The Five Minute Fail

22 05 2011

I’m sure by now many of you have seen the ads: “Let us fill your prescription in 15 minutes. Guaranteed.*”

Oh, sweet readers. Y’all love me enough that I don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining why this is a bad idea, right? I don’t need to devote an entire post to how asinine it is to place such an emphasis on time that quality control might very well fall by the wayside? I mean, I’d really like to think a pharmacy that consistently fell short of meeting the 15-minute goal would be evaluated and perhaps staffing issues would be addressed. I’d also like to think unicorns are real and money grows on trees.

In case you’re wondering what happens when you rush a prescription, I’ll use my five minute fail today as a cautionary tale.

When you get a prescription from your doctor, many of you probably look at it and see what looks like some freakish shorthand. That’s because it is some freakish shorthand—specifically, Latin shorthand. The doctor’s written instructions are called the “Signatura,” from the Latin “signa,” meaning “write” or “label.” We call it a “sig code.” Many sig codes use the same phrases, so we have them entered into our computer program as quick codes. No need to type the same words over and over again, right? So when your doctor wants you to take one tablet by mouth every day, we type something along the lines of “1T PO QD” (which technically translates to, “1 tablet per os quaque die”).

I know. Don’t ask me. That’s just how it’s done. Fortunately, we know what the doctors mean, and we translate it for you.

Except when we don’t.

See, the problem with quick codes is they only work when you type them exactly as they’re entered. How stupid is that?

Today was a slow day at the pharmacy, until a small group of customers decided to descend upon us at once. I’m convinced our customers plot against—they text or call each other to make sure they all show up at the same time. It’s diabolical. It wasn’t a massive rush, and nobody was terribly rude, but I always feel (as I believe most pharmacy personnel do) I should get prescriptions done as quickly as possible when customers are waiting.

In my haste to input prescriptions, I managed to place a stray O in a most inopportune place:


It’s times like this I’m really glad someone double-checks my work.

In case you’re wondering, Clomiphene is the generic for Clomid, a fertility medication. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any studies showing increased rates of fertility with daily bowel movements on days 4-8 of a woman’s menstrual cycle.*****

Then again, I haven’t done extensive research. Anyone want to write a research proposal? I’ll pay you with Mt. Dew LiveWire. I may or may not have offered sexual favors to the Pepsi rep and/or the grocery manager at my workplace if they can stock LiveWire for more than a week.

*”Guarantee applies to prescriptions dropped off in-store and at drive-through only. Offer is limited to one gift card per order of 3 prescriptions maximum. Certain exclusions apply including services, or prescriptions requiring ordering, prescriber contact, third party assistance, professional services, or prescriptions presented immediately before or during Pharmacist lunch break.”

**”Or if we have to check the Controlled Substance database because you’re obviously a crack whore.”

***Okay, I made that one up, but it should totally be on the list.

****Also, how would a person present a prescription during the pharmacist lunch break? If it’s an actual honest-to-goodness lunch break, isn’t the pharmacy closed? Our pharmacy doesn’t have real lunch breaks. We just stuff food willy-nilly into our mouths when we have a moment between helping customers. I think that’s how a lot of independent or small chain pharmacies work. But if a pharmacist isn’t available, a pharmacy can’t be operating…therefore, a prescription can’t be presented during the pharmacist’s lunch break. Right? Am I missing something here?

*****Or is she just supposed to poo the tablet? Those are terrible instructions. I’m the worst fertility specialist ever.

******I totally taught you Latin today. You’re welcome.



3 responses

25 05 2011

Seriously still laughing about this. Expecially since I got to do the whole clomid route…I think I would have dies laughing if instructions like this showed up on my prescription….
I had Dave read it…
He laughed even harder!

23 05 2011

Nah, you didn’t totally teach me Latin. Just partially.

22 05 2011

This made me do my Beavis and Butthead laugh.

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