Meredith Weakley (left) had a rewarding experience finding out that a few questions can go a long way.
I find it very difficult to isolate a specific event that stands out in my mind more than another because the entire Remote Area Medical weekend was filled with truly amazing opportunities and experiences.
Some of the things I enjoyed most weren’t even pharmacy-related: Passing out donated jackets to frigid patients awaiting dental procedures and ensuring all had snacks and water brought me sense of purpose and comfort.
My most memorable pharmacy related moment occurred by happenstance:
The pharmacy at RAM received a great deal of Auvi-Q devices, and naturally I had to play with the demonstrator device (those of you who know me completely understand this compulsion). So there I was, standing at the outpatient pharmacy tent playing with an Auvi-Q, pretending to inject myself, and I notice that a man sitting with his mother waiting for her prescription takes an interest in my actions.
I ask him if he wants to see the device, too (because it really is awesome), and he asks if it is an Epi-Pen. He then says, “I need one of those, I’m deathly allergic to bees.” I immediately ask why he doesn’t have one, and he replies that when he was in the hospital for the allergic reaction, he started to feel better so he just walked out. “I guess they would have given me a prescription for one if I waited… .”
I decide right then and there that somehow this man is going to leave today with an Auvi-Q. I ask my preceptor what to do, and she sends us to medical to ask if he can get a script without being seen — of course, the answer is no. At this point, this gentleman has been at the fairgrounds for several hours and he is really ready to take his mom home.
I somehow convince him that it’s worth going through medical, and I’ll even go with him so he won’t be bored. His mother agreed wholeheartedly with the plan. So on the walk to registration, I ask if he has any other issues to get checked out while he is here, and he tells me that he is “completely healthy, well … except I have high blood pressure, but I haven’t been taking my medications, oh, and I was in the hospital for a blood sugar of 17 last month.” That’s right, 17.
So we make it through registration and triage (the whole time he is giving me a hard time about making him go get his finger pricked and get his blood pressure taken (but really, he is enjoying the attention), and we make it to medical where he gets seen right away!
I told him I had to get back to the pharmacy but made sure he was comfortable. A few hours later, I’m running an errand around the grounds, and I hear this guy shout out, “HEY! HEY!! LOOK!!!” It was my buddy of the day, and he was grinning from ear to ear, holding up a brown bag full of Auvi-Qs.
He was so appreciative, and I am so glad I took the time to ask a few more questions when I could very easily missed or ignored his interest in the Auvi-Q. Going the extra mile for someone besides yourself often results in an unexpected sense of personal reward, as well.
Editor’s note: It’s a small world! Just for the record, VCU School of Pharmacy alumnus Eric Edward (Ph.D. ’11) and his twin brother, Evan, invented the Auvi-Q. To learn more, click here. Since this article ran, their company has been renamed Kaléo.