A veteran pharmacist and international speaker chronicles his 33-year career through the tribulations of his customers.
Sharing stories that have “stumbled around my head and heart, some for years,” Wright (It’s Good to See You Again, 2016) offers brief anecdotes of varying degrees of poignancy, cheer, friendliness, panic, and goodwill from the retail pharmacy where he worked. He begins his book with an admission that, initially, his duties revolved more around the multitiered aspects of clinical knowledge, regulations, and safety measures than on social interaction. With the accumulation of customer encounters, he notes, came a different perspective and a “deeper awareness” of the patient experience from the dispensary side of the business. “Like a good novel,” he writes appreciatively, “all the elements of drama are there: life, death, laughter, love, and dynamic characters.” His anecdotes, most barely over a page in length, are potent, affecting, introspective, and infinitely relatable; readers will recognize some aspect of themselves in many of these vignettes. Spanning periods as far back as 1975, when Wright was just out of the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, he remembers the first time witnessing a customer taking pills he’d just dispensed in his presence. Other accounts feature late-night phone calls and unexpected visits from worried customers looking for unbiased assurance and advice, colicky babies, asthma sufferers, and Plan B seekers. The book’s brevity is least appreciated after Wright divulges a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2006 when he began existing on both sides of the pharmacy counter and his “faith in medicine got a test.” But the minimal details may leave readers wanting to know more about the author. Adding to the allure of this collection are the many pearls of pharmacy wisdom closing several stories. Wright taps into the wellspring of reflective episodes and experiences that informed his rich career and, though he recognizes that pharmacy work is demanding, he writes that it also can be greatly fulfilling, life-affirming, and heartwarming. Within these eloquently presented memories, the author reveals the essence of his livelihood: to compassionately and professionally tap into the vital connection between “a very trusting public and very potent chemica1s.”
A surprisingly vibrant and rewarding volume spotlighting the true nature and largely unacknowledged heart of a pharmacist.