I turn the key in the shop door around 8 am and enter into a new day. Today is a fresh day and I take a moment to bless myself and the pharmacy with positive thoughts and a clear mind. Retail can be very draining on the soul.
I rev up the computers and tills, play a list of my favourite pick-me-up songs on YouTube and I’m off and running.
I check the answering machine, the fax and my emails. I fill the specials bin, tidy up the sales counter and check the store in general for any gaps or any low stock levels and stock up where needed.
Next, I plan my day and the phone calls/orders that need to happen. I hear a knock on the door and I greet my staff around 8.45 am. The vacuum cleaner now echoes through the store and the Glen-20 aroma drifts from the counters after their routine clean. Strangely, I love that smell!
The pharmacy comes alive at 9 am with lights illuminating and music playing from the radio. The doors swing open and the A-frame and specials bin go out.
Good morning’s echo as customers are warmly welcomed into my home away from home. A blood-shot eyed customer comes forward to the counter begging for hay fever relief and I know we’ll have a busy anti-histamine day.
“How long will my script be?”, the next customer asks. “Not long”, I reassure the patient, who looks like they need a good night sleep and their temper’s flaring.
The phone is up and running with us too.
“Can I have my little white tablets, my large white tablets, my puffer, my fish oil (you know the one I like!), something for my dreadful cough also and did the doctor send you that script from 3 weeks ago??”. “Sure Mrs X”, I reply. “I’ll get your Atacand, Diabex, Seretide, Ethical Nutrient’s Hi-Strength Liquid Fish Oil all ready for you. Can I suggest some Bisolvon Chesty Cough Liquid for that cough? It won’t interfere with your blood pressure medicine and it’s sugar-free, so it’s okay for you diabetes also … Yes … I did get that script from your doctor and your repeats are ready for collection.”
When I get off the phone, my staff tell me that three customers are now waiting to see me. They brief me quickly. First lady – sore throat, second man – back pain and third man – father with a 6-day old baby crying a lot.
I reassure all waiting that I won’t be long. I smile and breathe. Now, 100% service to each.
I give so much of myself each day, but I also receive twice as much.
Just this week, I was blessed to receive a lovely hand-picked orchard for helping set up a blood glucose meter, some home-made, warm jam tarts for the cuddles I gave to a severe asthmatic, a Ferrero Rocher chocolate to celebrate a customer’s 50th birthday, another box of chocolates from a lady to say thanks whilst she recovered from a severe ear infection, and a bag of hand-picked lemons – because I need them I’ve been told!
I always graciously accept the gifts, even if I don’t personally eat them or use them. It is through these gifts that people get to say ‘thank you’ and it’s so important to let people have this open communication. Each and every ‘thank you’ warms my heart and humbles me.
Morning tea at midday and lunch at 3.30 pm. Maybe I can sit for 5 minutes?
“Can the pharmacist witness a signature?”, I hear as I just sit down. Breathe. “Sure, I won’t be long”, I reply. And lunch goes cold once more.
I look a bit exhausted by now. A staff member gives me a cuddle and reminds me that we are all meant to be here. It’s that encouragement that keeps me going each day.
In a blink of an eye, 5.30 pm hits. Boy, the day goes quick!
Rush to do the tills, bins, dishes, sort scripts, tidy up, answering machine on and music off.
I let my staff out and I stay back to do the orders. It’s my time to unwind. To listen to silence. To breathe in the day’s goodness and to let go of the day’s ‘not so’ goodness.
Order sent, back-up complete. Lights out. Time to go home and hug my family. The people in my life who have carried me every day.
I am thankful for my pharmacy and all that it has made me. I am thankful for all the lives I managed to save and for all the lives that saved me in return.
I sold in March 2015, after 9 years of community service.
As I move into the next stage of my life, I promise to cherish the memories and to hold the friendships in my heart forever.
Although I have my fears, I know that I am on the right path.
**If you’ve got this far – thank you for reading and I look forward to bringing you more information in the future.
Now, enjoy some much needed inspirational music…