Pharmacy in the UK, along with much else, is in a period of serious change, to some extent serious jeopardy and of course serious seriousness, and so it was with immense relief that I read Mr Dispenser’s first – and with luck, not last – entertaining book “Pills, Thrills and Methadone Spills”. An eclectic compilation of blogs, stories and witticisms, it jogged me to remember that no matter how serious things are in the world of pharmacy, it’s a world that will always be able to put a smile on your face.
Personally I wouldn’t know where to start in writing a book, but if a serious drinking session disrupted my thought processes such that I made an attempt, I can’t imagine how I’d make pharmacy the theme. As such I had little idea of what to expect; in the back of my mind I did have memories of the excellent read by Drug Monkey ready to compare it to, but I need not have worried.
I’ve followed Mr Dispenser on twitter pretty much since I joined it eighteen months ago and thought I’d have seen most of the book’s content through this, but thankfully I was wrong. A wonderfully informal and original piece of work, if somewhat a little unstructured in parts, I read it in one go, not out of a need to tick another job off the list, but because even at 1am when the Mrs was seriously pissed off I still had the bedside light on, it was compellingly difficult to stop. Immensely reflective of my past experiences and gloriously enlightening on the experiences of others, funny in most places and sincere in parts, it’s a genuinely worthwhile read.
The New Year will invariably make people reflect on their previous twelve months, and as usual, hearing “If I only knew then, what I know now” won’t be uncommon. Similarly if I’d only read this book before I qualified I’d have been so much better prepared for the wonderful world of pharmacy. I would have never ruined my favourite cream and pink striped tie had I been pre-warned that checking the lid is secure before shaking was the most critical part of antibiotic reconstitution. If I’d only read the patient attempts to pronounce medicine names I wouldn’t have had my own infamous “ferocious sulphate” incident. And although I read @weeneldo’s account of his pre-reg and wept with laughter, I do wonder that had I read it before qualification whether I’d have switched to another course…
But that’s not to say this book is only suitable for students – far from it. I almost wept with relief after reading the ‘Locums Deserve Respect’ section: here was someone who understood my woes, my fears, my wishes. And the wise words within Candy Sartan’s genius “Badges” should now be the theme-tune for all pharmacists, though I do worry which of her ‘male pharmacist’ breeds I fit in. On the serious(-ish) side there’s also the excellent contribution from @OptForOptimism – even after a decade of being a pharmacist it was good to be reminded how we, and our services, may look to patients .
So in these austere times do I recommend that you spend your hard-earned pounds on this book? Yes I do, regardless of whether you’re in pharmacy, planning to join it, come in to contact with it regularly, or have no idea what it actually entails. You’ll love the ‘Pharmacy Films’, laugh at our Gangster similarities, be amazed at the lengths we go to when supporting and helping our patients, and come away with the feeling that whilst we sometimes get unfair flack when trying to keep people well with their medicines, we’re also always able to see the funny side of it all.
The e-book is available for download from Amazon and I’m happy to report that 5% of sales will be donated to Pharmacists Support a charity that offers a helping hand to pharmacy colleagues who find themselves in difficult circumstances. There really is no excuse not to buy a copy.