Has any profession seen their prestige drop like the medical profession? My entire life I have heard nothing but fawning over how hard it is to be in the medical field and to earn medical credentials. Everyone in that field is just so smart.
That doesn’t appear to be the case.
After my latest run-in with a Rite Aid pharmacist (I’m fine, but she might be scarred for life), I am just thankful that I have a real job. In my profession, I can’t just say any old bullshit and expect my non-trained customers will just buy it. I need to explain exactly why I do what I do, and exactly why I recommend certain courses of actions. If there’s risk/reward ratios to consider, they must be completely spelled out. And if I’m wrong, I could lose my job.
But in the field of pharmaceutical dispensing, you can just say and believe any old nonsense. Here’s my version of the events from my latest interaction with the witch doctor class.
Pharmacist: In order to treat you, I need to know if you are vaccinated for Covid.
ME: I am not.
Pharmacist: Then when I consult with you, you’ll need to wear a mask.
ME: I don’t need a mask. Don’t you have one on? Why would I need one?
Pharmacist: Because I interact with people closely all day long, and by those people wearing masks, I am protected from various viruses and disease.
ME: But I thought you said it was because I am unvaccinated.
Pharmacist: Yes, it is because of that too.
ME: But aren’t you vaccinated and masked? Are you saying that your vaccine and mask don’t work? That seems like you don’t believe in your products.
Pharmacist: They do protect me, but being around you without your mask on increases my risk.
(Note, she is having this conversation with me from four feet away. The consultation will be from one foot away. Big difference, I guess.)
I stare at her, lock her right in the eyes, and smile. Very slowly, I say, Do you really believe that?
Pharmacist: Yes. And we won’t treat you here unless you put one on.
Meanwhile the second pharmacist emphatically answers that she also believes it. Absolutely!
ME: Haha OK, I believe in witch craft too. Let me have one of your disgusting masks.
I sit down and put the mask next to me on the table while I wait for the pharmacist to close the distance from four completely safe feet away to one unreasonably dangerous foot away.
She approaches. I put the mask on. The consultation proceeds. She is very chatty. But I am not letting this go.
ME: Do you know what mysophobia is?
ME: It’s the fear of germs. It’s a legitimate mental disorder. Do all pharmacists have this?
She doesn’t say a word.
ME: This disorder is treatable. I hope you seek help.
ME: Hey can you explain to me how Sweden survived the pandemic without anyone wearing masks? Are you familiar at all with their results?
Cat got her tongue, I suppose. She doesn’t say another word for the rest of the consultation. She collects the meds in silence.
I pay for the medicine my family required and start to head out. But before I do…
ME: Here’s your mask back. (I put it on the counter for them.) Hey, good luck getting over your fear of germs!
Now maybe I shouldn’t have given this poor gal a hard time. After all she’s just doing her job. But, no, she really believed that if I was not wearing a mask, it would be riskier for her. That was the purpose of my initial questioning. Her job is to dispense medicine and she is completely incapable of critically thinking about medical interventions.
Keep in mind that I didn’t ask her to change any of her behavior. She refused service to me if I didn’t comply. That is something we should never just accept. If a pharmacist can’t handle consulting patients anymore because of their severe mysophobia, they should find a new line of work. In the meantime, their mental illness should be called out whenever they have the gall to threaten us.
And if they don’t like it, they can go find a real job where dispensing bullshit isn’t glorified by society.
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