Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fear of needles...

I walk out to the immunization area to greet my next flu shot patient. She sits nervously as I introduce myself to her. She is wearing a sleeveless shirt (thank you!) and I can see several well-done tattoos on each arm. As I'm cleaning the area on her left arm with an alcohol swab, she turns her face and clenches her eyes shut.

"Are you ok?"

"I'm terrified of needles!"

Uhhhhhh....ok. I guess her tattoos were done with ink pens.

"But you have all these gorgeous tattoos! That one of the praying hands on your right arm is beautiful...tell me about that one!"

She looks at it, her head turned away from me, and starts to tell me about how she and her daughter went together to get tats...yadda yadda yadda, and I quickly stick her, discard the syringe in the sharps container and start applying a bandage. She looks at me and says, "Did you give me my flu shot already? I didn't even feel it!"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Damn you, Purdue Pharmaceuticals!

Dear Purdue Pharmaceuticals,

I appreciate the fact that you reformulated your blockbuster pain medication, Oxycontin, to make it more difficult to abuse. The new tablets are hard, will not dissolve, and cannot be crushed. Therefore, they can only be swallowed whole, not injected or snorted, the way the product was intended.

However, you made one mistake. You changed the markings on the tablet. Instead of "OC" they now say "OP." You cannot imagine the problems this has caused me. I had a woman yesterday come in to get her routine prescription of sixty tablets of Oxycontin 80mg. I explained when she picked it up that we only had the reformulated tablets. I explained the purpose of the reformulation, and told her the markings were different. I assured her that if they were used properly they would still be effective for her pain. She appeared to have no problem with this, and we proceeded with the $700 sale. Thirty minutes later, she wants a refund because the markings are different. You see, they have now lost their street value, and she won't be able to make the $6000 she could have sold them for.

On second thought, you have achieved your goal, while annoying me in the process. I guess I will take the annoyance in exchange for making it harder for people to abuse drugs while keeping pain meds avalable to those with legitimate need.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Black does not equal "ghetto"

Last week, I started at my new full time "home" more floating! When I shared the news of my new location with various coworkers, they responded with comments about the "'hood" and the "ghetto." Let me explain something...just because a neighborhood is predominantly black does not mean it is 'hood, ghetto, crime-ridden, or full of blight. I would say 90% of patients I serve there are black. Many walk to the store, and most are on Medicaid. The majority are older, and have been living in the area for years and years. They know my pharmacy manager by name, and he asks about their kids or their parents. The first day I was there, several patients introduced themselves to me, shook my hand, and welcomed me to the store. The younger folks come in with questions about medical issues with their kids, and they are very respectful, and appreciative of my advice.

Let me say that I am a white girl, born and raised in the Midwest. I am now living in a Southern city that isn't aware that the Civil War has ended. There is a huge black population here, and still a lot of racism, which is something I'm not used to. There are cultural differences between myself and my new patients, and I am getting used to understanding that a "pump" is an inhaler for asthma, and that crazy high dose of narcotics is probably treating a sickle cell patient.

I would rather work in the "'hood" 20 minutes away than the store a mile from my house, where the clientele is rich white people. They can be demanding, entitled, rude, and disrespectful. The pharmacists I know who hate working in black neighborhoods probably have difficulties because they don't treat the patients with respect. The Golden Rule is the key. I think I'm going to like my new home.