Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring is here!

Spring is here, spring is here, it's the best time of the year!

If this seams familiar… then you must know Little Bill. At the least you have a child in your life that does. If you don't check out, it will give you answers to your questions. Yes, I do have an adorable 5 year old niece. She is extremely active and can't wait to get outside and play! Unfortunately, while we had a ton of snow this winter, the cold temperatures keep her inside. When it starts to get below 32 degrees F, then it is too cold to for little ones to play outside. Anything below 0, forget about it.

I came home to find the living and dining rooms devoid of furniture. I wasn't too concerned since I don't own any of it except for the piano, which was in its usual place. I found out later that my niece got a new bike and wanted to ride. So, Grammie cleared out those rooms so my niece could ride her new bike. Isn't that nice? Grammies can do those kinds of things.

Spring is also the time to clean… Yuck! Ok so I know that I am a bit behind on mine. But, come on I work two jobs and go to school. I am lucky that I get my laundry done. Ok so my goal this summer with help from my brother-in-law is to install the closet organizer, redo the electrical box for my ceiling fan, and hopefully, run network cables throughout the house and have network ports in every room of the house. We might not have luxury bathrooms, but we have internet in every room. LOL! Maybe, this year I will finally get my room arranged so I can cram all of my stuff in.

Spring also means that a new quarter of classes have begun. I got through the first week no problems, though I am waiting for one quiz grade. Trying to understand some of the subject matter that I am now dealing with is like trying to explain brain surgery to a 5 year old. Although, a 5 year old might stand a better chance of understanding brain surgery than I do international economics. So that means another week of classes has started and I need to get to work reading, doing homework, answering discussion questions, and taking quizzes. I can't wait until I am done. You know it has taken a long time, but it will be worth it. I am only praying that I will be able to find a job in the field that I am studying.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Why you have to wait so long at the Pharmacy

WARNING: Reading this may upset you. The author cannot be held responsible for your reaction to this post. If you are on medication it is strongly advised that you take your medication before reading this post.

Every day the wait times at the pharmacy can vary from as little as 20 minutes to over 2 hours. "Why," you ask? Well there are a myriad of reasons for your long wait. I shall list just a few of them:

  1. The Doctor wrote the prescription incorrectly:
    1. For a strength that doesn't exist
    2. For a medication that doesn't exist or is no longer produced
    3. The doctor didn't sign the script for a medication that the law requires a doctor's signature (and no the nurse cannot sign for the doctor, don't even ask.)
  2. Your insurance coverage has changed and you haven't given us your new card. While your medication is ready, we now have to go back and input your new insurance card and resubmit the claim to the correct insurance. (Don't read this and say you have never done this, because we all have.)
  3. You have just turned 65 and have more insurance cards than Donald Trump has real estate, and you don't know which ones are current. But want me to try all of them and find out which will give you the best price on all 12 of your prescriptions. Never mind, that while I am preoccupied with finding this information out that 6 other people have dropped off new prescriptions that need to be filled today and 14 others have called in refills for 30 different medications. And 7 of those refills need to be filled before I go home this evening, because they took their last dose today and they NEED their medication by 3:00 pm because that is the only time that they can get a ride to the pharmacy. Did I forget to mention that it is now 2:30 pm and that I have 150 prescriptions that arrived before you?
  4. Let's not forget that by LAW employees need to take breaks and go to lunch. Just like you, the people working in the pharmacy need to eat too. By about 1:00 pm I get hungry and you don't want to deal with me if I haven't eaten all day, trust me. Instead of having the Pharmacist and 4 techs, there is now the Pharmacist and 2 techs, so it will take a bit longer to get you prescriptions filled. Don't take your prescription in at noon and expect to have it filled in 10 minutes, it ain't gonna happen!
  5. Your insurance now requires a prior approval on your breathing medication that they covered last year. This means that I need to call the doctor's office and have them call the insurance company. The insurance company wants your doctor's office to justify why you are on this medication. Your insurance needs proof that you have already tried the less expensive brand of breathing medication that they do cover and that it hasn't worked. Because you are not the only patient that your doctor's office has to deal with today, your doctor's office might not be able to call on this until the next day. Please understand that under the best of circumstances that this process takes at least 24 hours. But in most cases it takes longer. So please don't yell at the nice people in the pharmacy, we are only trying to help you. If you want someone to yell at call your insurance company.
  6. You walk up to the counter and tell me that you need all of your medications refilled. I ask you for your birth date and look you up in the computer. I find 5 people with the same birth date. I ask your name. You look at me like I have 5 heads and in a huff give me your name. (We won't mention that I see nearly over a hundred different people each day and I don't remember everyone's name). I pull up your file and see that there are 5 different medications that you are taking. I ask which ones that you need refilled and your response is all of them. I order "all of them". You return in 15 minutes expecting them to be ready, even though I told you that it would take at least 45 minutes to get them filled. You are just hoping that a miracle happened while you were browsing the latest CD from Barry Manilow, Iron Maiden, Michael Jackson, or Madonna, take your pick. Meanwhile, your insurance company won't let us fill 3 of them because you just got them filled last week. You yell at the tech at the pick-up station for 15 minutes while she is trying to explain all of this to you. After your tirade you look in your bag and realize that you did indeed get your refills last week and also that you have a list of the medications that you needed filled today. You sheepishly admit this, but never apologize for yelling at her. And then when you look at your 2 filled prescriptions, you are shocked that your blood pressure medication now has a co-pay of $65. You yell some more at the tech, who then explains that you must have a deductible, a spend-down, or that you are in the doughnut hole. You continue to scream at the tech, who is only doing her job. Insisting that you don't like doughnut holes and that you have never eaten doughnut holes. (If you don't get this one ask your pharmacist, when he/she is off duty). The tech looks everything up on the system and yes, last month you only had a $4.00 co-pay, but this $65.00 co-pay is the price that the insurance told us to charge you. You are just sure that that medication is on the $4.00 generic list. Your medication is in fact a brand name medication, which has no generic. But you insist that we only charge you $4.00. The tech explains that we can't do that and hands you a list of $4.00 generic drugs. She also explains that you can take the list into your doctor on your next visit and see if there is another medication on that list that the doctor could prescribe for you to help save you some money. You yell that you are moving all of your prescription across town to my competitor because they only charge you $4.00. Good Luck!

And now I offer up this little entertaining gem of a story that was sent to me as an e-mail. I don't know who wrote this, but kudos to you because we have this happen just about everyday.

Why your pharmacist hates you.....

I offer the following prescription scenario:
You come to the counter. I am on the phone with a drunk dude who wants the phone number to the grocery store next door. After I instruct him on the virtues of 411, you tell me your doctor was to phone in your prescription to me Your doctor hasn't, and you're unwilling to wait until he does. Being in a generous mood, I call your doctor's office and am put on hold for 5 minutes, then informed that your prescription was phoned in to my competitor on the other side of town. Phoning the competitor, I am immediately put on hold for 5 minutes before speaking to a clerk, who puts me back on hold to wait for the pharmacist.

Your prescription is then transferred to me, and now I have to get the 2 phone calls that have been put on hold while this was being done.

Now I return to the counter to ask if we've ever filled prescriptions for you before. For some reason, you think that "for you" means "for your cousin" and you answer my question with a "yes", whereupon I go the computer and see you are not on file.

The phone rings.

You have left to do something very important, such as browse through the monster truck magazines, and do not hear the three PA announcements requesting that you return to the pharmacy. You return eventually, expecting to pick up the finished prescription.....

The phone rings.

.......only to find out that I need to ask your address, phone number, date of birth, if you have any allergies and insurance coverage. You tell me you're allergic to codeine. Since the prescription is for Vicodin, I ask you what exactly codeine did to you when you took it. You say it made your stomach hurt and I roll my eyes and write down "no known allergies" You tell me......

The phone rings. have insurance and spend the next 5 minutes looking for your card. You give up and expect me to be able to file your claim anyway. I call my competitor and am immediately put on hold. Upon reaching a human, I ask them what insurance they have on file for you. I get the information and file your claim, which is rejected because you changed jobs 6 months ago.

An ***hole barges his way to the counter to ask where the bread is.

The phone rings.

I inform you that the insurance the other pharmacy has on file for you isn't working. You produce a card in under 10 seconds that you seemed to be unable to find before. What you were really doing was hoping your old insurance would still work because it had a lower copay. Your new card prominently displays the logo of Oklahoma Blue Cross, and although Oklahoma Blue Cross does in fact handle millions of prescription claims every day, for the group you belong to, the claim should go to a company called Caremark, whose logo is nowhere on the card.

The phone rings.

A lady comes to the counter wanting to know why the cherry flavored antacid works better than the lemon cream flavored antacid. What probably happened is that she had a milder case of heartburn when she took the cherry flavored brand, as they both use the exact same ingredient in the same strength. She will not be satisfied though until I confirm her belief that the cherry flavored brand is the superior product.

I file your claim with Caremark, who rejects it because you had a 30 day supply of Vicodin filled 15 days ago at another pharmacy.

You swear to me on your mother's'....

The phone rings. that you did not have a Vicodin prescription filled recently. I call Caremark and am immediately placed on hold.

The most beautiful woman on the planet walks buy and notices not a thing. She has never talked to a pharmacist and never will.

Upon reaching a human at Caremark, I am informed that the Vicodin prescription was indeed filled at another of my competitors. When I tell you this, you say you got hydrocodone there, not Vicodin.

Another little part of me dies.

The phone rings.

It turns out that a few days after your doctor wrote your last prescription, he told you to take it more frequently, meaning that what Caremark thought was a 30-day supply is indeed a 15 day supply with the new instructions. I call your doctor's office to confirm this and am immediately placed on hold.

I call Caremark to get an override and am immediately placed on hold.

My laser printer has a paper jam.
It's time for my tech to go to lunch.
Caremark issues the override and your claim goes though.

Your insurance saves you 85 cents off the regular price of the prescription.

The phone rings.

At the cash register you sign....

The phone rings.

.......the acknowledgement that you received a copy of my HIPAA policy and that I offered the required OBRA counseling for new prescriptions.

You remark that you're glad that your last pharmacist told you, you shouldn't take over the counter Tylenol along with the Vicodin, and that the acetaminophen you're taking instead seems to be working pretty well.

I break the news to you that Tylenol is simply a brand name for acetaminophen and you don't believe me. You fumble around for 2 minutes looking for your checkbook and spend another 2 minutes making out a check for four dollars and sixty seven cents.

You ask why the tablets look different than those you got at the other pharmacy. I explain that they are from a different manufacturer. Tomorrow you'll be back to tell me they don't work as well.

Now imagine this wasn't you at all, but the person who dropped off their prescription three people ahead of you, and you'll start to have an idea why your prescription takes so damn long to fill. And that every person in front of you does the same thing.

Ok well that is my brief list of problems that can happen in the pharmacy.

Take Care,


P.S. I am going to check my blood pressure now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Hello everyone,

I have written several introductions over the past few years for online class rooms and discussion groups. And with time it doesn't get any easier to introduce myself or explain what it is that I do. First, I have returned to school online to complete my Bachelors degree in International Business. Second, I work part time as a pharmacy tech. Third and most important, I am a teddy bear artist.

I made the decision to return to school several years ago, because I realized that while I was content with my life, I would never be able to retire. So, I figured that completing my degree would help me accomplish this goal. I don't need to be a millionaire, but it might help. I just want to be able to live comfortably when I am in my 60s and beyond without having to worry how I will pay next month's bills. I think that is something that anyone can understand.

I have been with my employer for over 10 years now, my how time flies. I work for a large retailer... take a guess. I have worked in just about every department that they have. Just over a year ago I moved into the pharmacy. This has been a dream job for me. I am only working 2 to 3 days a week, which allows me to complete the other numerous tasks that I need to complete every week.

"What is a teddy bear artist," you ask? A teddy bear artist is someone who creates art that specializes in creating teddy bears. I work with mohair plush mainly, but teddy bear artist work in mediums as varied as the number of teddy bear artists, from mohair plush to domestic and foreign faux fur, from goat and rabbit skins to recycled mink coats. One of the newest mediums is needle felting. This medium has allowed some of the newest designs to stand out among teddy bears. I did a Google search for artist teddy bear and here is what was returned to me:

Results 1 - 10 of about 590,000 for artist teddy bear. (0.17 seconds).

So how did I become a teddy bear artist? I learned the art of the teddy bear from my mother. I started out by helping her cut, sewing, turn, and stuff, join, and decorate. You might think that it is easy to make teddy bears, but let me assure you, it isn’t. On average it takes approximately 8 hours, depending on the size, to make one bear. That does not include the time it takes to dress/decorate the bear. It took me about 5 years to finally feel comfortable enough to start making my owe pieces without tons of help from my mother. I still have one of the first bears that I made and mom thinks that I did most of the work, but really she forgets how much she did help. When I started my own line of bears, it wasn’t bears that I was creating, it was rabbits. For several years people had been requesting that mom make rabbits and the demand for rabbits was increasing, especially during the spring. So after badgering my mother for several months she finally got tired of me asking and turned to me one day saying, “If you want rabbits, then make them yourself”. So I did and Jare Hares was born in 1990. I started like many artists before and after me by using commercial patterns. Soon after I discovered that I could not get the look that I wanted without making my own patterns. So I started designing my own patterns.

Designing patterns can be scary. That was when I was grateful for all of the art classes that I ever took. Understanding proportions, sizes, all of the different elements that go into design really help you to understand what you need to do in the designing process, so that when you get into the actual process of making the teddy bear you don’t waste time re-cutting and re-sewing pieces. When I first started there were many parts in designing that I would have to go back and redo. Even now nearly 20 years later there are times when I get so far in the design process and realize that I need to go back and redo something before I have a finished product.

For years I spend tons of efforts getting the right design for teddy bears and rabbits. Then in the early 2000s a style came over from Japan called anime or big head. These bear designs threw all of the traditional rules of design out the window. I saw so many new styles of bears that it was a bit overwhelming. I decided that I would make my own. I studied the bears from several different artists at the next several shows. I didn’t want to copy what was already available; I wanted to create my own look. So I created a pattern that could easily be turned into a rabbit, bear, cat, dog, lion, and even a mouse. It turned out to be a big success. Eight years later and I am still making that same pattern in different styles. From that one pattern I have made Veggie Rabbits, Panda Bears, and Patriotic dogs.

Photo courtesy

Well for my first blog entry I have rambled on long enough. I will post some more in the next few days.
Thanks for reading,