Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Weekend is Almost Over

I wish I could change jobs, but I have no idea what I would do. I've come to the conclusion that I don't really like the profession of pharmacy or the health care profession in general. I feel like I'm doing more harm than good by promoting medication therapy to people. As I've said before, I don't take anything besides sudafed or Tylenol every once in a while. I don't believe medication is the secret to staying healthy for longer. I firmly believe that a healthy diet, good exercise, and an overall active lifestyle does more to help pretty much everything than drugs do.

Sure, medication has it's place. However, I just feel like in my pharmacy, most of the drugs we dispense are unwarranted. I mean, how can the most prescribed drug in the United States be Vicodin? Why do we have to keep more Percocet in stock than HCTZ? How come every child in the world now gets Ritalin, Adderal, Concerta, and now Vyvanse? Is it right to be handing out Lipitor to the man that's 100 pounds overweight, when if he just ate right, exercised, and lost weight, he'd decrease his risk for heart disease more than Lipitor ever could?

Everyone is looking for shortcuts to good health. Everyone wants to just take a pill and go right on doing what they were doing before. Hell, they're even doing research to see if they can make a pill mimic the effects of exercise on the body. We've reached the point where we even want our exercise to come in pill form!!

Furthermore, what happens if we just took all these drugs away? No more Lipitor. No more Actos. No more blood pressure medication. Basically no safety nets. You tell people, "look, you can live however you desire because this is a free country. However, if your poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle end up causing you to develop heart disease or diabetes, you're going to have to live with it." No drugs to bail them out. If they don't live healthy, then they increase the chances of being sick, and once sick, there's nothing anyone can do for them.

Maybe if there were no drugs to fight these more or less preventable diseases, maybe people would take better care of themselves in the first place.

I think I'd love to be a personal trainer or a dietitian of some sort. I'd love to tell people how to work out in order to be as strong as they can be, and I'd love to teach people how to eat healthy. However, it's difficult making money in that kind of field, and sadly, I've grown accustomed to my 6-figure salary. I don't think I could afford an $80,000 per year pay cut in order to do the thing that I like the most and feel has the most worth. Therefore, I'll just keep chugging away at a job I don't particular like or believe in.

Maybe one day, I'll have the courage to just say "fuck it." I'll walk right out that pharmacy door and never look back. I wouldn't worry about money or plans for the future. I'd just go wherever my heart leads me. Maybe I'll only end up making minimum wage and struggling to make ends meet every month. At least then, a little part of me wouldn't die inside every time I go to work.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Starting to Crack

Sometimes you just know right from the very beginning how the day will go...

I opened the door, turned off the alarm, and saw the mess left over from the night before. Scripts from the previous day weren't filed. Prescriptions were strewn about the counter half filled with little post-it notes on them that didn't do a good job of explaining their half finished state. A bottle of Percocet was left on the counter instead of being put back into the safe. Upon seeing this mess, I knew the day's fate was sealed.

No, a floater didn't work the previous night. If that were the case, the mess would have at least been understandable (though not less infuriating). One of our regular, full-time pharmacists closed the store... or at least I thought.

Thirty minutes after the gate went up, the pharmacy manager called me. Apparently, the day before was a disaster. Our lead tech called out sick... again (she's just about used up all her sick time for the year already, and we're barely into March). The staff pharmacist who was supposed to close went home sick at 2:00, which left the pharmacy manager to work the entire afternoon until close by himself. He also informed me that we didn't get our order yesterday because that same pharmacist who left sick forgot to send the order the night before, which would be forgiveable if she didn't manage to do this at least once a month. Therefore, our order today was going to be twice as large as normal.

Great, I thought. What a lovely day it will be!

The first customer of the day paid for his prescription in pennies. He didn't ask if it was ok. The tech told him the price, and he proceeded to dump a whole pile of pennies on the counter. I wanted to refuse them, but my company's new hassle free policy forced me to smile as both he and the tech tried to count the pennies at the same time, both interrupting each other's counting numerous times.

Just as things were starting to look bleek, a tiny sliver of light shined upon the pharmacy when the lead tech miraculously showed up for work. She had been out since Friday, but she decided to give it the good old college try. By college try, I mean she came to work, did nothing but complain for 2 hours, and then left feeling sick. She had been out all week because of bronchitis, but that wasn't why she left today. In fact, I don't think I heard her cough one time the entire time she was there. Nope, today she left because she thought she had bruised ribs, and simultaneously (and unrelated to the ribs) she felt like she was going to puke.

Later in the morning, a woman on crutches after surgery dropped off a prescription for Percocet. Nothing at all unusual. The script was pefectly legible. No crossouts. No erasures. No mistakes. Beautiful... except for on the line that says "physician print name here," the doctor scribbled down something that had no discernible letters in it. I don't even have to mention that the script was written at a not-so-nearby hospital. I called the hospital to see if anyone could provide me some information that might lead to the identification of the mystery doctor, but I was transferred to a voice mail box. It took me 30 minutes to find someone that could tell me who wrote the script.

And now I will offer my unedited feelings about this doctor and every doctor who can't write neatly. FUCK YOU!! FUCK YOU ALL!! How fucking hard is it to write your name??? You went to medical school. You passed your boards. You have to have some sort of intelligence. Therefore, it completely mystifies me why you would write everything else neatly on the script and then scribble in the spot you're supposed to print your name. You saved yourself all of 1 second, and you wasted 30 fucking minutes of my time. I think this should be punishable by death, or at the very least, a good thorough ass kicking. Go fuck yourself.

Two hours later, a customer who could barely walk shuffled his way up to the counter using a walker. He too presented a Percocet prescription. His numb nuts doctor didn't write a strength on it. I suppose I could have called the office, got the strength (everyone knows it was supposed to be 5/325), and had them mail me a new hard copy. However, I'm sick of fixing everyone else's fuck ups. Therefore, I sent the barely mobile patient back to the office to have his doctor rewrite it. The idea is for him to be mad at his doctor for screwing up. Instead, I'm pretty sure he was just pissed off at me.

Then there was the lady who spent 10 minutes at the counter demanding to know why the price of her prescription increased the exhorbitant amount of $0.99. Highway robbery she proclaimed! I wanted to tell her that she could of borrowed the $0.99 from the guy who dumped the pennies on the counter earlier. I think they would have made a great pair.

The last asshole of the day was a guy who demanded that we transfer all his prescriptions to another pharmacy because his flexible spending account card was rejecting. He didn't have time to call the customer service number to find out why it wasn't working. He just knew it was our fault, and it would work just fine at the pharmacy next door. I wanted to send him to the other pharmacy so bad, but two things held me back. One, the new, unjaded pharmacist who was working with me quickly jumped to his aid and called the customer service line for him. Two, if I transferred the prescriptions I wouldn't get the satisfaction of seeing his face when his card rejected again.

If I was Drug Monkey, I'd be overindulging in scotch right now. However, I'm not that classy, and I've stopped drinking entirely for the time being. Therefore, I'm forced to drown my sorrows in water and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. I'm actually not sure if that's any better for you than scotch.

The best part: I get to do it all over again tomorrow. I LOVE MY JOB!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Hypothetical Situation

Let's say you're working at a job you don't particular like for not all that much money. An opportunity suddenly comes up where you can get a job you like that will pay more. The catch is that you have to relocate to halfway across the country in order to take that job.

Now, here's where it gets interesting. What if I told you that if you stayed in your current location, you'd meet someone truly amazing and fall madly in love? Therefore, the choice becomes move in order to get a potentially great job or stay in order to meet what could possibly be the love of your life. Which would you choose?

I'll step back and analyze the situation...

Say the job market for your particular skill set is very slim in your present location. It took you forever just to find your current job, and you only took the job because you really didn't have any other options. It's not something you envision yourself doing for the rest of your life. It was just a stepping stone to hopefully a better position. Therefore, when that opportunity to get that great job presents itself, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to at least give it a shot. After all, you're presently single, and even though your friends and family are all in your current location, you're confident you can make new friends and connections when you move. Maybe you'll even meet someone very special there. Who knows?

While moving is a tough thing, at least on a theoretical basis, moving for the great job seems like the right thing to do in that situation. Therefore, let me complicate things a little...

Say that the whole situation with your current job is the same, but instead of meeting that amazing someone in the future, let's say you've already met him/her. The relationship is young (only a few months old), but the two of you really have something special together. You don't want to get ahead of yourself, but you feel like if you give the relationship a shot, it could end up being "the one."

Now that decision is much more complicated. You still hate your job. However, you now have something really tying you to your current location. You don't want your relationship to end, but at the same time, you don't know how much longer you can last at your present job before going crazy. You want to ask your significant other to move with you, but being that the relationship is only a few months old, you're unsure if that's a good idea. Moreover, he/she has a house, a great job, and basically has a pretty good thing going in the current location. How can you ask someone to uproot his/her life for you when you've only been dating them for a few months? In addition, maybe that job that you have to move halfway across the country for won't work out that well. Maybe it's not as good as it seems on paper. You'll kick yourself if you threw away the greatest relationship you ever had to chase a job that ultimately didn't work out.

What would you do in this situation? On one hand, you have the possibility of a great career. On the other hand, you have the opportunity for long lasting love. Neither is certain though.

How would you choose?