Podcast Weaves Pharmacy, Music, Poetry Together


Pharmacy does not often lend itself to discussions of music and poetry, but a new podcast called The Life Apotheque does just that.

Pharmacy does not often lend itself to discussions of music and poetry, but a new podcast called The Life Apotheque does just that.

The podcast weaves together basic pharmacology related to a current issue with a live musical recording and the reading of a poem.

Kirstin Kooda, a pharmacy resident, cautions against taking what she says as medical advice, and instead considers her work as a “general dissemination of how exactly these chemicals work thrown in with catchy tunes and a variety of poetic works,” according to her website.

Her latest episode delves into acetaminophen—how it works, what it does well, and how it can poison someone. After the lesson, Kooda transitions into the music portion of the podcast and gives a description of the Parisian club where she is listening to the Ellen Birath Band play “Lovefool” by The Cardigans. Finally, Kooda ends the 13-minute episode with a reading of the poem “The Painter Rearranges the Mirrors” by Cole Swensen.

In a previous episode, Kooda talked about Ebola in West Africa. She mentioned how the first symptoms, such as fever, weakness, and muscle pain, precede the body shutting down and bleeding externally and internally. Without an approved treatment for Ebola, Kooda said supportive care is 1 of the few options health care professionals have.

“The best we can do for these patients is provide supportive care by replacing fluids they lose from vomiting and diarrhea, trying to manage their fever, and providing them with nutrition,” she said in the podcast.

Later in the episode, Kooda plays the accordion while a friend strums a guitar and sings “16 Tons” by Merle Travis, and the poem “Pavement Pounding Philosophy” by Ayo Songunro is read.

Other episodes tackle hepatitis C, the use of acetazolamide in treating altitude sickness, the measles vaccine, and naloxone. Her first episode from June 2014 also provides a description of pharmacy residencies and her thoughts on the transition from training to a real job.

Kooda’s podcast can be downloaded or streamed through iTunes or at thelifeapotheque.com.

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