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Emotionally Unstable


Hello Blog –

It’s me again. I know that its been a while since I came here but what matters is that I am here right? You guessed it, and you’re right. It seems that I only post something when good things are happening or whenever I’m doubting myself. I’m sorry that I use you as my personal therapist but sometimes I feel that this is the only way I can really express myself. I have made countless excuses for not blogging and my favorite one is “I am so busy that I don’t have time” but that is truly not the case this time. The opposite is true this go around. I have had sooo much free time that I have been going crazy………no better yet stir crazy to be more exact.

It has been roughly 5 months since graduation and I am still unemployed! The situation with opening my own pharmacy has be peppered with road blocks, delays, and unforeseen expenses. These things have resulted in an increase level of stress and play a big role in my current state of emotional instability. I knew it was not going to be easy but I didn’t know that it was going to be this trying on me. Everyday I feel worn down and the possibility of having a mental breakdown increases with every obstacle that I encounter. Sometimes I feel helpless and not in control of what is happening. The worst part of it all is that I am dragging my wife with me and she becomes the victim of my frustration. It is not easy living with a mopey, angry, frustrated, semi Type A person. I can attest personally and acknowledge to that.

This personal feeling of losing control over my profession career is the pits. There was a period, a couple of months ago, that I felt that I have hit rock bottom. Both myself and my wife were unemployed, our savings were being drain to make ends meet, and we didn’t know if something would come along to provide one of us employment. Lucky for us, my wife got a job and it was enough to get us by until things resolved with the pharmacy building. That was one of the most happiest days of my life. Things were starting to turn up for us.

While she worked, I was left to take care of the apartment. There was really nothing I could do with the pharmacy until this current issue resolved itself which would just take time. I cooked, I cleaned, I was a stay at home husband. In the beginning it was fine and I enjoyed it. I was able to sleep in, watch multiple t.v. series on Netflix and just plain old relax. After the first week, that routine got mundane and boring and I began to really question my own self worth. I went to pharmacy school to help patients and right now I’m stuck at home trying to figure out what to make for dinner! The only thing that I had to look forward to was deciding what I was going to make the following day. I hated doing the dishes everyday. My wife would leave at 7 am and not really come home until 6pm from school. We would then have dinner and I would have to listen to her talk about her day and her daily frustration/learning curve as a new teacher. Afterwards she would correct her students homework until it was bedtime. This was the standard routine and currently I am not adjusting to it well. I am trying to be as supportive as I can but I am missing sometime here. I think it would be easier on myself if I had something meaningful also in my routine instead of the crappy homebody routine.

It did get better. I was able to find some work for a couple of weeks. I was so happy for the opportunity to make a contribution to our situation and to actually work as a pharmacist. When I was working, it felt awesome. I was helping patients, learning how to be a pharmacist, and gaining confidence in my ability to open and run my pharmacy when things came together. I really felt needed and personally satisfied. The work didn’t last long. In no time I was back in Lake Crystal and resuming my role as the stay at home husband feeling really worthless in terms of helping out and contributing to my family. The day that I received my first check was really bittersweet. It was great that I was compensated nicely for my work but it also meant that I was losing out on that future income as I wait issues to be revolved with my pharmacy. Lately I have notice myself being more easily annoyed, upset, and frustrated. I below up because I wasn’t getting help “planning meals” during one of our conversations. Last night, after going grocery shopping and having dinner out (due to me not wanted to cook) I lost it again. We were putting away the groceries and I made a comment (directed to myself) that I should really look at what we have at home and use those items for our meals. My wife quickly agreed with that statement and it just rubbed me the wrong way. I really put in effort in my dinners and try really hard to be creative but lately I have not been getting any assistance with the household chores. To make matters worst, she went into school this morning to work on things and didn’t come back until 4pm. I was stuck here at home again going stir crazy and still upset about what had transpire last night.

At this point, I don’t know what to do. I thought that if I “spew” my feelings in this blog, things will be better tomorrow. I’ll hopefully have cooled down and became more emotionally stable? I do feel a little better now that I have vented. Thank you for listening to me and being a place where I can be myself. I know that you will always be here for me and I should come here more frequently. Goodbye Blog. I will see you the next time I have a life changing situation to talk about!

Gratefully,

Souk

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Everyday Nonsense

 

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If things were easy then……. everyone would do them!


*Spoiler Alert*

This post recounts the events of today and my current level of frustration.

Today has been a long and emotionally draining day of meetings followed by other meetings as I work on opening up my own pharmacy. This road has been filled with a lot of “ups” and “downs.” Lately it has been a steady ride down with additional stress. The level of stress could be compared to the gravitational constant “G” of 9.8 m/sec^2 where every second, my level of frustration with the process had increased exponentially.

So today, my wife Rebecca and I, had to meet with our banker, the city’s Economic Development Authority, our contractor, and our security vendor. We have been in the progress of opening our own pharmacy since ~August 2013. We decided that I would take the chance and try to open up a pharmacy in a small rural town. This was a big risk for us and we knew in the beginning was a long and daunting process. Neither of us had ANY experience in business. So together with the help of the a Small Business Development Center, we embarked on our path to small business ownership. We did our homework, spent countless hours creating our Business Plan(s), spent countless hours on revisions, and found a partner with the EDA and a bank that we felt comfortable working with.

At this point of the process we are NOW just discussing details of our financial needs. With our projected opening date being less than two months away, we still don’t have our building for the pharmacy or the finances lined up to support this venture. We are behind schedule because of our building. Our plan was for the EDA to buy the building from the seller and then turn around and sell the building to us. The reason from this was that the seller owed back taxes, defaulted on loans, and owed the city monies. If the seller/owner of the building would sell the city his building, then his financial problems would be taken care of and the city could bring a pharmacy back into town. It would be a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Well that didn’t turn out well. In fact it was found out that there was multiple liens on the building and he (seller) didn’t technically own the building. He had a contract for deed that at that point he still didn’t fulfill and he own more monies against the building. Short story – we are still waiting for the building to get cleared up and this has delay our ability to secure funding from our bank. This process has been slow and agonizing. It seems like we are finding more and more things wrong with the building thus delaying our ability to buy it from the EDA. This meeting with the EDA was set up so I could voice my frustration with the project and make clear to the EDA that I may not be able to proceed if this gets drag on any longer.

Our meeting today with our banker lasted 3 hours and mainly consisted of us explaining our projections and defending our Business Plan. Overall that seems like a reasonable request from our bank but what frustrated me was that we were led to believed that they were going to finance our project 6 months ago. We thought that we had already did this in the beginning when we approached our bank and before we chose them to help us.Why was I hearing about these concerns or my ability to withstand a “stress test” of my projections NOW? Shouldn’t this have been looked at and assessed at the beginning of the process (ie my Business Plan thoroughly reviewed)? Why were we being lead on to think that our bank was going to back our venture? What happen to the countless meetings we had in the past up to this point?

After leaving those two meetings, I was at a lost of words. My frustration level was off the charts and I was pretty much ready to “throw in the towel.” Some of these things I could not control but at some point you get tired of it and say forget it. The worst part was meeting with my contractor and telling him everything that has transpired. I have to admit that I have a very understanding contractor. I have told him on numerous occasions that “We can start renovations on this date” or the “EDA/Bank said we can start this date.” Every time that date came up, it was pushed back due to something else holding up the transfer or financing. At some point, I feel that I will lose him if this can’t be worked out.

My frustration is that I have spent a great amount of time and energy in bringing a pharmacy to a town that desperately needed one but it seems that no one other than myself is doing their part to make this happen. No wonder why a lot of small business owners/entrepreneurs fail. The longer this goes, the smaller my personal savings account becomes. This is very important as I am currently unemployed and student loans are due soon. These hold ups are preventing me from arranging/working on items that need to be done but are contingent on securing funding and physical location.

Well that is where I sit, Stressed out, frustrated, angry, upset, and defeated. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and we will get some good news. “Stay positive”, and “Stay the course”, “Have faith,” “Hang in there, things will work themselves out.” are things that I have heard these last couple of months from our bank and EDA. Right now the only quote that seems to apply is one from my father-in-law that sums up my feelings right now. “This is Bullshit!” I agree with him but no one ever said that small business ownership was easy. Especially in the field of pharmacy as an independent pharmacy owner.

Thank you to those that read this post in its entirety. I appreciate the support as I try to navigate this path. Today was just one of those days that pushed me to my breaking point. Thank you for letting me vent my angry and frustration in this post. This was therapeutic!

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Pharmacy Dreams

 

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When One Journey Ends….Another One Begins


Its been a while since I sat down and reflected on the events that have come and gone. It seemed like yesterday, I was trying to figure out how I was going to become a pharmacist……or even if that goal would ever come true. I can happily say that the pharmacist journey has concluded and it had a happy ending! 121927 (my license number) is the final chapter in that journey. After all of that hard work, student loans, graduation, separation from classmates, 4 long and great years at the CoP; the question is now what?

It didn’t take me long to figure out my next adventure. With any good adventure comes risk of failure and embracing the unknown. My next journey pits myself and my wife against the odds and into the world of small business ownership. Sometimes I question my own sanity. Why would a newly graduated PharmD risk his livelihood on such a risky venture? Everyone that I have talked to have commented on the perils of independent pharmacy ownership. You see and hear about them close up shop more and more. Hearing about a new independent pharmacy opening up are far and few in between. So what gives?

I don’t know! There is a couple of reasons why I chose to go down this route. One of the reasons was that know one gave me a chance. No one took a risk on me and I have suffered in terms of (lack of ) internships and employment offers. As much as I tried, I was always passed over for someone with experience or someone that would be with the organization longer. Sometimes that’s just life. If no one was going to give me the opportunity to excel then I had to make my own opportunity. I can tell you that I blew the interview out of the water!

Another reason is my disdain with the University of Minnesota’s curriculum. Being a highly regarded College of Pharmacy, one would think that ALL aspects of pharmacy would be covered? Well that was not the case. Clinical pharmacy was preached by all without any mention of community pharmacy. Really…what gives? I understand that pharmacy is moving towards expanded roles of the pharmacist but to forget the things that got you where we are presently is asinine. Community pharmacists were being looked at as second rate pharmacist at the U. Residency and Board certification was the epitome of pharmacy. Being part of the care team should be your main goal. Well that’s great and all but not everyone can be a clinical pharmacist. We don’t even have enough residency programs to accommodate those that want to go that route. The worst thing is…..not everyone “matches.” There is a high demand for these residency programs by PharmDs and  more supply of PharmDs than residency programs but every year there are programs that don’t match. Plus I don’t believe that community pharmacists are second rate. Where can you create a meaningful relationship with a patient that LAST? In the hospital setting, after discharge, the likelihood of you being part of a patient’s is slim. One the community side, I see then at least every 90 days or sooner. I get to know what medications they are taking and how their social and economic statue affects their medication experience. I can go on and on about this topic but I won’t.

With this new adventure, I am learning new things everyday! I am getting a real world lesson on business management, regulations, politics, and stress management. Some days I even question myself on if I chose the right direction and everyday I am reminded that I am by those that depend on me being their pharmacist……my future patients!

 

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That’s it..That’s the ONE!


Remember that time….when you were looking for something that you been picturing in your head? That perfect something….like your dream car….or your dream wedding dress? That one thing that is the epitome of perfect. When you see it….you have this magical connection. It speaks to you in a way that satisfy all of your wants. It makes finding that item worth all of those countless hours spent searching for it…….. truly worth it. Never settling for any thing less until you find it. It kindof makes you a little “gitty” inside once you found what you were looking for.

I have spend that last few months looking at pharmacies and how they were laid out. Taking mental notes and pictures of things that I liked and wanted to implement in my very own pharmacy. Everyone of the pharmacies that I have looked at had some good things about them but none had the “complete package” or met my vision of how I wanted my pharmacy to be………until today. Who would of known that this little pharmacy in a town of 160 citizens would be what I was searching for? A Tele-pharmacy located in the middle of nowhere that was staff with a Pharmacy Technician and one or two clerks; just to meet the needs of the community. As I walked into the back of the building and into the breakroom, I pictured this small cramp store stocked with only the bare necessaries like a couple of phones, one computer, minimum inventory, and a small OTC area. Boy was I wrong! This was a fully functioning store that looked like it belong in a hip urban suburb of the Twin Cities…that is if it wasn’t for the knotty pine that the counters and counseling room was made of. You walk into the pharmacy and it felt nice and welcoming but at the same time you expected to pay a little more for your things. You were greeted by a warm and friendly staff that knew your name. The only access to a pharmacy was through the computer and phone. Once a week, the citizens of this small town got the opportunity to speak with a pharmacist in person. Today was a special day for those patients because they were also greeted by a Pharmacist and his trusty sidekick (PDIV student) whom had a tendency to slow him down. As the workday ended I found myself feeling sad and depressed. I couldn’t believe that I had to leave this place. I felt that I truly belong here and that this was what I wanted my pharmacy to be. This was a gem of a pharmacy……that hidden gem that you would of never found until you truly search for. To the owners of this pharmacy……you have found a rare hidden gem that I know will be “worth” a lot in terms of personal satisfaction once you “polish” it up and work out the rough edges. This is what a community pharmacy should be. If ever there was to be a need for a full time pharmacist to be there and my plans of starting my own pharmacy, which will be model after this one does not come into fruition, I hope the owners would possible consider me for the job. The one thing I do have against me is that they might not remember how to spell my name as it is confusing and has a lot of letters. Well I guess I’ll have to keep on blogging to keep that door open!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Pharmacy Dreams

 

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Providing Care Through Tele-pharmacy


New things always seem daunting! Remember the time you first learned how to ride your bike without training wheels? You had your parents hold on to the seat to help you balance yourself in the beginning and as you felt more comfortable, you started to do it on your own. Once you fell a couple of times and got over the fear of falling, you embraced riding your bike and it became one of your favorite activity. That was the same feeling I had today when I was verifying medications and counseling patients via Tele-pharmacy! I have heard of the concept of Tele-pharmacy but never saw it in action let alone think I would be the pharmacist/intern on the other side of the monitor. Today I made Tele-pharmacy happen for patients that did not have access to a local pharmacy. My preceptor today was tasked with verifying the medications and providing consultation to patients that came in to get their medications. He walked me through the process a couple of times and then said “Ok it’s yours.” At that moment I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I was “chatting” with the tech, looking at the hard copy of the prescription, checking the video feed of the bottle and the tablets/capsules, and looking at her computer screen at the same time.

This all was happening and I still had to verify and check my own prescriptions. It took me a little bit to get used to switching between my own work and checking the Tele-pharmacy’s prescriptions but the more I did, the more confident I felt until I got a phone call from them for a consult on the medications. I couldn’t believe it, doing an in person consult is stressful enough but could you imagine consulting a patient over the phone and not seeing them? I know, I know, consultation is consultation but there is something different about talking to a patient about medications there have never taken before. After I got through the first consult, things improved there after. I didn’t really realized how much of an impact I was having on these patients. After every consultation after the initial one, each of the patients thanked me for my time and assistance. The whole time I was thinking how weird this is but looking back now I realize that the patients on the other end of the monitor/phone line were really grateful to have this interaction. Tele-pharmacist is way better than NO pharmacist. I hope that in the near future, Tele-pharmacy will take off and become a viable option for patients in remote/rural areas. New things/concepts like these are often very scary but serves a need and truly makes you feel like you are helping bridge the gap in health disparity. 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Meaningful Experiences

 

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Pharmacy IS a SMALL WORLD after all


It’s been approx. 2+ years since I last “blogged” or posted something concerning my process of becoming a pharmacist. I am now in my last year of school and on experiential rotations. Only a few months separate me from graduation this Spring! The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and closer with every passing day. So many things have happen since the last time I sat down  to reflect. Some are good and some are overwhelming like deciding to open up a pharmacy from scratch after graduation. One thing that has remained the same is that “Pharmacy is a small world” and you would be surprised to know who knows you and vice verse. This brings me to the real motivation of this post and a renewed interest in self documentation. This post is inspired by my current preceptor/stalker! Let me explain the stalker part. I am currently on a community management rotation. So far, I am learning a lot and this experience has been very valuable in building up my confidence as  a future pharmacist. Recently my preceptor and I were discussing the latest College of Pharmacy video they made to promote the College. As the conversation continued, it was revealed that my preceptor used to follow my blog when I was blogging for the College. I was one of the first bloggers the College had and we were the “pilot ” group for the current godog blogs. It was surprising to hear that she followed my blog from way back and that my writing amused/entertained her. This little incident goes to show you how small the pharmacy world is. Well stay tune for future posts. I promise that I will make more of an effort to record the pearls of rotations and hopefully use this to document my future plans!

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Gearing up for Spring cycling season


Pictograms of Olympic sports - Cycling (mounta...

Lately the weather up here in Duluth has been unpredictable. One day it is in the high 70s and the next day it is snowing. One thing for sure is that serious cyclist don’t care what mother nature’s plan for the week is. Seeing them riding makes me want to get out there on my own bike. I have a 2011 Giant Escape 2 that I purchased when I moved up here. I am by no means a serious cyclist. I just like to get out there and ride. When I bought my bike, I thought that I would be able to ride more since Duluth has plenty of good trails. I decided to get the Escape because I didn’t want a mountain bike but didn’t think I wanted a road bike. Mountain bikes cost a lot less than an entry-level road bike so I decided to get a commuter bike. Something in between. Well it is 2 years later and I am wishing that I would have saved up and bought a road bike. Well this Saturday my wife went with me to a bike swap. I didn’t find a road bike that I could afford but I did buy my first pair of shoes. They were on clearance and my wife was kind enough to let me purchase them. When I saw them I knew exactly why they were on clearance. They were brown and not too attractive but I didn’t care. I got a brand new pair of specialized comp mountain bike shoes for $60. You can’t a decent pair of specialized shoe for less than $100. Next step is to get some clipless pedals. I am looking for a good pair of SPD pedals that will last and I could use on my future road bike when I get a real job. Until then, I will have to settle for acquiring cycling gear a little bit at a time.

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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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