Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Pharmacist



Yesterday I had to get a refill of some medication (smegmastatin) that keeps Officer Cynical's cholesterol low enough that his blood doesn't turn into egg yolk. I don't know very much about pharmacy, but just that visit alone was enough to make me glad pharmacists aren't armed (as far as I know).

I go to Great Big Pharmacy. It used to be very convenient to our old house, but is clear across town from our current one. I continue to go there because the pharmacists and technicians are very knowledgeable, helpful and courteous. Yesterday, for some reason, none of the usual staff was there - just one pharmacist and one technician, neither of whom I recognized.

I may not be the greatest pharmacy customer in the world (although I now think I am), but I do know enough to arrange for refills on line a day or so in advance. Then, I usually can just walk up to the counter and pay. Yesterday, here's the scene when I arrive:

Mrs. Sourpuss walks up to the counter. She has a long, whispered conversation with the pharmacist, who then goes back, fills a bottle of pills, and brings it to the counter. Mrs. Sourpuss again leans over the counter and has another protracted, super-secret conversation with the pharmacist, who goes back and repeats step one. At the counter again, Mrs. S. is clearly not happy with the two bottles of pills she's been given. I can overhear that the number of pills is wrong, and that her husband's name, not hers, should be on one of the bottles. The pharmacist is looking at labels, flipping through stacks of paper, and staring at a computer screen, trying to sort it all out. Mrs. S is huffing and sighing, and just generally looking like she's sucking on lemons. Finally, the pharmacist tell Mrs. Sourpuss that if she thinks there's a problem with the prescriptions, she needs to contact her doctor to square it away. Mrs. S. leaves in a huff. This has easily taken 15 minutes.

The guy in front of me is next at the counter. He has a scrip he wants filled. The pharmacist tells him to come back in an hour. I see there are at least six people sitting in chairs along the wall next to the counter - presumably they're all waiting for scrips, too. The guy rolls his eyes and stomps out.

Meanwhile, the technician has been on the phone this whole time. He's getting step-by-step instructions on how to operate the software they use for patient records or whatever. During each pause in the conversation, he pokes the keyboard a couple of times and says, "Nope, that didn't work, either". The pharmacist is running the entire show herself. She's looking at the technician like she's trying to decide the best place to conceal his body.

As the guy in front of me leaves, some blue-hair tries to cut in line in front of me by coming up an adjacent aisle and then angling toward the counter. I body-check her into the rack of Sucrets like I don't notice she's there. I'm ready with my name, name of the medication, and that I'd had the wherewithal to previously order my scrip on line. I sign the sheet that says I know how to swallow pills without instructions and get out of there.

If you're a pharmacist in an operation like that, I salute you. And I thought had a tough job!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Body checked her into the Sucrets. Fabulous.

Anonymous said...

many are armed. trust me on this

Liz Harris said...

I once told my boss that an irate customer had left in a huff. He asked me, "what year and model huff was it?" He wasn't impressed and neither was I. Good times.

Anonymous said...

The worst is when they cut in line and use the power of "natural gas" to quickly make you leave your spot intentionally!

Anonymous said...

Every. Single. Day. Thanks for being a responsible patient and calling in your refills ahead of time. Waiting room was probably full of people waiting on prescriptions and flu shots.

Heidi said...

I don't think it takes much to be a "good pharmacy customer". I'm a medical office receptionist so I know how helpful it is when a customer/patient starts the conversation with providing their name.

One time I went to pick up a called-in refill. Stepped up to the counter and in a pleasant voice (that counts too) said what I was there for and my full name and spelled my last name. I thought I was gonna win a prize! The gal helping me said out loud "Now that's the way it's done!".

Sometimes it's the simple things...

Old Fool said...

Modern open air pharmacies are like theater in the round. Pharmacists arguing with insurance cos. and docs up on the stage where the computers are and then coming down for a curtain call to fight with the customers. Fascinating and free entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Are you related to this guy?:

http://www.theangrypharmacist.com/

WarmSocks said...

Lucky you. My pharmacy's online reorder system claims that I have no prescriptions. I wish. At least it's not auto-dialing me and telling me to go pick up non-existent meds like it's apparently is doing to a lot of people.