Jay Pee’s Last Round Up? As Yogi Berra preached, “It’s Not Over Until It’s Over”

Jp Enlarged

Jay Pee In The Day. 1970s. This was on a trip to South Shore, Lake Tahoe. My days off were Sunday and Monday. A bad divorce and bad bills to pay so I was a reprobate, cigarette smoking, Stinger drinking blackjack player. I never gambled. I played the game right and NEVER went home on Monday night without at least $500 more in my pocket than when I drove up after work on Saturday.

 

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4/2/13, will be my last shift working in a pharmacy. I don’t know what to think of that. Getting off my feet is necessary. I was diagnosed with progressive post-polio muscular atrophy in 1987. I attended a few clinics, but felt like a fraud. Here were people my age in wheelchairs and using canes and crutches. Some of them wore braces. I felt as if everyone was staring at me because I was walking around with seemingly no ill effects. Subsequently, in 2007, I was told by a neurologist who did an electromyogram that I could not hurt myself by working. We were back in a corner laboratory. Him, me and an impressive array of computers. The doctor brewed coffee and we had a cup of laboratory Joe while he inserted 4 inch 18 gauge needles deep into my leg muscles. He had me flex the muscle, and then made notations into the computer. He answered two questions. Victoria had to know if I would ever need a wheelchair. A profound “No”. I had to know if I would hurt myself by working on my feet. “No. You can’t hurt yourself, but you will know when you better hang it up.” That moment came about 18 months ago, during a 1:30 PM to 10:00 PM shift. I came home and announced to my ever lovin’, “I can’t do this much longer”.

That much longer comes at 4:00 PM tomorrow afternoon. Why did I continue to work for 18 more months? We had a place in Sarasota, Florida in mind to be where we ended up. We pulled the trigger on a condo in our dream gated community on the day after Thanksgiving in 2011. It was the bottom of the real estate bubble. It was one half the asking price in 2005. V put some money into it, but it is our forever place. Well worth the investment.

I also continued to work because I enjoyed it. The company that I work for is huge. I get the impression that the separate districts are somewhat autonomous. I doubt if it is this was in every company pharmacy, but I always took a half hour meal break. A real one. I liked to go to Pho 18, a Vietnamese Noodle restaurant around the corner. An absolutely brilliant cup of coffee and a few spring rolls took the place of that ubiquitous Snickers bar and 20 ounce Diet Coke that costs the same as one share of stock of Big Stupid. I ran my personal lunch program. If I had errands or needed to get out a little early, I didn’t take a lunch that day. It is amazing how good a Big Grab of Fritos, a few handfuls of fun-size Kit-Kats taste when you do not have to have that kind of meal.

I was scheduled only to work two days (16 hours) a week. I did plenty of favors and put in extra shifts, but I was part time. I qualified for profit-sharing retirement and a company stock fund. I bailed out of both two weeks ago. I was in both of these for barely 4 years. V is having tile floors put into our condo as I write this. Our forever place remember. This company treated me very well.

It competes with Big Evil and Big Stupid so the Masters of the Universe get all hot and bothered by the usual money-losers. Following the $4.00 prescription jackass is the model. Gift cards for transfers. On and on. There are metrics, but
anyone with sense can handle the metrics.

We can handle all of the bullshit that is killing our industry, because we have to right now. Do not bitch and complain. Say you are going to do it with a smile. Then, do it if you can. There are opposing forces in the industry. There are people with power on our side. You, be a force for change. Did you ever give your kid that candy bar because he whined for it?

The best part of my job has been customer service. Rx counseling and OTC counseling. When I get an OTC question, I never leave it at, “Left side of aisle 9”.
I always go right out front and triage. They tell me their symptoms and, after a few questions, I recommend an OTC product, suggest that they better see a doctor or tell them, “Get your ass to the trauma center right now.” I would rather OTC counsel than Rx counsel. It is what I was trained to do in the 1960s. It was called Counter Prescribing. It was what druggists did. I am proud to be a druggist, man. Pharmacists who are willing to play the role of druggist save our nation billions of dollars a year. Because these people would go to emergency without your triage skills.

So, I am done. Man, I am so relieved. We will be in Sarasota by next Sunday. I will then spend an extended period of time being a retired Florida guy. I will wear short pants and tee shirts. I have a straw Panama hat that looks silly, but it shades my head. I will read a helluva lot, get a small tan and swim. We will eat good food. Drinking superior coffee and reading the papers in the morning cannot be beaten. A glass of wine or a finger of scotch whiskey with V, on our lanai, at sunset is a good way to wind the day down. I will do this until I do not want to do it anymore.

When I want to, I will be coming back and going full-frontal on the culture that has been ruining our business. There is a whole list of them. We can start with the MBA Bean-Counting Masters of the Universe. Continue with Big Evil and what they have done to denigrate an honorable profession. I will intend on being a player in the crusade to get the message that working conditions are killing people to the people with power. Think television investigative reporter.
I will expect you and every one you can get together to join me.

Pelican Cove

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. MSDEMEANOR  •  Apr 1, 2013 @11:24 am

    you made it.
    good luck

  2. wellillbe  •  Apr 1, 2013 @1:19 pm

    Congrats! Enjoy Sarasota, it is wonderful! And secondly while your here in Florida, how about tackling our BOP. They just let the senate approve a 6:1 tech to Pharmacist Ratio. So now they have essentially halved the number of Pharmacists that are needed in this already over crowded (with pharmacist and pharmacy schools ) state. And they allowed it without any restrictions or placing any real liability on the techs shoulders. Ig my family wasnt rooted here, Id bolt!

  3. Retired RPH  •  Apr 1, 2013 @1:31 pm

    Jim:
    I have been reading & enjoying & agreeing with your great articles for years. After 45 years behind the counter, I retired in 2011. Wishing you a long,healthy Florida retirement

    Retired & happy RPH in Alabama

  4. RPhInMichigan  •  Apr 1, 2013 @7:41 pm

    Hey JP Congratulations! God bless you and your better half, enjoy yourselves!

  5. nancy bostic  •  Apr 1, 2013 @11:32 pm

    You made it to the other side..well deserved

  6. Pharmaciststeve  •  Apr 1, 2013 @11:41 pm

    @wellillbe… Indiana a couple of years ago… the legislature passed a law allowing the BOP changing the RPH/tech ratio from 1:4 to 1:6.. BUT .. the most pathetic thing – IMO.. is the state senator that introduced the legislation was a retired independent RPH and the house legislator that introduced the bill works for a independent pharmacist.. and to the best of my knowledge.. the state pharmacy association did not take a stand one way or another on the issue.

    right now.. the Indiana BOP is made up of one independent RPH, one attorney (consumer member) and the rest are – IMO – corporate shills … at least one now serving his/her FOURTH – four year term. Considering that there are only a total of 7 members on this BOP… IMO.. this would suggest that the BOP may have a monolithic mind set toward the practice of pharmacy in the state.

  7. Jason  •  Apr 2, 2013 @5:46 am

    Best wishes JP on your transition out of the regular retail world. Enjoy the blessings of your hard work. We hope you keep up your writing though!

  8. murgatr  •  Apr 2, 2013 @8:32 am

    Enjoy your well deserved retirement JayPee! Pharmacy is in the business of helping people, not making numbers for corporate. Keep up the good fight.

    murgatr
    Pharm.Tech. RDC’06

  9. Cathy Lane RPh  •  Apr 3, 2013 @7:16 pm

    J.P., glad you’re looking forward to a slower pace with your loved ones, days in the sun, swimming pools, and … looking forward to hearing more from you.

  10. AJ  •  Apr 6, 2013 @9:18 pm

    Congrats JPee! Enjoy it you earned it.

  11. Whistleblower  •  Apr 8, 2013 @2:50 pm

    Congrats Jim ! thank you for all that you do.

    Joe Zorek

  12. the truth  •  Apr 9, 2013 @6:48 am

    Congratulations and enjoy your retirement. Thanks again for all your help.

  13. CathyRph  •  Apr 17, 2013 @9:32 am

    It sounds like a dream! I have a place in Lauderdale by the Sea and one day hope to be on the Ocean for good.!
    I have more years to work before that can happen though, 2 boys in college, not done with the mortgage yet, etc. etc. etc….
    I am so Fortunate to have come in contact with you and this group of Pharmacists! Me being terminated From The big Box Store for no reason, woke me up! Slap! right in the face! I joined the Pharmacy Alliance, have learned to watch my back, Learned From Steves Videos how to handle Front end Managers, Irrate Customers, Metrics, and to Document EVERY THING in an E-mail, copy the email for my records too.
    You are all doing a great service to the once Great Professon of Pharmacy. Thank you so much.
    I wish you all the best with your retirement in Sarasota! Warm tropical breezes, shade under a Palm tree, a good book….Wow, sounds like heaven…

  14. Pharmaciststeve  •  Apr 17, 2013 @11:50 pm

    @Cathy …you are telling your age… no one takes a “book” any more.. it is a Ipad or Kindle.. that way you can have dozens of “good books” in your hand :-)

    IMO.. unfortunately more and more RPH’s are going to have to endure the “bitter taste” in their mouth of the new reality of being a Senior Pharmacist working for corporate pharmacies…. that you have recently discovered… before they wise up… after you are walked out the door… it is too late to document all the irregularies that you have been coerced or forced to do.

    My understanding is the network of attorneys across the country that are interested in dealing with these issues is either complete or nearly complete with attorneys that are licensed in all the states.

    what was a few Pharmacists standing up for what is right a year or two ago.. is now measured is multiple dozens and growing weekly.

    As National Public Relations Director for The Pharmacy Alliance… I know of many and hear about many more… I have enough other things to deal with than keeping an exact body count and a blow by blow accounting.. I just know that it is happening…

    If all goes as planned… 2013 with be the start of the “paybacks are hell” period for Senior RPH’s

  15. Pharmacist Bob  •  Apr 21, 2013 @11:13 pm

    How about a fund to pay for costs (attorney etc.) to bring action against said culpable chains. I would donate!

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