Staying Focused in a High-Volume Pharmacy

One thing a high-volume community pharmacist needs to have every day is focus.

One thing a high-volume community pharmacist needs to have every day is focus.

When I have to, I can see nothing but the writing on the capsule. People standing right next to me have asked me questions, and I swear I never heard them. Of course, I've had dispensing errors, but none of them were fatal. I owe a lot of that to my ability to focus intensely.

I must admit that it has been a challenge to stay focused lately. That level of concentration takes a lot of energy, which is something that has been in short supply for me lately.

My days off are spent in a hospital more often than not. While my mom continues to improve after her lung surgery, which was performed 5 weeks after her cardiac surgery, she has a long way to go. The hospital is now fighting with Medicare to get her back into physical therapy, since the first round was ineffective due to her heart beating slowly, strangled by its own blood. It’s a lot to have on my mind.

I had to work on the day of my mom's lung surgery. I visited with Mom for an hour in the very early morning before she was wheeled down to the operating room. Then, through some tears, I drove to work.

It was an exhausting 4 hours, waiting to hear any news. I finished the day, went home, and collapsed. The 1 thing I have on my side is prayer; I just ask to be steeled in armor and then a calm washes over me.

I am a believer in the mind and body connection. I know I'm not getting enough rest for the amount of energy I’m exerting, and it’s compromising my ability to heal.

It’s not a coincidence that I'm having a left ankle problem for no good reason. I may have dinged it somehow, and the negative energy in my body attacked it and made it worse. Having to stand on it 12 hours a day may not have helped, either.

At such a time as this, however, following the perennial airline wisdom of making sure to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others to secure theirs is crucial. In plainer terms, I have to remember to take care of my needs and not lose my health and well being in the process of caring for others. It is a lesson that many caregivers too often forget.

My schedule won't be lightening anytime soon, so I need to "refocus my focus.” I'm going to seek help when I need it and use a runner's mentality to get through this: chin up, keep going.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, presses on.