll be right with her as she gets pissy and yells and says that she has to leave RIGHT NOW. You pull up her profile to see a nice array of Vicodin/Valium/Soma with a huge note that says “NO EARLY REFILLS PER MD”. You tell her that you really can’t refill it early as she throws a fit that would make 2 year old proud right in a store full of people making you look like a complete asshole because HER COUSIN DIED AND YOU WONT FILL HER NARCOTICS EARLY. You’re the only one who caught that her story changed half way through.
-ask the doctor for clarification. You wait on hold trying to hold back the urge to scream at this ignorant non-english speaking twat but the Doctor is one of your heavy writers so you just bite your toung-
Pharmacist on line 4. Dr Smith is on the line. You tell your clerk to hang on line 3 while you talk to Dr Smith on Line-4. He wants Wellbutrin XR 75 and manages to hang up before you can tell him that strength doesn’t exist.
The phone gets thrown at you from your tech who is waiting on line 3 from you with Dr Dumbfuck giving you both barrels because you didnt understand his fucking daughter who must of just gotten off of the boat from India. You make some backhanded smart-ass remark about being sorry for caring for patient safety and the horrendous idea of filling the correct medication and hang up on him.
-fill. (still with me? Good!) You wonder if any of your patients are on any blood pressure medications or just narcotics. You put the calendar you have right by your workstation in front of your monitor so you can count the days to see if people are due for their refills. Notes such as “Wants to see if she can get early” or “Requesting early fill going out of town” litter your stacks of refill call-in requests that your clerks relentlessly place up for you to process. Obviously you know the answers to these early fill questions already, but you pull up the numbers just so you dont put your foot in your mouth later on.
The more you process, the more the stack grows. Your techs are a flurry of counting awesomeness as the printer churns out the labels like they are going out of style. Wellpoint goes down, and your entire pill churning operation decides to start to nosedive as you make a stack of Rx’s to bill later when Wellpoint comes back up.
You take a few deep breaths to try to keep the wave of panic from destroying your day as your tech scratches your back in a half-ass comforting way-
Pharmacist Line 2…. Its Mrs Jones.. Mrs Jones got her delivery, and WHY IN THE HELL DID YOU SEND HER LISINOPRIL. HER DOCTOR TOOK HER OFF OF THIS LAST WEEK AND LIKE HELL SHE IS PAYING THE $1 COPAY FOR THIS. YOU TAKE THIS BACK RIGHT NOW AND SHE CANT BELIEVE YOU SENT THIS OUT *click*. Life just got a little bit worse, you didn’t even get to yell at her to call in the Rx’s numbers next time and this shit wouldn’t of happened.
Pharmacist requested out front rings throughout the pharmacy. A mother does not know what 1.0mL means on the TriVitFlor (for those who are NOT pharmacist/techs, TVF has a dropper that has 1 mark on it. 1.0mL). You are walking back to your station as your tech screams at you to check off the counter-full of Rx’s filled so they can be put-
Pharmacist Line 3! Its Mrs Jones again, she wants to know why her copays went up from last month. You balance the phone on your ear as you try to check off the Rx’s on the counter so your techs can continue to work. Mrs Jones is screaming at you like you are some sort of monkey at the zoo flinging poo at her. You run to the computer to find her copays have not changed in 2 years. You pray for either your death or hers.
You try to work on things throughout the day to have customers scream at you from across the counter as if it is their personal pharmacy. They get pissy because they are going “on vacation” and need their shit RIGHT NOW. You feel less and less like a professional and more and more like a fucking vicodin dealing slave.
You’ll feel anger towards your fellow man, that how someone that stupid can continue to pop out kids as if they have no idea how they are being generated. You’ll feel disgusted at the healthcare system and allowing people who contribute nothing continue to further their own genetic legacy. You bust your ass and are treated like shit so these people can live a “good life” without having to work one honest day, and they have no problem cracking the whip over your head for not counting out their valium faster.
The day goes on, you almost have a breakdown. You dont feel like eating lunch because you are so stressed out. Your techs try to give you some comfort and your clerks try to handle the brunt of the insanity of the public coming in but eventually the walls crumble. After your day is done, you sit there alone in the empty pharmacy wondering why in the hell you went into this profession, where we went wrong, and how you can do this again. You stand up, knees aching and back tingling and make your way to your car. You sit at home and prepare yourself to do the same thing in the morning.
Ask any pharmacist out there who works retail, and they will agree that its EXACTLY like this. Pharmacy is a interruption based profession. You have no time to actually concentrate and work on something from start to finish in an environment that fosters good thinking. You have people screaming at you, demanding things, bitching and blaming you for stuff that you have no control over (like copays and not-covered drugs). You went to school to learn really complex shit to use in an environment where the only 5 min’s of peace is spent sitting on the toilet.
However, take heart that there are others like you. Others that are in the same boat and feel the same way about work. I, for one, take some comfort in that.