Saturday, September 27, 2008

Don't I get a discount???

A woman came in to pick up her precription for 90 capsules of generic Dyazide. Our company's price on this prescription was roughly $10.

"Excuse me. Don't I get a discount?" said the woman.

"What kind of discount?" I inquired.

"I'm a physician! Isn't there some kind of physician discount?" said the woman. It was at this time that I noticed she was the doctor who wrote for herself the prescription in question.

"No. There are no discounts. That price is set at the corporate level, and that's the same price for everyone," I informed her.

The woman didn't protest any further. She wasn't particularly pleased, but she didn't make a big issue of it. However, the nerve of the woman to even ask for a discount simply because she's a physician really ticks me off. Does that mean I can go to a doctor's office and ask for a "Pharmacist's Discount" on my next appointment? It's the same kind of reasoning. I mean, what exactly does being a physician have to do with the pricing at our pharmacy.

The really sad thing is that this woman probably makes $250,000 per year, and $10 is too much for her to pay for a 90 day prescription. She's one of the privelaged members of society that CAN actually easily afford to pay for her prescription medication. If anything... We should be charging her more to make up for some of the money we lose on Medicaid reimbursements.

I think this says something about society as a whole...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I want my prescriptions NOW regardless of whether the doctor made a mistake or not.

A customer came in today and dropped off a prescription. Immediately after looking at it, I realized the doctor had made a mistake (the prescription simply didn't make any sense as he wrote it). I told her that we'd have to call the doctor's office to clarify the prescription, and I told her to check back with us in about 20 minutes to see if we'd gotten the clarification. She agreed and walked away to do some shopping.

I went to call the doctor's office, but of course, I couldn't actually speak to a human being. Therefore, I had to leave a message. Twenty minutes later, the woman came back looking to pick up her prescription. I told her I couldn't get in touch with the doctor and had to leave a message. Then, she flipped out. She demanded her prescription back saying that she needs it right away and will take it to another pharmacy. I tried to explain to her that no other pharmacy would be able to fill the prescription because it was written incorrectly. She didn't care. She stormed out literally stomping her feet like a 4-year old.

What is wrong with people?????? I tell her that the doctor made a mistake, and she gets pissed off at us? Sure, I could have taken a guess as to what the doctor actually wanted, but it would have been just a guess? Would she have been happy if I simply guessed at it? What if I guessed wrong? I guess it doesn't matter to her though. Apparently her time was more important to her than her personal safety.

At times like that, I wish I could whip out a contract that would absolve us from any wrong doing if we filled the prescription incorrectly and have the patient sign it before dispensing. Then after she signed, I could hand her whatever I felt like and say with a smile, "Have a nice day. I hope you don't die!"

Actually... I kind of hope people like that do die.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Searching for Things to Write About

This blog was really easy to write for the first year. I had a lifetime worth of pent up emotions and frustrations that I needed to get out. In addition, I was just going through a very busy and stressful time at work, so I had plenty of pharmacy things to write about. Lately, I just don't have much to say.

Here's the problem: I tend to write from extreme emotions. If I'm pissed off at something, I can write 10 pages without breaking a sweat. If I'm feeling depressed, the words just flow from me. It's the same thing when I'm really happy about something (as I was over the possibilities that eHarmony Girl presented). Right now, I'm kind of middle of the road. I'm not feeling down at all, but I'm really not soaring with happiness. I guess my life is just kind of in this holding pattern now where I'm waiting for the next big thing to come up.

I'm finding it especially hard to write about pharmacy because work has been pretty great lately. Two years ago, we were really the only pharmacy in town, so EVERYONE came to us. We were crazy busy (for the kind of store we are), and our help (technicians and clerks specifically) was terrible. Within the last year, 2 major competitors opened up within a half mile from us, and our script volume has dropped roughly 20%. Amazingly, our department hours haven't been cut yet, so it's been pretty stress free. Two years ago, we were busy every second of the day. We never had time to take a break. Now, we often stand around looking at each other trying to figure out what to do. Of course, the company isn't pleased with all the business we lost, but it sure has made my job a lot better. Plus, when they inevitably do cut our hours, I have seniority in the store (thanks to a major staff overhaul over a year ago in which I was the only pharmacist who stayed at the store). I don't have to worry about being transferred or having to pick up hours elsewhere. I'm in a really good position.

Long time readers (those readers who followed me before I jumped off the deep end and then came back with few things to write about), will remember I used to write about Betty (AKA the Horrible Pharmacist). Well, she's still in my store, and she's still up to her same old antics. However, the decreased work load makes it a lot easier to put up with her. Additionally, since I made it a point not to write so specifically about the people I work with anymore, even if she really pisses me off, I can't write about it.

As for my personal life... I've opened up a bit and made some new friends, which I'm pretty happy about. However, I ended up getting involved in a little bit of drama because of it, but it's really not something worse discussing. I've finally made it to the point where I'm not bothered at all by what my ex does or doesn't do with her life. In fact, she doesn't even live in the same state as me anymore. She moved in with her boyfriend who she's been dating for nearly 2 years. Her boyfriend IS that dumbass that I thought it was. This bothered me at first, but not anymore. She sent me this long email out of the blue last week, which explained, in detail, everything that happened to her and all she'd been through since we broke up. There was a lot I didn't know, which shocked me a bit. She also described how her new boyfriend treats her, and he doesn't seem like such a bad guy after all. Therefore, I don't really have a problem with any of that. I FINALLY got closure after 2.5 years.

Sooooo.... Work is good. My personal life is OK, even if it's still pretty boring. I really don't have much to do on my days off. This is the last day of a 4 day weekend for me, and I didn't really do anything except to go to some terrible party for a few hours on Saturday night. Therefore, I still complain about being bored, but at least I'm not sitting around all day lamenting on the past anymore... It actually feels odd to say that because I've spent so much of the last 2.5 years lamenting on the past. I'm finally ready to move forward. I just wish I had come to this state sooner, so I didn't waste all that time. Oh well... Can't change that now.

There's not really much of a point to this post. I guess I'm just explaining why I'm not writing much anymore, and why, when I do write, the tone is different than before.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

White Coat Update

I apparently have won the battle.

Our DM came to our store earlier this week for an issue entirely unrelated to this whole white coat thing, and he didn't care if we wore the coats or not. Therefore, the wonderful store manager (note it wasn't a pharmacy manager) who chastised me last week for not wearing a coat can go blow himself.

The best thing is that my pharmacy manager also never wears a white coat. In fact, he hasn't worn one in 20 years, and he refuses to wear it too. Now the store has two pharmacists openly defying the new dress code, and there's nothing they can do abou it.

It's really nice to be able to stick it to your store managers every once in a while. I mean, I know it's a relatively insignificant thing, but I'm sick of them determining pharmacy policy. I'm sick of them overruling our authority. I'm sick of them handing out gift cards to asshole customers who complain simply because they don't get their way on something they're obviously wrong about.

It's just a small victory, but it still feels good.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No one to talk to

Do you ever have those times when something happens in your life, and you just feel like you need to talk to someone about it to try and make some sense of it? That's how I feel right now, but of course in my never-ending solitude, I have no one to talk to. I don't really want to write here what it's all about. I just wanted to talk through this feeling.

It's frustrating, and it eats at you. It's not even like it's this life changing thing that just happened, but it's something that made me think differently about a lot of things that happened over the last few years. It won't affect my future, but it changed my perception of the past, and I just feel like I need to talk it out. I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm not happy. It's just this anxious, frustrated feeling.

Actually... it feels a lot like embarrassment. My face is flushed, and my heart is beating quicker. I feel very warm and uncomfortable. Maybe it is embarrassment. Embarrassment over needing a friend and having no one to turn to.

That's the thing that scares me about my life. That's the thing I struggle with. Granted, I don't like being single, but it's not too bad. I can manage it. It's the lack of companionship of any kind that really bothers me. I have friends now, but I'm not close enough to them to talk about a lot of things. What's really kind of sad is that the person who knows the most about me and whom I'm able to talk to about most things is someone who lives 3,000 miles away, and we've never met face to face.

This is the tightrope I walk on: I can be myself, be emotional, optimistic, and willing to face the future head on. However, when I open up that emotional, sensitive, caring part of myself, I realize my solitude much too often. The other option is that I just shut down my emotions, go numb inside, and basically never let anything affect me. That helps me deal with the rigors of going through life every day, but it prevents me from ever making new connections.

Right now... I've made a committment to myself that I'll do my best to not go emotionally numb anymore. I need to feel. I need to be open to caring. Yes, it might hurt at times, but life hurts sometimes. If I block everything out, I may avoid the pain, but I'll also avoid happiness and fun and excitement... and all the things that make life worth living.

But unfortunately, right now, I'm feeling frustration and anxiety. These are the hard parts...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some thoughts

I don't think I mentioned this before, but I have a younger brother. He's in graduate school right now and has no interest in pharmacy or anything science related (not that I really care about this). We were a lot different when we were young, but as we grow older and mature, we're becoming a lot more alike. I can't say that we're particularly close. We don't fight. We get along just fine. We just don't talk very much. Actually, we don't talk at all.

Anyway... I just thought to write about this because we're an interesting study of what can be considered being successful in this world. My brother gets good grades, but he has no ambition. He doesn't desire to do anything with his life. He has no career aspirations. Right now, he's perfectly comfortable living with our parents and allowing them to pay for everything in his life. In so many ways, he's a spoiled bastard who has no idea of what the real world is like. If you only heard some of the nasty, selfish remarks he's made to our parents, you'd want to beat the shit out of him. He has no idea how good he has it.

Then there's me: I graduated near the top of my class in high school and pharmacy school. I'm completely financially independent. My brother probably has no chance to make the kind of money that I do now. I have my own place. I'm well-liked and respected by my peers at work as well as our customers. I've never been in trouble. I'm a model citizen in a lot of ways.

On paper, I look like the runaway winner in this success comparison. Here's the thing though... Are career and financial achievements a good way to monitor success? I don't really think so.

See... the thing with my brother is that, no, he'll never have a job that pays as well or is as respected as mine. He may end up living with our parents until he's 30. However, he has a life that I don't. In the past 4 years, he's been to Hawaii 3 times. He's been to the Bahamas on spring break. He has almost a thousand pictures of he and his friends at beaches, parties, mud volleyball games, etc. He's not passionate about his career, but he's passionate about life, and that's so much more important. He's seemingly always trying new things, meeting new people, and going to different places. He's not letting school and work dictate the rest of his life.

That's something I can really learn from him, and that's a revelation to me because I never thought he could teach me anything. Growing up, I was the one with the friends, while he struggled to fit in. I was lean and athletic, while he was fairly chubby. I excelled in school and sports, while he had trouble in certain subjects and wasn't very athletic. I was always clean cut and well-dressed, whereas he continually went through phases where he had long, unkept hair and wore punk rock band t-shirts. I was always a happy kid, while he struggled with depression (which is evident from the scars all over his legs where he purposely cut himself with a razor).

Somewhere along the line, he made some changes in order to better himself. He decided he didn't like being overweight, so he started to run. Now, he's thinner than I am and can run a mile in 5 minutes. He decided the punk rock look wasn't cutting it anymore, so he got a very clean looking, short haircut and started dressing in nicer clothes. Instead of being swallowed by his depression, he challenged himself to make the best of his life that he could. It's sort of inspirational, probably even more so if he didn't act like such an asshole to our parents. He's not perfect of course. He's still pretty high strung about certain things, and he's prone to pretty bad mood swings. However, he's in a much better place than before.

Once again, compare that to me, the supposedly successful one, and the vision of success gets a little muddy. Yes, I'm respected and very comfortable financially. However, I'm not living life to the fullest. Maybe if things didn't go bad with my ex, I wouldn't be saying the same thing. Maybe if I were married now like I thought I'd be, I'd think I was the one with the full and meaningful life. Instead, I'm still in this rut of waking up and going to work every day. I'm trying to form new, meaningful relationships, but it's so damn hard at this point. I've made a couple new friends, but both cases are sort of complicated at the moment.

It all goes back to the consequences of devoting the 6 most important social development years of your life to one person, and then having that one person walk out on you. It doesn't matter how good of a person I might be. It's just hard to form new relationships if you don't come into contact with people (pharmacy patrons don't count) on a regular basis. It sucks when people ask why you didn't go anywhere during your vacation week, and you don't really have an answer except to shrug your shoulders. It's not like I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything. There's not many places to go that are fun for one person, and there's not much that a person can do on his own.

I kind of got off track with this post... The point is that for all my supposed success and my brother's lack thereof, he has the better life. It's not a life that I can't have for myself. I just don't have as many opportunities now. If I could re-live my college years, I'd do so many things differently. Unfortunately, that's not possible, so I'm left trying to make the best of my current situation. I'm trying. I feel like I'm making progress. I've made some pretty big leaps in the past few months (getting over my ex was the biggest of course). There's such a long way to go though, and through it all, I have to keep getting up and going to work...