The pharmacist reached the anticipated end of him long-winded speech. Hands were already in the ready-to-clap position, eager to bring the curtains down on a long day.
But he still had one final twist to the tale on his sleeves, one final rabbit to be pulled out from his hat.
“Now I’m going to give each and everyone of you an insulin pen. You will then proceed to inject yourself to see how it feels for the patient.”
Commotion broke out. The hall was abuzz with nervous and incredulous chatter. What? Poking a needle (albeit a 5mm one) into ourselves?
Pens were passed around. In our little group we were fiddling with the pen nervously.
Since I was the most senior PRP in my group, I wasn’t surprised when the group facilitator pointed a finger at me and intoned “You go first.”
Putting a mask of nonchalant bravado, I put on the needle on the insulin pen and with one swift push poked the pen into my ample subcutaneous layer. All I felt was a tingling sensation not unlike a red ant’s sting.
“It’s not painful at all,” I declared with a smile. And to prove my point, I proceeded to poke myself a few more times. “See? It’s okay.”
Until I realised blood were tricking out of my tummy. “Eeek... blood.”
I rolled up my eyes and fainted.
Injecting insulin. Been there, tried it. Really, it is not painful.
That would be an appropriate and sensational ending. But alas, in a disappointing and normal end to the story, I just proceed to wipe out the blood and continue teaching the new PRPs how to use the pen.
Anyway that’s what we do as pharmacists. We don’t just give out medicines to you like mindless robots. Nor are we there to just pick out the careless mistakes of doctors. That will be demeaning to say the least. No, we are the crazy ones poking ourselves with insulin pen to experience how you feel poking yourselves everyday; munching through tablets to see how bitter it is, tasting the syrup to see how sweet it can be.
While we were dispensing, we think of ways to make it easier for you to remember taking the bagful of medicines, coaxing you and praising you so that you feel taking the medicines are worthwhile, exaggerating our actions like clowns while demonstrating to you how to use your inhalers so that you will remember better.
Really, we do try our best to step into your shoes.
I understand this is how you see me if you have glaucoma.
We are here to make your live living with a disease better and more comfortable. As long as you can get better, we will feel warm and fuzzy inside.