Friday, October 30, 2009

And God said onto Moses, "let there be lunch"

So here it is, Section 13:39-6.4 -no not of the bible- of the NJ State Board of Pharmacy bylaws: Meal Breaks. A sole pharmacist on duty may take a 30 minute meal break while working in a pharmacy. A sign shall be posted in the pharmacy stating "Pharmacist on meal break, but available for emergencies and counseling." So why, dear reader, do these aforementioned pharmacists not demand their rights from the chains that bind, and take those precious 30 minutes. Because they are afraid of getting fired, that's why. But the CVF and Walblues managers are laughing it up in some Applebees restaurant (they too are getting screwed by the tippy top tier management who are truly chuckling on some island resort in Tortola.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


There's something about this constant rain and memorizing mundane pharmacy laws that makes me either want to cry or eat an entire tin of ginger snap cookies. At least they're not as fattening as a column of double creme oreos.

Today I ventured back to the cubicles at Seton Hall where I could see the human form and secretly pity others plodding through some gargantuan textbook. I just couldn't bear to be alone in my house one more day. My husband printed the entire laws and regulations section from the NJ Board of Pharmacy and off I went, resolute and focused. I lasted three hours.

I got home around 2, flipped on the TV and came upon the history channel documenting the Nazi seige of Rome. Watched footage of a handful of Italian partisans sabotage a German tank parade. "Ten Italians for every German killed," Hitler decreed. Once again I feel pharmacy and WWII are brutally in sync.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Feeling better today. And once again sorry for... was it yesterday's tirade? Can't keep track of time these days, each day passes into the next with all this studying. Just finished section 4 of NJ regulations- after three numbing hours- and now off to meet R for lunch. Gorgeous day, kind of happy, realizing as painful as the studying is, it still beats working at Acme. Therein lies the dilemma, the paradox, that after all this work, it's only to return to the misery of working in a retail pharmacy hellhole.

Driving to the Windsor Diner in Westfield for lunch, passed an A & P advertising a newly opened pharmacy. Had an aha moment. Maybe, just maybe, that might be a suitable, palatable workplace. I mean, it couldn't possibly be as busy as an Acme or Walblues. And there are all those memories of my mother and I shopping there (well the one in Asbury Park) in the 60's, happily snacking on cheese-nips. Could it be a sign?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moo cows

Something tells me cooking blogs get more hits. I mean, really, who exactly would find a pharmacy blog interesting except maybe a clutch of retail geeks that would have been happier doing research at a pharmaceutical house and a smattering of chain store 'slave to money' types who sold out long ago and are just plain miserable. Sorry, but I'm not in a great mood.

Let's face it, I'm not real adept at enticing readership, call it lack of leadership, or after this, insulting the readership. As you can see, studying brings out the absolute worst in me. Please have mercy on me today. I'm a wreck.

Rob and I were up at five this morning talking about how we both aren't good at the corporate game: the ingratiating, the maneuvering, the deception needed, to lure people onto one's band wagon. It takes a certain amount of guile, a bit of the charm, and then the crowds gather. Rob's company sent out a list of the front men in the now downsized firm and it was full of these snake charmers, no surprise there, but what really irks me, is that the moo cows always follow.

It's especially apparent in these women magazines, or in these cooking blogs, just read the comments, "Oh Molly, I so know what you mean about your friend Mav!! You are just so lucky to have these wonderful people in your life." Oh save me the rave. Meanwhile Molly's blog seems to have gone to sunnier pastures, and now where do all her loyal cow fans go?

By the way I almost married a snake charmer. But after two and a half years I just couldn't do it. He was so funny, handsome, had tons of moo cow friends, yes, even rich. Maybe I got scared of living on the tip most summit, I just naturally gravitate to safer ground. Boy did I ever hit ground.

Or, in other words, a comment now and again from you would help.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Demerara sugar makes the medicine go down

Sitting in my pajamas reading the cooking blog Orangette, wishing I could just stay like this all day, maybe attempt her banana bread recipe with Demerara sugar, take a hot bath midday to offset this October chill. I'd drink a strong cup of coffee late morning, with of course that oven-warmed, sugar-glistening bread.

But guilt calls, in the form of the Abood pharmacy book chapter 5, and Rob's fretting voice this morning over bills. I know this layoff will be a slow drain, hitting us more and more as the weeks and months go by. I'm trying to keep it at bay, buying groceries well, cleaning up around the house (in preparation of letting the cleaning lady go?) and sending Rob off with bagged lunches. But I know it's an uphill battle, and eventually we'll be standing in the hallway angry and yelling, and he'll say those dreaded words, "why are you taking so long getting your %%$$## pharmacy degree!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Abood and me

Yes, I know, writing a confessional on being a pharmacist is kind of moot when I'm no longer one. A temporary setback. Memorizing mundane DEA rules for two excruciating hours till I could scream with boredom, wanting to hop on a train to New York City and escape to a really expensive lunch, wonderful book in hand, and then a movie. You know, kind of the life I had.

Thankful for the Abood book on Federal pharmacy law. As boring as the subject matter is, he does try and spice it up and really does a rather good job considering.

Got an e-mail response from the district manager asking if I was done with my internship. Unfazed as to knowing I wasn't even working. So, it's clear, the seemingly corporate decisions of cutting me from the payroll were from Sally and Rachel, rather unilaterally. Creepy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Elusive Date

Well, I never did hear from Rachel. Another pharmacist confided that she overheard her saying I wasn't needed on Monday, something about hiring someone else. It seems that the grapevine is the preferred method of corporate chain store delivery these days. Confused. And once again, hurt. Handling rejection has never been my strong suit.

Or playing hard to get; admittedly I called Rachel a few to many times over the last few days. In desperation, sent an e-mail to the district manager saying I'd worked only one day in the past three weeks and just curious, was this sanctioned?

So, nothing left to do but study. Mostly rote memorization of the Schedule IV appetite suppressants reminding me of my own dieting shortfalls. Went for a walk, carrot stick in hand and thought of starting a new blog on crash dieting. A few titles came to me, 'Confessions of a crash dieter' (already taken), 'Over the Hill to Skinny'- get the double meaning? 'Tribulations of a Fatty.' Day one, ate one carrot stick, walked one mile, lost one pound. Day two, ate two carrot sticks, walked two kilometers, lost two pounds. Sort of like Julie & Julia, only instead of 365 recipes in a year, 365 pounds in a, oh forget it.

Who knew I once tried a Schedule I drug? No not heroine. No not LSD. I was 25, madly in love, or so I thought, only now I think it might have been the MDA, the love drug.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The brain squish

OK, so I guess I started off too quickly, studied too much, too soon. My head felt like it was stuck in some medieval vise, about to implode--self-imposed implosion always being the worst. Basically, I need to build up momentum. So this week I brought the draconian down a notch. Now I'm studying at home instead of the library which was too loud anyway, with all the whispering and annoying finger tapping on laptops till I felt like I was dropped into a vast stenographers' pool.

Of course at home there's other distractions, like my mother-in -law calling every half hour asking where her son is. "He's at work," I tell her. I feel guilty as hell, that I should drop everything and visit her, but I turn off that part of brain and study. Or I take my son for his yearly checkup, arrive just in time, then sit and wait for an hour. I did yell at the doctor. Again felt guilty. And I know this is all because I have to get this thing done, if I don't do it, it will just fall back on itself and be one huge, wasted, forgotten effort. You know, Sisyphus as hapless, perennial pharmacy intern.

Meanwhile I got home yesterday from the Jersey shore house--where I actually installed my first toilet seat, mowed the lawn, then sat in my car at Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park and studied for 2 hours- only to hear Rachel's clinical voice asking me to call her at Acme. Great I'm thinking, Rob's job is hanging by a dendrite, and now the commandante is going to ax me. Last week I told her I couldn't work on Yom Kippur, could she fit me in any other hours? Asked her again as I was leaving, "Can't you fit me in at all, as it is I'm only working one day a week, seriously I'll remember nothing in two weeks. " I guess we know where that went. So now she's pulling the same stunt, unless of course I'm fired. I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Typing and filling

Reality has settled in over the last few days. A rather sobering affair that reality. So now I know the road ahead, which is to study four hours a day, take the MJPE, PASS MJPE, and get the hell out of Acme as fast as possible.

I worked yesterday, another manic Monday, but surprisingly no one bothered me, except for Rachel saying "what did you do?" when the paper ran out at the cash register. "I didn't do anything!" I snapped back at her. But she was busy giving shots all day and I was mostly left alone filling, then later typing and entering Rx's which went smoothly in that coldly efficient, robotic way.

The hours go by, but I feel sorry for everyone around me. Sorry for the pharmacist Harry, in his late sixties, who has worked in this god forsaken profession for over 35 years, his reddened eczema-scabbed hands and arms to show for it. Sorry for the menopausal clerks with sunken eyes and aching backs who barely say hello in the morning. But mostly sorry for myself; I have a comparison, I know deep down that this is complete drudgery work, that everyone's in it for the money, whether it be the minimum wage, or the $52.00 per hour pharmacist going rate. My little secret...that my old writing life and those years in the print business were pleasureable, yes, even magical.

But who cares, now I'm just one of them. When people approach the counter they see a woman with pursed lips and tri-focal glasses straining to read the computer, or to hear a voice on the phone amid all the chaos. "Are you new?" someone asked yesterday. No, I tell him, I've been here 1000 hours. And counting, I'm thinking. But I get it, I have that look like everything is an effort.