“Take out the da da and then the trash”. Rock ‘n Roll from way back. I can’t remember what words/s da da is. Help me!
Yesterday, Elke, an absolute artist CPhT, took a 60 second break from her duties to comment on my work ethic. Elke is an owner’s dream. Not one penny gets by her.
She squeezes out every cent from every prescription. She has a European work ethic.
If only she could teach young Americans how to make a living.
Elke said to me, “You are only the second pharmacist I have worked with who takes out the trash. You fill bottles and vials when we are getting low. You haul in boxes of labels.” Elke smiled. “You work hard. I like that.”
I also clean my tools after compounding. I have no problem counting pills. I will pour, lick and stick when it is wanted and needed. I may be a pharmacist, but I am still one of the team. I could step back and let the techs (there are usually 2 of them with me) do the grunt work. I could do the elite work, the checking of prescriptions and the counseling.
I love counseling. It looks to me that, during an average shift, there may be ten opportunities of value. Counseling chances when you damn well better counsel because this is serious business. I love those chances. I take the vials and go and sit down with the patient. I get to rest my seriously compromised legs and I have noticed that the patients seem to like the casualness. When I go sit down to counsel for five minutes, I know that Elke and Lynnette, a younger, competent CPhT, will keep things warm for me.
I digress, sorry! Lynnette said, “Yeah, Jim. Why do you take out the trash? I’ve never seen a pharmacist take out the trash.” She smiled. “Now, don’t get me wrong, Jim. I like it that you take out the trash. You don’t have to stop because of me.”
I explained that I was not so important that I can’t work like she does.
The seed of this ethic was planted at Cook Drugs in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1957. Dolph Hale had hired me as a “stock boy”. I went in for my first shift on a snowy Saturday morning just before Christmas. Dolph immediately took me to the back of the store. On the way, I got a glimpse of Frank DeDomenico, a 20 something pharmacist working in the “Prescription Room”. There was a hint of aldehyde aroma in the air. I was hooked.
Dolph led me to the bathroom. He handed me a bucket, a cloth, rubber gloves, cleaner, a toilet brush and Windex. “Make it spotless,” he said. “I am not so important that I cannot clean the toilet,” he said. “I’ll take my turn just like everyone else. Today, it is your turn.”
I cleaned like a fool, hating the strong smells of the 50s noxious chemicals I was using.
I made the bathroom squeaky clean. Dolph approved. When he was taking me down to the basement that was piled high with REXALL private label everything that I would haul up to the sales floor and stack, he said, “That is a good lesson, Jimmy. Don’t forget it when you are a pharmacist.” How did he know? I was 16 years old. How did he know?