Some of you know when I moved to California I was making the transition from a small town Midwestern Rubeistan where everyone knew everyone and I filled 500 prescriptions a week with no fax machine and one phone line. Three thousand miles later, I had my first face to face meeting with a full scale corporate pharmacy meatgrinder. I was now tasked with getting 800 prescription orders out the door a day. Using software I had never seen before. My new employer thought 2 days should be long enough to bring me up to speed. Those of you in the profession can imagine how it went. I will never forget the feeling of realizing I had been a pharmacist for 8 years and I couldn't get this goddamned computer to do a refill.
When I was done for the day I would go home to my apartment with no furniture and have all the time in the world to think about how I now had an ex-wife. Until it was time to get up again and try to figure out how to get the goddamned computer to do a refill. I can honestly say there were times when I wasn't so sure I wouldn't end up crawling back to Ohio to live in my Mom's basement.
Except the original keystone tech wasn't about to give me that option. There were 800 fucking prescriptions to get out the door every day, and like it or not, I was gonna have to pull it together and get myself over a steep learning curve. Supportive, but never shy about threatening a kick in the ass, the original keystone tech drug my sorry ass over that curve and deposited me on the other side. I didn't kid myself, I knew it had nothing to do with her having any liking for little 'ol me, but I was damn glad the original keystone tech was there. There were prescriptions to get out the door.
Eventually things got better, but I don't have to tell you in a corporate meatgrinder pharmacy things are never good. One day some corporate types from the home office came by on one of their periodic "we're showing the little people we care" visits. They asked the original keystone tech if there was anything they could do to help us do our job. The original keystone tech told them. In no uncertain terms. It was beautiful. The corporates called the store manager the next day and told them to suspend the keystone tech for a week, thereby proving that the best way to advance in the world of personnel management is to lose your testicles. I called the corporate office. Naturally I had to leave a message. I told them that if my keystone tech was suspended, than I would be taking the week off as well. I said that if I did not hear anything from them I would consider the decision reversed and we would both be at work the next morning. I never heard anything, as returning my call would have required functioning testicles on their part. I think the original keystone tech might have liked me a little after that.
I'm writing this because I found out tonight my original keystone tech has died. Evidently it was a violent death, but that wasn't the point of her life. What the original keystone tech taught me, besides almost everything one needs to know about how to run a corporate pharmacy, was that a person never really knows the legacy they leave behind. Today I'm not shy about telling you I'm a damn good pharmacist. If you don't employ me, you should let out a loud cry of sorrow that you once had the chance to hire me but didn't. And if you agree that I'm a cut above your average pill pusher, if I ever helped you out of a jam, if you've ever read anything here that maybe helped you out a bit, well then, you understand what I mean when I say you never really know what impact your life will have on the world.
Because there really was a time when I wasn't sure I was gonna make it.
I'll miss her.