Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Highlights From Friday's Pill Counting Action.

Maybe the memories don't really gel into my head until I get back to work after a weekend off. Maybe that's why I don't write about them for awhile.

Or maybe it's just because I'm lazy. Maybe a dedicated funding source for my little blog garden would go a long way towards me getting the Friday pill counting highlights up faster, and you should seriously consider approaching me to inquire about my advertising rates. 

The first highlight from last Friday happened before I even got to to work, A man was standing beside the street undoing his pants as I drove by. He wasn't really making any effort to hide what he was doing, which made him visible long before I actually got to where he was standing. His pants were totally off by the time I got to him. He was obese.

It's definitely the blockout thing. Don't worry about buying an ad.

There was someone waiting for me to open the gate as usual and my keystone tech was late as usual and I was beginning to think this might end up just being a boring kinda day. That's when I heard "a hunk a hunka burnin' love." It was foreshadowing. My employer's in-store radio plays the same 20 songs 24/7 ad nauseam, and the Fat Elvis classic was not one of those 20. This was significant. Fat Elvis was trying to warn me.

I looked down and saw the phone lines were blinking, but not ringing. This had been a problem for two days now, and for two days we had been waiting for someone from my employer's techno-geek squad to come down and make an attempt to fix it. Basically, if you look at the phone and happen to notice it ringing, you can answer it, but the phone doesn't make any sound or any other real effort to let you know someone is there. I picked up to start the day.

"Hi, this is Nurse Dumbass calling, we have a patient who is being discharged from our not-quite hospital, not-quite nursing home tomorrow and I need to know what to do to make sure he gets his discharge meds."

"Give me a prescription"

"Is that all"

"That's all"

"OK, can I fax it?"

I gave her our fax number and figured she could knock herself out. Ten minutes later the fax machine spat out ten pages of the guy's chart. Only one of which had anything to do with meds. It was just kind of a list of random drug names.

"Yeah, um I got your fax" I told Nurse Dumbass after being on hold for 5 minutes. "It wasn't real helpful in letting me know what I'm supposed to give the patient. Why don't you try sending over some proper prescriptions."


The next caller asked if she really had to fill her diuretic prescription to lower her blood pressure or if she could just drink a lot of water. Her question really made all the extra effort I was making to stay on top of the phone calls worthwhile.

"Hi this is just called"

"No....I didn't"


Yeah. It was a lot of extra work, but I could really feel good about the service I was providing the public with my phone skills.

In the waiting area, a customer screaming into their cellphone was joined by another customer....screaming into his cellphone. They both stood there, screaming, loud enough that each of them was interfering with the other being able to hear the person they were talking to. They gave dirty looks to each other, and screamed, and said things like "I didn't get what you just said" while giving more dirty looks to the other one.

Neither one of them showed any intention of moving. They screamed some more and I composed a heartfelt eulogy to the phone booth in my head.  

A lady asked for a counsel and then walked away mid-sentence. Not in anger I don't think, she just kinda drifted away like something shiny had grabbed her attention. Maybe I need to add some jokes or a live band or something to my counselling routine.

Three prescriptions came out of the fax from the not-quite hospital not-quite nursing home. One said, in its entirety, "Coumadin 3 and 4 milligrams for two weeks." Back to the phone to complete what should have been a 20 second process at most.

"Yes, how is the patient taking this Coumadin?"

"By mouth"

There was a man out there somewhere dependent on these people for his care, and my heart broke for him. I think my head exploded as I tried to beat a prescription out of Nurse Dumbass. There were reports my face was beet red and that I may have called her stupid. I'm not sorry if I did.

Do you know what the difference is between a successful organization and a not so successful one? A successful organization sends a technician to fix your phone problem who fixes your phone problem. The technician from the not-so-successful organization goes home at 5:00 and leaves you with a fucked up phone all weekend because he isn't authorized for any overtime.

Last prescription of the day was for Septra suspension. Couldn't be the tablets. Had to be the liquid. It was from a pediatrician's office, not unusual stuff. Nurse said the Mom wanted to know if we could make it orange flavor. Mild pain in the ass, but doable if your little shit is a bit contrary. I told the nurse sure and asked for the kid's date of birth.


Somewhere out there is an 18 year old  who can't swallow a tablet. He's allowed to join the army and wants his liquid orange flavored so it's not all icky when it goes down. He can register to vote and buy cigarettes and has his Mommy make sure he doesn't get yucky medicine. That's the difference between where I work now and the ghetto from which I came. No 18 year old in my old ghetto store would do this. And live.

I miss the ghetto sometimes. And phone booths. And nurses who could communicate prescription orders in less than a day and parents who could communicate to their offspring they were being a wuss. And Fat Elvis. As I pulled the gate closed I imagined I was opening up a portal into a time when there was less technology and more brainpower. I pretended I was stepping out into the parking lot of 1978. Then, I swear to God, I saw a man playing with his belt, and I subconsciously blocked it all out. Until now.

I'm going to go dust off my 8-track player. 


Anonymous said...

I had a nurse call in about 25 Rx's on one voicemail. Well, actually it cut her off at about 17 and she called back to continue the incredibly long list on a second message. She was also talking exceedingly fast, much faster than I could write and she kept leaving out information and called some in flat out wrong by saying one drug twice in place of another drug, which I was able to figure out by the strength. Anyway, it was probably one of the most frustrating things ever because every time I needed to catch something I missed I had to listen to the whole damn long thing over again. After about 6 attempts to make this mess work and trying to call the callback number back with no answer, I ended up just deleting it and pretending it never happened. Why the hell wouldn't they fax something over instead? Assholes

AnotherRxTech said...

To be fair, the kid could be disabled or something. Whenever we get prescriptions like your Septra one, I convince myself this must be the case, because I already have too much pent-up desire to punch faces and it might bubble over if I don't take precautionary measures.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the dumbass nurse story. I had one yesterday who was incapable of telling me the strength of a patient's Flovent inhaler. When I insisted that I needed a strength, she got mad and responded "it's a Flovent inhaler." I told her to get back with me and hung the phone up. The nurse then had the patient call me to see why I was making her nurse "sad" by being rude. Another day in the pharmacy.

Bonnie said...

Could have been a developmentally delayed 18 yr old that needed orange flavored liquid. The rest of 'em truly were dumbasses, epecially that nurse.

Anonymous said...

I saw a full-on nude grannie in front of the old Water Tower one sunny Chicago afternoon. At first I thought it was a bipedal Shar Pei.

woolywoman said...

Really? a nurse? sure it wasn't just someone who's employer required her to wear scrubs?

Anonymous said...

Umm, nurses don't write prescriptions, physicians do. Nurses are left to call in the ones physicians write. So the problem is that the physicians are the dumbasses poorly writing them and then leaving it to the nurses to call them in. If there was a well written prescription with all the correct, necessary information it would probably be a piece of cake for them.

Sophia said...

After reading this post, I've determined you are too smart and/or crazy to be doing what you are doing. Me in 10 years. Good luck.

Stavros69 said...

I also miss the ghetto.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever think that the trouble with bad rx's from nursing homes stops with retail. Nearly daily we we stuck trying to decipher pages out the the LTAC charts at the hospital where I used to work. Or some yutz MD transfers a patient from one hospital to another and signs a copy of the MAR from hospital A and expects it to be a legal document...Did I mention that MD only signs page 6 of said said MAR and assumes we will accept it as written that it means all the other photocopied or bad faxes too.

RxLackey said...

I work for a pharmacy that exclusively supplies meds to nursing homes. So my entire career is mostly spent calling and clarifying the order the nurse took down wrong. Or chose the wrong drug from the computer list. Or, my favorite, faxes a chart order for Roxanol and is confused when I ask for a prescription. All attempts to get prescriptions for a controlled medication must include the phrase "valid DEA hardcopy prescription" or else they just keep faxing the same chart order again and again.

If my grandparents were still alive, they would not go within 15 miles of this place.