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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Something To Try

You have had it happen to you. Your least favorite song is stuck in your head for days, tormenting you, causing loss of sleep, making you want to tear your hair out. It happens to me quite frequently.

It has come to my attention that this is due to a glitch in the auditory cortex (the part of the brain that processes sounds and stores them for remembering later). This cortex has an itchy trigger finger and can put a painful musical cap in your ass with replay of your least favorite tunes after only a few notes.

This just proves that my brain hates me. It likes to taunt me with Hall and Oates, Celine Dion, etc. I don't even have to be at work for this to happen because most retail stores use similarly programmed music. The theory is that enjoyable relaxing music makes you want to stay in the store and spend money. I reject the music selections provided by the retail industry as most of them cause me mental pain and ruin my shopping experience.

There is actually a simple solution. This glitch can be overridden by either listening to the entire song or doing mathematical computation. This cortex will forget the damning song if you do math. I am going to try math the next time I am tortured because the thought of listening to the entire boat song (My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion) makes me want to throw up.....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inner Workings Of My Brain

To let you in on some of the things that make me who I am I will let you in on last night. Keep one thing in mind. My friends and I clung to one idea throughout school that is still my personal mantra: "Pharmacists by day, dirt rockers by night." This duality is what keeps me from wanting to slit my wrists in a bathtub after a bad night of work realizing that this is the job I will have until the day I die because I just can't bear the thought of going back to school.

So I got off my 72 hour straight work week and took a nap. Got up, blasted some music for motivation and got ready for the show. Flew out the door and picked up my gay concert buddy so we could make our ritual stop at 7-11 for large drinks to mix pints of liquor in and drink in the parking lot before the show. We went to the liquor store at my work and got our preferred adult beverages of choice and went to the car to make road soda magic and head to the venue. On the way to the car a gentleman with huge balls walked passed us (I wasn't paying attention but my gay friend told me so I have to believe that a conniseur of male genitalia knows what he is talking about). We spent the next 20 minutes making jokes about tea-bagging and how a man with elephantitis could possibly kill someone or cause a concussion from a well placed tea-bagging hit.

Tea-bagging: the act of plopping tighty whities (men's undie briefs) full of male genitalia on another individual's head. To see this act watch the movie Pecker. It is quite hilarious for so many of the wrong reasons in the eyes of polite society..."Full of grace!"...somehow I laugh every time...

While the first band was performing we laughed at how they seemed to be stuck in 1982 hair metal and had the receding hairlines to prove it except their drummer looked like he was all of 15. Weird because he reminded me of the Sherminator from American Pie which made me laugh harder.

The singer of the second band is a cancer survivor. He looked like crap but chemo is a b**ch when you tour a lot, even resting between gigs won't help. This turned into a discussion on how testicular cancer seems to pop up in guitar and bass players. I would like to see a study based upon the assumption that chronic exposure to the electromagnetic field generated by the instruments (because they are generally held in close proximity to the genitalia during performance) leads to the genetic mutations that result in sperm mutation and cancerous growth in the testicles.

The final band played and the aggressive herd mentality known as a mosh pit appears. My friend and I watched from the balcony and noticed that most of the men in the pit were underage, ie. not old enough to drink due to the lack of armbands present designating drinkers from non. There were the token handful of girls in the pit because we are tough too and parents with their children. After checking out all the shirtless men who would end in my jail sentence because they were at the least under 21 and at the most under 18 I once again came to the realization that if I do have children I will be the mosh pit mom making sure my kids don't get mortally wounded and beating the crap out of the a**hole that thinks he can get away with it.

To round out the evening, no concert night is complete without fast food. Nothing tastes better when you are full of liquor than nachos, burritos, and large fountain sodas. Thanks Taco Bell for staying open late. I dropped off my friend with his Taco Bell delights and chauffeured my own home. I changed into shorts and a t-shirt and watched Hell's Kitchen and the Reaper season finale on TIVO while enjoying my nachos. At some point I passed out.

Upon waking the first thing I hear is how the average human colon has a 9 inch diameter and when fully coated with mucus it can cause you to hold an extra 20 pounds of weight. Damn, not this infomercial again. The 7-day colon cleanse really pisses me off. Seriously, there is no documentation that states you must poop once per day to be normal. Depending on how much you eat, what you eat, medications, and your normal bowel habits you may go anywhere from more than once per day to once every 3 or 4 days. This magic colon cleanse is not necessary. Especially not for the exorbitant price they ask. If I want to sit in the bathroom for 7 days I will make some chili with lots of jalapenos, chilies, and Tabasco sauce. It works every time.

So now I am angry at the infomercial that clearly states at the bottom of the screen that the creator and salesman for this product has no medical background and severely dehydrated and nauseated from drinking all night. Good times, good times.

In the end a well-placed kidney shot will knock down the strongest of men and every activity I participate in results in some medically relevant discussion. Once medical training gets in it defines everything that you do and tries to rewrite who you are, hence the desire and need for duality.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I was counseling an elderly lady on the phone. My boss was standing next to me working on the computer. He heard "We did not all go to the same school at the same time so our training may be a little different." He is cracking up and I have to bite my tongue not to laugh.

What he didn't hear of the conversation was what a different pharmacist had answered to the same question I just answered and she wanted to know why the two were different. So you don't have to ask in "comments" she wanted to suck on a piece of candy to help with irritation in her throat because she took an 8 ounce glass of water with a heaping teaspoonful of metamucil in it the night before and her throat is kind of dry and rough this morning. Then she wanted to know if drinking water would be better or if she should call her doctor because of the irritation. I told her to either try both or whichever she was more comfortable with but she didn't necessarily need to call the doctor unless the throat irritation got worse throughout the day or she had a fever with it which could be something other than metamucil irritation. She thought maybe she had taken too much metamucil and overdosed. I told her it is not absorbed by the body so it is not a problem for the little over the teaspoonful that she used. It does have several warnings about choking on the package.

The reality of modern medicine is similar to that of technology. The advances are coming faster and cheaper as time goes on. It can be baffling to keep up with it all. I don't think any one person could possibly process and effectively use ALL of the information available and becoming available at any given time. The best we can do in pharmacy is keep up with the latest on newly documented bad problems with medications, everything we had been taught previously, and keep up with new treatment protocols and monitoring parameters for better patient outcomes. I would say we need to keep up with new drugs coming out but since most of them have been slight modifications of existing drugs with the same side effects, efficacy, safety, etc. there really isn't any "new drug" info to learn.

I always encourage patients to get second and even third or fourth opinions if it is something serious. Hospitals have teams and divisions that treat specific problems. There are even divisions within teams like an infectious disease team having another team that exclusively treats immunocompromised patients. This is necessary because there is a lot to process and a life in the balance. At the end of the day we want every patient to get better and eventually go home OK.

I like to complain that the continuing education system in place is not sufficient to supplement our knowledge necessary to give patients the best possible care. Some institutions and chains sponsor their own education programs. Many professional medical groups have yearly meetings that include a variety of continuing education lectures. Is it enough? I am not sure it is. No great all-encompassing solution easily presents itself so keep up with what you can and save some lives.