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So i’ve been doing some self thinking as to why I get angry at work. I mean it cant be normal for me to get really upset when I waste my time filling someones Rx (that they bring the empty bottle) not realizing that he wanted some other Rx filled (that wasnt the empty bottle).
I mean would any ‘normal’ person get pissed off when you’re on hold for 30 min before the patient says “oh, do you need this insurance card?” after you ask them 100 times if they have any insurance cards.
I mean a 14 year old getting prenatal vitamins shouldnt get your blood boiling. I mean what if it is their second kid? Thats no biggie right?
Getting yelled at because the doctor wont okay soma early shouldn’t bug me too much, but it does. I think you get the point.
I think I get frustrated because I dont think of myself as ‘better’ than anyone around me. Just because I physically stand a half foot above you, doesnt make me any better than the person who cleans the toliets, or the person who bags my groceries, or the kind fellow who pumps my gas. These people have jobs just like me, pay taxes just like me, and drag their asses to work just like me. Im sure they have a unique skill that they are awesome at. Mine’s pharmacy, and happens to be what I do for a living. Just because im a pharmacist doesnt make me better than you, its just what I do for a living.
But then I see stupidity in its rawest unearth form. Stupidity so intense that if it wasn’t for the kind state upon which I live wiping these people’s asses, they would be unable to live. I cant wrap my brain around how a person could be so utterly useless and stupid.
I dont expect you to understand how your medication works. Thats not your job, thats mine. I dont expect you to know what the proper dose is, or if your doctor is trying to kill you or not, thats also my job. I do have some sort of expectations that when the bottle says “One Tablet Daily” you will put one tablet in your mouth a day, and swallow. For some people, this mental feat rivals quantum physics.
How hard is it to follow simple directions? Even a dog knows not to shit in on its own bed, and can follow simple commands. I absolutely hate to talk down to people. It makes me feel like an idiot and makes the other person feel like a child. However im forced to do that on a daily basis. Thats the language they understand. Do I really need to tell you to remove the foil off of a suppository before you shove it up your ass? When a bottle says “SHAKE WELL” do you really need to ask me if you are supposed to shake it? That 3/4 is three-quarters of a teaspoon, not 3 to 4 teaspoons. That 1 mL (which is clearly marked on the dropper) is NOT the same as 5 mL.
Sometimes I feel like the patients are just screwing with me. You know, asking me stupid questions to be funny. Then I realize that they arent being funny, they seriously dont have the mental capacity to read and follow simple instructions printed out in plain english (which is the only language they speak). It boggles my mind so much I want to walk down there and shake them saying “WHATS WRONG WITH YOU! WHY DONT YOU UNDERSTAND!”. Seriously kids, cribs + lead paint = not good. Paint chips are not food, and not your friend.
I already have a very limited patience for people, however I expect people to not know how the human body works, or what that rash is growing under their boob. Those people I will spend as much time as I can explaining things in a language they can understand. However simple instructions like ‘twice daily’ or ‘leave this nix in your hair for 8 to 12 hours then rinse out’ should be universally understood no matter what education level you have.
So all in all, my ethics/tact/respect/how i was raised say “person is equal, must treat as equal” on one side, but then the patient is a complete and utter moron. So that makes my brain go into overload thinking “if person is equal, and person is idiot, then I am idiot! I am not idiot!”. Its not my intention to look down upon people (forget for a second what you read here) but maybe I might have to learn to.
Comment by Beth on 2006-11-16 00:53:39 -0800 #
I am a pharmacy tech, and I’ve seen my fair share of stupidity. I’d just like to share a funny experience I had tonight.
I work for one of the big corporations, and I just happened to be stationed at the drive-through most of the evening. One of the nicer old men pulls up in his old man car and asks for his and his wife’s prescriptions. I retrieve them, and notice that there is a note in the bag that says “Cherry Mag Citrate.”
The old man realizes that he’s missing something, and says, “I’m also supposed to have some citronella, if it’s not too much trouble. The red bottle, please.”
I smiled politely and nodded my head, turned around and headed for the laxative aisle in the store.
As soon as I knew I was out of sight, I burst out laughing. Citronella. Ha!
Keep up the good work and the funny stories!
Comment by Metaka on 2006-11-16 07:23:49 -0800 #
I think I know the reason why so many patients are so dumb.
They’re distracted, plain and simple. They don’t know how the human body works, don’t care to know, and then when it breaks down or if there’s a problem, they flip out. It’s the same principle as most people with their cars: they barely know the make, model, and year of the car, they don’t think it’s important to know the size and type of the engine, or how to properly maintain beyond putting gas in it and occasionally getting the oil changed. Similarily, people don’t know anything about themselves, usually because they don’t pay attention because it’s “not that important” or they “have other things on their mind” when the doctor tells them what to do with this shiny new prescription, or what illness they have and what it entails.
So they show up at the pharmacy, with this shiny prescription, and they haven’t the slightest idea what they take already, or what drug allergies they have (if any), or what we mean by insurance card, because certainly if the doctor knows, we should already know, right?
It’s not that they are mentally deficient, though I know the temptation is there to say there is. It’s just that they’re so caught up in their own lives, their little dramas and jobs and did they let the dog out before going to the doctor, that they can’t pay attention to what’s really important: their own health.
This is why we have to talk down to them, put the instructions in three places (verbal, prescription label, and often a sheet of paper included with the bottle during the sale explaining it all again, in detail), and why we still hear about a what, 60% rate of prescription errors due to the patient screwing up? This is why we have to grit our teeth and explain that no, this insurance card is no longer any good as of the first of the year, and they need to call their insurance company and bitch at THEM, not US.
It’s worse with people on scheduled drugs because they know we suspect them at the backs of our minds, and they fear that if they don’t get their medicine RIGHT NOW, even though they may have filled it only a week ago and forgotten or didn’t see the bottle at the back of the medicine cabinet, and if they don’t get it RIGHT NOW they will DIE because the doctor said so.
Ah, yes, I’d almost neglected to mention the doctors, and the pharmaceutical advertisements. The doctors have this annoying tendency to be just as preoccupied as their patients (“enlarged lymph nodes… I think I’ll go golfing tomorrow”), and therefore don’t explain things properly, or take into account that they may be allergic to the medication prescribed, or may already be taking the same damn thing. Also, due to the pharmaceutical companies, patients are convinced that they NEED Shineh(expensivedrug), and will DIE without it, despite not even knowing what it’s for, or if it might kill them.
So in summary, yes, you have to treat them like children, and expect that as soon as they leave the store, they will completely forget everything you just said, and hope that some small percentage actually pays attention and understands.
Damn, it’s so demoralizing now that I rethink all that I’ve said. I’m sorry.
Comment by disgruntledrph on 2006-11-18 18:04:00 -0800 #
This is sooooooo true. I feel like this virtually every day that I work and would like to just ask people how stupid can they be?
Comment by Jade on 2006-11-19 20:35:08 -0800 #
I have to say, your blog is the funniest I’ve read in a long time. In fact, I heard about this place from my pharmacist who heard about it from her husband. I actually (get this) print this out and take it into work for a good laugh with everyone. I’m a tech at a local retail pharmacy, been there 6 years, and I have to admit that (sadly) 100% of what you write about it true. My boss says that it’s sad how the US is the #1 country in the world regarding education, yet people can become idiotic imbeciles (alcohol-based hydrogen peroxide anyone?). Thanks for making us (*true* industry folks) all laugh, and letting the world know how stupid they can be. Cheers!
Comment by Terra Sigillata on 2006-11-20 13:50:58 -0800 #
The Angry Pharmacist makes for good reading
Long ago in a place far away, I was a full-time pharmacy professor. I love pharmacy students, almost as much as I love medical and nursing students. But, to me, pharmacy students were special because they would one day be…
Comment by nic on 2006-11-22 18:25:09 -0800 #
Working with the public seriously makes me question how the human race has managed to survive for this long. My friend and I have started making a list of our “what the fuck?” moments at work. We have almost enough to do a 365 days of pharmacy stupidity calendar or start our own blog. I vote for the calendar, because our blog couldn’t possibly be as funny as yours.
Comment by The Angry Medic on 2006-11-24 17:32:14 -0800 #
Ah yes, the idiocy of common folk. While I agree with the whole never-talking-down thing, I have to admit that some people out there are just plain morons whose only use for that 5-pound lump of grey matter sitting between their ears is possibly to learn to switch on the TV and open a can of beer. I sympathise. Just goes to show that contrary to popular opinion, common sense is not that common after all.
And it’s always nice to find another angry healthcare blogger.
Comment by Bench on 2006-11-27 06:06:15 -0800 #
Haahaaa!! I LOVE this blog. So glad I found it. It gives me some comfort to know that my customers, are also YOUR customers, and that instead of being frightened at the declining intelligence of the American population, I can now relax. Why? Because now I know they travel in some kind of gypsy caravan, while wearing their aluminum helmets. That’s a happier thought to have .. the alternative is just too plain scary to contemplate. I mean, there just CAN’T be that many brain dead walking among us…. can there ?
While we don’t have a DRIVE THROUGH (YAYAYAY!!), we do have delivery service. I just love it when a customer calls to tell us that they aren’t sure if they WILL BE HOME IN TIME for them to get their delivery, so please wait. I hate it that I have to patiently explain that we only do deliveries from X to X each day, and that if they are not there, we will try again tomorrow, when what I really want to say, is: YOU FUCKIN MORON…If you are OUT driving around, HERE’S a thought .. How about stopping in here and getting your SHIT since you have to pass right by ON YOUR WAY HOME ????
You already know the rest of my customers … The Let Me Dig Through My Suitcase Lady, Mr Important Cell Phone Call Guy, Mrs Yard Apes For Children, Mr Always Broken Into Lortab Was Stolen Again Can I Have It Fourteen Days Early If I Pay Cash Guy, Ms Wait Til I Pay Then Remember Six Other Scripts I Need Filled And I Will Stand Here Lady, Mr Always Going On Vacation And Need Everything Filled Early Especially My Xanax Guy, and on and on and on.(Don’t EVEN get me started on the extra special I Can Work But Choose Not To So The Government Can Pay My Way In Life people.)
Now I know how my teachers in school felt every time I told them that the dog ate my homework. I guess the old saying is true .. what goes around, comes around.
Comment by Meds Man on 2007-03-30 16:16:54 -0700 #
trying to maximize their take. These medications are not meant for someone so young. WBR LeoP