August 29, 2012

I wear a different hat to work every day

My degree is in pharmacy.  My profession is a pharmacist.  However, most days I am doing things that I never learned in pharmacy school... but somehow these “additional” tasks made their way into my job description.  Every day in the pharmacy is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you’re gonna get.  My job is never monotonous and these extra job duties are at times humorous... and that’s why I am sharing with you... because that’s my job... to make you laugh.  

Yes, you read that right.  Plumber.  I won’t go into details about our public restrooms in case you are eating right now, but people do things in public restrooms they would never consider doing in their own home (or at least I would hope not).  Whatever nasty scene your mind is thinking of right now is in no comparison to some of the toilets I’ve had to plunge.  

On a cleaner note, I put my plumber skills to work in the pharmacy recently when our filtration system started leaking.  Because there were too many valves to remember which ones go left, right, up, down... I just grabbed bottles of purified water off the shelf and we measured water the old-fashioned way with a graduated cylinder (that’s my idea of re-routing the plumbing).  When the plumber guy finally called to walk me through the correct process on how to connect the water tubing, our conversation lasted less than three minutes before he asked when a man someone with a little more plumbing experience would be there.  I obviously did not awe him when I told him that I once replaced a shower head by myself (I even used plumber’s tape... and the fact that I even know what plumber’s tape is should impress you).

*411 operator
--“Do you have the number to my doctor’s office?”
--“There’s a dentist office across the street from you, what is their phone number?”
--“What’s the phone number to my insurance company?”
...and my favorite so far “Do you know what time Rite-Aid closes?  Can you get me their address and number please?”

A sweet little old lady came to the pharmacy and wanted to know if we still carried a certain product.  She showed me a bottle that looked at least 50 years old... I had never heard of it before, I don’t remember the name, and have no idea what was used for... all I remember is the label on the bottle said it was manufactured in 1975.  1975??!?  I wasn’t even born.  Who still has a bottle in their house (wine excluded) that was born in 1975?  I refrained from asking the lady if I could keep the empty bottle to add to my antique pharmacy collection... but this would have been a great find.

One example....
Me:  How may I help you?
Patient:  Picking up a prescription... last name is “Whales”
Me:  (trying to interpret his thick Kentucky accent)  “Whales”... as in the animal?
Patient:  What?  No, “Whales”... W-E-L-L-S
Me:  You mean “Wells”?
Patient:  Yes, “Whales”

And other one for good measure...
Patient:  I need a box of your 20-count 120’s
Me:  (interpreting his meth street slang)  You mean you want a box of our 12-hour Sudafed with 20 tablets in a box?

*Sanitation engineer
A man came up to the counter tonight with his precious little daughter to purchase her prescription.  As I was ringing up her prescription, the dad asked if he could pay for their other purchases as well.  The dad handed me what initially seemed to be a bottle of Sprite.  I threw up a little (ok, a lot) in my mouth when I realized what was actually in this bottle:  tobacco-laced brown saliva.  I was ringing up a man’s spit can.  I just touched a man’s spit can.  I touched it.  With my own fingers.  Without gloves.  I quickly washed my hands four times and then wiped down any exposed skin with antibacterial gel sanitizer in case any germs jumped off that bottle.

Shortly thereafter, a five year old boy came to the counter with the worst cough I’ve heard in a long time.  As he was watching me mix his antibiotic, he put his little chin on our (already germ infested) counter and started hacking away... without covering his mouth.  I could see the droplets from his cough spraying all over our counter.  After he left, I armed myself with gloves and a mask and spent the next ten minutes scrubbing the counter with alcohol.

I won’t even go through our procedure for handling a prescription that is dropped off covered in blood.  Just another day in the life of a sanitation engineer.  

*Computer and mechanical engineer
Let’s see... this past week I have had to remove a paper jam in our printer at least a hundred times, fix our scanner that prints labels, and reboot my computer no less than ten times upon it freezing.  I then managed to kick our pill-counting robot when it kept giving me the same error message over and over, and also reset our store internet server on accident.  Not to mention that I broke our new touch-screen registers.  Needless to say, I have our help desk on speed dial, and have become quite the technical guru in fixing these problems (most of which are self-induced due to my lack of patience).

Yes, I sometimes have to channel my inner Psychic Friends Network while at work.  I have to predict insurance ID numbers... and how long it will take for a doctor to return our message... and if we have the drug in stock without seeing the prescription... and... and... and...  You get the point.

**As you can see, I do more each day than put pills in a bottle.  More than just counsel patients and immunize.  More than just health testing.  I wear a beautician hat (which hair dye is the best for a dry scalp?) and a lawyer hat (can I sue my doctor for writing the wrong dose?).  And my favorite hat that I wear every day is the "decider” hat... I mean, a girl's gotta eat and I have to decide what I want for lunch (choosing from the same five options becomes very difficult task).  So there you go... a sample of the many hats I wear... but at least I make the hats look good :)

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