The Pharmacy Time Machine

A member called me and said “My doctor authorized me to get three pills a day. WHY am I only being sent two pills a day?”

I asked for the prescription number. It dated back to 2010.  This happened in 2014.

“It must be an old bottle,” she said. “But why am I only getting two a day? My prescription says three a day.”

I asked her when the last time was that she got medicine from us.

“I’m expecting it any day now,” she said. “You’re supposed to be sending it. I have the prescription right here.”

“Have you sent it in yet?”

“No. But it says three a day.”

Okay, let me get this straight. The last bottle this person has from us dates from four years ago. We have to have the prescription, of course, before we can send medicine.

She isn’t asking me why we haven’t sent the medicine yet, she’s asking me why her bottle, now, says two a day. So she’s asking me in effect why her prescription, that she is holding in her hand and hasn’t sent in, doesn’t change the bottle that she got four years ago to read “three a day.”

I politely told her she had to send in her prescription and we would be happy to send her three a day.

“Oh,” she said, as if it was a new idea. She was not elderly. She was a working professional. Who apparently thinks I have a time machine.

More Strands of White Hair

The other day, someone called in who wanted to know the price of a med.  Fine, that’s what I do.  (That’s what I… That’s what I…)  Then I asked her what it was.  She said “It’s new.”  I said “Okay, great, and if you can give me the name I can look the price up.”   She said “It’s probably not even covered.  My plan doesn’t cover new medications.”  I offered to check just to make sure.  Turned out she didn’t even know the name of the thing.  Before you think I’m making fun of some lovely creaky old lady who mmight be confused, know this frightening fact… this was a practicing nurse in her fifties.

Then a doctor’s office called.  They wanted to send us an electronic prescription.  I told them that it would work better to find us using our fax number as a serach term because it is unique, unlike our name.  This took about four increasingly simple explanations to get across.

We aren’t immune either.  I could have strangled a fellow rep who didn’t know what a benefits office was.  For folks who don’t work with insurance, the benefits office is the place that provides the benefits – like HR at a company if you work there, for example.  This agent had been though a six week training and had at least a few months on the floor and still didn’t know this extremely basic fact.  They thought we, the pharmacy, were the benefits office.  I sure wanted to give them a wall to wall coaching session!  The capper came when I closed out the call.  I said to this agent “is there anything else I can help you with?”  They said, and I quote, “you’re welcome, no problem!” and hung up.

Here’s one more that just happened.  A person callied, mid forties, wanting a refill.  He seemed pretty on the ball… at first.  Not heavily medicated, on just one or two things.  Problem: he called to refill when he had one pill left.  He knows we’re mail order.  He should also know why mail is associated with snails.  Next problem: This med is meant to be taken once a day.  His bottle said no refills.  That means you allow a little extra time for the doctor to get back to us.  Yes, the refills can be seen on the label.  Next problem:  He hadn’t ordered this med since LAST YEAR, August 4th.  I write this on April 13th.

I had to know what was up.  I asked “you should have run out months ago, have you been filling this locally?”  He said “but you sent ninety pills…”

Yes.  We sent ninety pills.  Charitably speaking, 250 days ago!

Don’t be him.

Famous Nostrils of Ancient Egypt


In reading translations of some old papyri, discovered in the 1800s, I found something that made me absolutely crack up laughing.  Apparently, at some point at least, it was considered polite to heap good wishes upon a ruler’s nostril.

You read that right.

His nostril!

For example, in the Adventures of Sanehat (which is a pretty good story, by the way), the main character writes this to the King Keper-ka-ra:

“Thou, the Good God, Lord of both Lands, Loved of Ra, Favourite of Mentu, the lord of Thebes, and of Amen, lord of thrones of the lands, of Sebek, Ra, Horus, Hathor, Atmu, and of his fellow-gods, of Sopdu, Neferbiu, Samsetu, Horus, lord of the east, and of the royal uraeus which rules on thy head, of the chief gods of the waters, of Min, Horus of the desert, Urrit, mistress of Punt, Nut, Harnekht, Ra, all the gods of the land of Egypt, and of the isles of the sea. May they give life and peace to thy nostril, may they load thee with their gifts, may they give to thee eternity without end, everlastingness without bound.”

Later, in the same letter, he says:

“O thou who art beloved of Ra, of Horus, and of Hathor; Mentu, lord of Thebes, desires that thy august nostril should live for ever.

Still later, in another scene, the God-King’s children say “May the goddess Nub give life to thy nostril; May the mistress of the stars favour thee, when thou sailest south and north.”

I laughed so hard when I saw this.  However, I can kind of think of why this would be a blessing.  The nostril is where the breath comes in, after all, so it could be considered holy for that reason – the ancient Egyptians were very symbolicly minded.  Also, since I live in a desert, I can relate to the truly titanic nose boulders that form when you combine dry air and blowing dust.   Wishing someone a lively, peaceful nostril starts sounding pretty good to me.

Also, this could be as simple as “hey, I’m glad you’re still breathing, I hope the gods keep it that way!” with the breath being synonymous with life.  Either way, it’s hilarious.

The Egyptian Nose story doesn’t end here.  Tutankhamun had a professional nose picker.  His wage was three head of cattle, plus food and lodging.  Not too bad pay for digging out the boy king’s nose gold.

So, when you really want to show some monarch (like your boss) some respect, wish them a happy nostril!



Egyptian Tales, First Series, IVth To XIIth Dynasty Translated From The Papyri, Second Edition, by W. M. Flinders Petrie (1899)

The Book of Bad Habits, By Frank C. Hawkins, Greta L. B. Laube, MD (2010)


The Adult Book Store

Someday, I want to run a place called “The Adult Book Store.”  When you come in, you would find a comfortable, friendly environment, filled with resources of all kinds.  There would be advice on picking out real estate, books on home repair, financial planning, cooking, raising children, home defense, history, gardening, brewing, vinting, health, and self improvement.

I’d have good books on tape CD like Tom Clancy, Robert Heinlein, L. Neill Smith and many others, as well as the most immortal classics.  I might even stock adult coloring books.  Maybe I’d have books on art and poetry and handicrafts.  Maybe I’d have music or good classic movies.  Everything an adult could need would be in my bookstore.

I’d probably have porn, too.

Is Bill O’Reilly predicting the next Jaffa invasion? 

Photo used under Creative Commons.  I don’t own it.


After all, he’s asking Donald Trump how he intends to employ black voters with tattoos on their foreheads.  He acts like this is a common condition of underemployed black men!

I don’t know if you’ve seen anyone with a forehead tattoo, let alone a black person with a forehead tattoo, anywhere except on Stargate.  I sure haven’t.  I’ve seen people with facial tattoos of other kinds on cheek, temple, neck, once in a blue moon the chin, but never on the forehead.   In fact, I can’t think of any other group of people who regularly have forehead tattoos!

So, I have to ask, is there something Bill O’Reilly knows that we don’t?  Are there groups of Jaffa, secretly living and working in our midst, or maybe not working because they can’t find jobs with their facial disfigurement?  Is that why they go to work for Goa’uld System Lords, because they can’t find work elsewhere?  I’d always thought the System Lord gave them the tattoo, but perhaps it’s the other way around?

Maybe Obama, who looks suspiciously like the System Lord Apophis, will decide to build a giant pyramid in DC as a public works project and also to land his starship on, and use all those Jaffa to guard it as we human slaves work on it?


apophis and obama
Whatever the case may be, shel kek nem ron.

How to get an arm workout – at a desk job!

I work a very sedentary desk job.  I don’t get much more exercise than walking to the bathroom and back.  I can try to walk more briskly but that doesn’t do too much.  My weakest area is my arms and upper body in general.  Okay, I have typing fingers of steel, but that’s not quite the same.  What’s a bored customer service rep to do?

Use my muscles against each other!  By pressing my hands together as hard as I can, then moving them in circles or up and down, I can work my biceps, triceps, wrists and forearms.  These, and other movements that can be static or moving, challenge me almost as much as if I were picking up large pieces of metal and putting them down again.

By grasping the side of my cube and moving myself with my hands only, I can work my arms and shoulders.  I can do chair dips in my office chair – I admit, mostly in the evenings when people aren’t around.  I can also put my hands under my desk and press up, letting that act like a biceps curl.  I can also do spine twists, or arch my spine forward and back for a bit of a stretch.  Sometimes I do leg raises under the desk.

With ingenuity and determination, it’s amazing how much upper body exercise you can get at work.

The Magic Color Changing Rock

So I acquired this nice chunk of quartz recently. Lots of small crystals, some pyrite bits, and an intriguing shape. It has tinges of delicate green and very faint purple, with a darker green on the bottom shading into the white.  Difficult to see in a photo, but here it is, modeling this bracelet:


Quartz, right?

Or so I thought.

I took it outside to get a better look, and was startled to find that nearly the whole thing was tinted with purple! Maybe a few light hints of green. The rock looked completely different!

I went back inside.




What the heck?
It’s not unknown for certain minerals to look different under different kinds of light, but this is the most obvious case of it I’ve seen outside a rocks and minerals study lab.

Looking it up online, I found Alexandrite, which does show green under artificial light and turns purplish under natural light – looks like my mystery is solved!

Wait… not so fast there, either.

Alexandrite is actually green under natural light but goes purple under artificial light, which is backwards from my mystery rock. So what exactly do I have anyway? Do I have Etirdnaxela?

After even more research, I was finally able to solve the mystery.  It’s fluorite!  Two things tell me that.  One, the color change works the right way.  And two, there’s a great big cubic structure in the rock – that’s what the big corner in the rock is!

So I tested it with a UV flashlight – and it fluoresced bright pinkish purple!  That clinched it.  The thing is fluorite!