Posts tagged ‘baby boomers’

The First Anniversary

Bistro Port-brite4-10-15-Charlotte

We met with the lead doctor of the transplant team.

He said, “Come back in July and we’ll get her on the waiting list for a liver.”

One year ago today, my wife had exactly seventeen days to live.

No one expected such a timeline.

We received the news in February she needed a liver transplant.

My attention was focused on how our lives would change and what it might be like after the surgery. I had made plans to retire so I could take care of her.

It never occurred to me she wouldn’t make it to the surgery.

Monday, 4-20-15

Bob’s doctor admitted her to the hospital for fluids and tube feeding. Gastric problems had made it impossible for her to gain much needed weight to prepare for the transplant. A feeding tube would bypass the stomach and avoid problems.After four days, it appeared as though the plan was working. She had gained a few pounds and lab values looked good.

Saturday, 4-25-15

X-rays to check on the placement of the feeding tube revealed the presence of double pneumonia.

Bob and I have a mutual friend we both admire and love. Miriam Goldberg has a hobby of watching the news for celebrity deaths. Anytime a celebrity dies, she knows the story. Every time we would ask her something like, “What happened to Merle Haggard? How did he die?”  Miriam would reply, “His heart stopped beating.”

4-27 calendarMonday, 4-27-15 at 4:37 P.M. Bob’s heart stopped beating.
Seventeen days from today, family members will be in town to join me in observing the first anniversary of Bob’s death.

It will be a special day for us all. Not because she died, but because she lived, our lives will never be the same again.What a blessing.

I’m at peace.

 

 

The Chronic Pain Conundrum

Extreme Rx

I would have a lot of questions for both the prescriber and the patient. On the surface, with no details, this really smacks of diversion.

One of my chronic pain patients, “Alpha,” moved to Florida. About a year before that,  I had received notification from the pharmacy chain management where I worked that it would be prudent for me to do a bit of CYA for myself and the company. I was to speak to the prescribers for my chronic pain patients and make notes in their profiles as to their diagnosis. In other words, why are these patients taking so much pain meds? When Alpha found out about this, she accused me of calling her a drug addict and causing her doctor to question her need for the meds. [Not her Rx shown above]

About two weeks ago, I received a phone call from Alpha. She was having trouble finding a pharmacy that would fill her prescriptions in Florida. I referred her to my successor at the store where we had become acquainted. I’ve been gone from that pharmacy for two years. Her daily dose would be fatal for a patient who had not built a tolerance for such high doses. Her doctor requires regular lab tests to ensure she is taking the medication.

Yesterday, I refused to fill a prescription for a “patient” who is on a similar regimen of drugs. We’ll refer to him as “Beta.” His doctor doesn’t do blood or urine tests to confirm compliance.  His doctor requires cash payments for office visits at the time of the visit. This patient drives a new Mercedes. Yesterday, as he often does, he wanted his prescription filled a week early. He became unruly when I pointed out that the doctor himself had put on the prescription when it could be filled.

Pharmacists from around the country report similar occurrences in their practices.

10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.

10,000 Baby Boomers reach age 65 every day.

Both scenarios are commonplace now as baby boomers turn gray and average from  three to five prescriptions (not all pain meds) as daily maintenance. It’s apparent that boomers have a lot of pain. This point was driven home by two noteworthy events:

  1. pain management clinics began to spring up around the country and…
  2. The government made it easier and quicker for pharmacists to order schedule two controlled drugs. (Amazing, isn’t it? The government made something easier?)

Then I met Betty Lou (my favorite generic name) but to be consistent here, she will be “Gamma.” She’s been my patient now for a couple of years. When she first started doing business at my store, her doctor confirmed that she was a terminally ill cancer patient. She’s been terminal now for over two years. She takes three different narcotic pain meds, Ritalin® in the morning, and sleeping pills at night. She takes meds for nausea and constipation. She’s obese.

And this represents only three of the hundreds of patients we see on a weekly basis.

Now meet patient “Delta.” Delta comes in regularly with prescriptions for 240 Ultram®, 180 Percocet®, and 90 Dilaudid® tablets(all generics.) Every month, Delta presents that month’s prescriptions a few days early. Delta’s chief complaint is “Every time I come into this pharmacy there’s a problem.” The recurring problem is that Delta wants early refills every month. Delta’s doctor writes the date each prescription can be filled into the instructions.

Some of the patients who seem legit, take so much, I wonder. Are they really taking that many tablets?

Some of the patients who seem legit, take so much, I wonder. Are they really taking that many tablets?

Finally, patient, “Epsilon.”  Epsilon sees a different doctor every week. Sometimes the doctor is from out of state. I’m not aware of any pharmacy in our area of the state that will fill an out of state prescription for schedule two controlled substance.

It’s disheartening to see bona fide long term pain management patients become addicted to drugs and then watch that dependence change their behavior to the point that we cannot deal with them rationally.

Another day in the life of a pharmacist.

To be continued tomorrow, HERE.

_______________________

Acknowledgement: Free lance writer and investigative reporter, George McGinn contributed to this article.

Forty by Fives

February 20 of next month will mark the fortieth anniversary of my liscensure as a pharmacist. I’ve been counting tablets and capsules by fives, for four decades.Counting Tray

I earned a B.S. in pharmacy at Northeast Louisiana University [now known as the University of Louisiana–Monroe] and graduated in December of 1974.

It’s been an interesting forty years, including a seven year hiatus in which I left pharmacy for Dale Carnegie Training and New York Life. I returned to pharmacy in 1992.  For “About Me” descriptions in the social media, this is what I list: “Husband, father, grandfather, pharmacist, photographer, and published author.”

Over the next twelve months I’ll post a few blogs with reflections on my career along with some guest blogs by other pharmacists and health care folks I’ve met along the way. In addition, there will be a few blogs to chronicle the my evolution from small town farm boy to small town pharmacist.

Maybe someone will find them of interest.

A Visit to Mayberry–Weekend Writing Warriors

904b8-aaa-www

The Eight Sentences:

Mayberry Soda Shoppe

Walkers(with the green awning)=Mayberry Soda Shoppe. Notice the open space awaits our guys from LOOM.

White had listened to the conversation and at the same time, looked up Mt. Airy on his Smartphone, “Tripadvisor has a bunch of good ratings for the Mayberry Soda Fountain. It’s on Main Street so it should be easy enough to locate–it’s also known as Walkers.”

Barger smiled at Dryden and said, “Maybe we’ll run into Barney Fife and he can tell us all about the Hummer that did a flip into the New River near Austinville.”

Dryden winked and said, “Yeah, and maybe you can use some of that two hundred bucks you won to buy us lunch.”

Scully executed a perfect parallel park and the four men walked into the restaurant. As they walked in, Barger asked, “How did you get lucky enough to find a space right in front of the restaurant?”

Scully smiled, patted his obese friend on the back as he waddled through the door and answered, “They saved it for me.”

The Set Up:

In this clip, readers learn the result of Hawk’s bet with Mr. White along with my choice of how to handle the scene. I chose this route rather than a detailed description of the shot, the bullet crashing through the windshield, and the explosion of the driver’s head. I think my readers can figure out what happened without a review of the blood, the guts, and the gore. Writing a scene like this is, for me, analogous to writing a sex scene. Everyone knows what happens between the sheets. It’s more fun if it happens in the readers’ imagination anyway. Feedback, please.

You got eight sentences?

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.The  same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers. For a treat, please check out their work, too.

Many of the contributors to Weekend Writing Warriors alsoSundaySnip

participate in the Snippet Sunday group on Facebook.

Shooting on the fly

Testosterone Truck

Hawk Barger’s “testosterone truck.”

The Eight Sentences:

“If it’s the same car load of idiots we saw at the airport, they shouldn’t be surprised at anything we throw at them–I’m a bit surprised they came back for another dose. Want me to slow down and let them pull up beside us,” asked Scully, “they’re in the other lane.”

Barger reached around to his left side and unholstered a Smith and Wesson .44 magnum revolver with a seven-and-half-inch barrel, “I can take out the driver with one shot.”Bargers 44

Dryden said, “That gun barrel’s probably longer’n your dick. You got a big Harley, a big gun, and I bet you got a big four-wheel-drive pickup truck, too, to compensate.”

White held up a C-note, “I got a hundred bucks says you’ll miss that driver with one shot.”

Barger took the bet, “Make it two hundred and you’ve got a bet, Mr. White.

Barger rolled down the window, leaned out and leveled his big gun at the Hummer.

The Back Story:

We introduced the League of Old Men (LOOM), HERE, last year.

In this week’s snippet, we catch the action as four of their members are about to face an adversarial group for the second time in one morning. Their previous encounter was the subject of this snippet.

This excerpt and the next few will be from my third novel, A Year Without Killing which is now in it’s serial run.

NOTE:  Mr. White is of no relation to the “Mr. White” in Reservoir Dogs. He is, however, a distant relative of Bud White. Without the aid of your search engine, who remembers who Bud White was?

HINT: Bud White is a fictitious character from a big movie a few years ago.

Hit us with your best shot! 904b8-aaa-www

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.The  same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers. For a treat, please check out their work, too.

Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.SundaySnip

Claudia chooses life and death

ProChoice

The Eight Sentences:

“Abortion isn’t my choice.”
“Why not, I thought you were pro-choice.”
“You’ve known me a long time, Debert, I believe a woman should be free to choose—so I made a choice. You know how I was raised and by whom—you know my religious background is nonexistent, what I know about man and God and law I’ve learned in classes and from books I’ve read. How many people do you know that can say that 100% of their visits to churches have been as tourists?”
“None.”
“I’ve visited courtrooms to study body language, seating arrangements and behavior more than I’ve been into churches, and speaking of body language, when I can feel something inside me kicking and moving around on its own, without my conscious influence, well, for me, that’s life and I’m not going to end it. You never know, it could turn out to be the president one day — or better yet, a great world leader.”

The Back Story:

At this point in her life, Claudia has already made a career choice and has two notches on her gun. For more on her decision to kill for a living but to give birth to her child, please check out my wife’s blog HERE.

Come write with us:

Join us here at Weekend Writing Warriors.904b8-aaa-wwwThe  same link will take you to the work of dozens of talented writers.

For a treat, please check out their work, too.

Here’s the Facebook link for the Sunday Snippett group.SundaySnip

Book Review: Help Wanted by Charmaine Gordon

Readers can take a walk on the wild side (not Lou Reedish) in one setting with this quick easy read. Perhaps some readers, such as this reviewer, will consider it a bit “wild” for a couple who have been married for thirty-five years to flirt with infidelity. They will both be tempted. What made me feel this was a bit unusual was that the couple we meet in Help Wanted, is introduced as happy empty-nesters.  Couples can appear to be happy to the outside world, but are they really? The plot resonated with me because I shocked friends and family by ending a marriage after twenty-six years and three different marriage counsellors. (It had been dead for years, but that’s another story.)Help Wanted

Help Wanted is the second in a trilogy of stories billed as “A River’s Edge Romantic Suspense.”  Charmaine Gordon writes books about women, baby boomers, who survive and thrive. Her motto is, “Take one step and then another to leave your past behind and begin again.” Gordon has been busy turning out six books and several short stories in three years. She’s always at work on the next story. Charmaine Gordon may be the hardest working author I know, certainly for a woman whose children are baby boomers.

Meet Steve and Sally Atwood.

He was recently given a golden handshake without the parachute.

Now the white shirt and tie guy is a handyman around town.

She’s looking for work.

She hopes to find an outlet for her creativity and journalistic talents.

Both are surprised when they discover what each really seeks and how their personal needs at this point in their lives converge and diverge.

Therein lies the suspense.

Can they manage what they find out about themselves and each other?

Life throws us curves and fastballs every day. How big is the strike zone and can the Atwoods manage the change-up pitch?

Adult readers of all ages can identify with the Atwoods and will be challenged to question themselves and the decisions they make. Cultural references will certainly appeal to boomers and the author has thoughtfully included explanations for the younger reader to connect.

Readers will also enjoy a vicarious performance for military veterans by canine performers representing Paws for a Cause.

Most baby boomers I know would still be teenagers were it not for mirrors and cameras.

The Atwoods are no different.

Will they have a happy ending?

Romance is not my preferred genre when I select the next book to read. Help Wanted was good enough to keep me clicking to the next page on my e-book reader.

Catch up with Charmaine Gordon on Facebook or at her blog, HERE.

%d bloggers like this: