This is pharmacy?

June 15, 2012

Who says the pharmacist's role has changed over the years? Haven't we always helped patients with their dead sea creatures?

First, button your blouse

"Hold on," I said. "I'm not a doctor. I do not diagnose." I stepped back, but I was too late. She had already lifted the heavy right breast.

"It is probably a fungus," I said, and repeated, "I am not a doctor."

"Can you give me something, Doc?"

"First, button your blouse, Ma'am. Remember, this is a drugstore, and we do not have privacy."

She was pouting. "Will you help me?"

I always help poor people. The pharmacist is their last resort. We are the only medical professionals who can give them free advice and some relief for only $20 swiped from their grocery money.

I said, "That part of your body rarely sees the light of day."

"Never," she said. "My breasts are big and that crease at the bottom is never dry."

"I can help you, but my advice won't be worth much if you don't follow it."

"I promise, but I don't have much money."

I assured her that she could afford to follow my advice. I told her to wash and dry the areas with soap and water, and to get them very dry with a blow dryer.

"Galveston is humid," I told her. "Fungus cannot grow where it is dry."

"Okay, Doctor Jim, I have a blow dryer."

"When it's dry, spread on a small amount of this." I handed her a tube of terbinafine cream. That is my go-to antifungal because it is the only fungicide.

She checked the price. "Oh, I have some of that at home."

What the ... ? Why do they do that when they don't want to buy what you advise? They don't say, "That is too expensive." They lie. I tried to get her to take clotrimazole cream at half the price, but she had some of that at home too.