07/11/09 - posted by jb
I find it both interesting and touching that many folks have fond memories of their pharmacist. I was always more impressed with the aura of mystery and aromas that permeated from out of the little window in the back of Crown Drug, where we went every time I got an ear ache; it was a near-weekly encounter. I always wondered what alchemy and mixing of potions went on back there; was it Kool Aid in those globes and why didn't the pharmacist have a collar on his jacket?

These, and so many more mysteries would be answered for me, over time, when I entered the profession 35 years ago. Today, it's a different world and, rather than hand-holding with the infirmed, I spend most of my time arm-wrestling insurance companies and moving like a cracked-out barista so as to keep the line moving while dodging verbal assaults. There is little time for the niceties and human touch that was one reason I gravitated towards this profession; last week I had a guy barking at me to "chat on my own time" when I was offering condolences to a customer who's wife had tragically ended her life. We both shot him mortal stares and continued, my customer in tears.

So next time you go into your pharmacy and see everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off, please know that is exactly how we feel. Most pharmacists miss the good ol' days as much, if not more, than their patrons. So much of healing is art and not science; so much is voodoo and ritual. No wonder the health care system is sick; its heart has been methodically removed and eaten for lunch by the insurance companies who have neither the time nor interest to wait for their order at the soda fountain.

Be Well,
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