Providing Good Medicine While Feeling Ill

I don't need the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tell me that this year's trivalent influenza vaccine might have missed a strain.

I don't need the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tell me that this year’s trivalent influenza vaccine might have missed a strain. I’ve had the chills, fever, nightmares, cough, nausea, and vomiting to prove it.

It had been a while since I was that sick, so I knew something was up. As quickly as I could get myself together, I got dressed and headed to the urgent care clinic, which is the community pharmacy of medicine.

I have the utmost respect for this branch of medicine. My stay there was 90 minutes, but if I had gone to the emergency room (ER) instead, I'd probably still be there.

My exam included a nasal swab culture for influenza. As far as the physician knew, I was the first confirmed case in the area. I had the honor of being patient zero.

I left the clinic with a sick note firmly in hand, and then I called into work as apologetic as possible. Looking to get a holiday weekend covered at the last minute is a scheduler's worst logistical nightmare. I have played hurt before, but once the vomiting starts, it's time to bow out until I’m healed.

I dropped off the note, picked up my prescriptions, went home, and drifted off in a promethazine VC with codeine-induced nap. Over the next few days, my wife and son came down with the flu, too. It was only a matter of time.

We had all received the trivalent flu vaccine, but I guess we should have gotten the quad. I will say that getting the shot shortened the duration of our symptoms.

I felt passable enough to work on Valentine's Day, much to the relief of the scheduler. It was the least I could do.

Realizing that I was only running at 88%, the pharmacy gods gave me as smooth of a workday as one could hope. My patients seemed really appreciative of what I was doing to help them, and they repeatedly told me what an excellent pharmacist I was.

Shortly after settling into the morning, I got a call from a very distressed man. He sounded so distraught that I had to ask him if he felt like he was going to hurt himself. After hearing his situation, I managed to talk him down and left it at, "If you feel that you need more help, go to the ER and call your doctor."

The gentleman later stopped by the pharmacy to thank me. He noticed that I still looked a little ill.

"You should seek the advice of a great pharmacist," he said. "All you have to do is look in a mirror."

That is why I get out of bed and go to work.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, always gives 100%.