Professional distance

My pharmacist thinks we’re friends. I mean, I visit him several times a month, I’ve been getting my drugs from him for 15 years and he now shouts ‘Heeeey!’ when I’m next in line. With a new prescription added to the roster every month or two, I fear he’s starting to question whether a) I’ve got a crush on him and am faking medical issues to keep visiting him, or b) I am dying. No matter which, he thinks we’re buddies.

He actually asked me yesterday when I went to pick up the latest $100 worth of pills.

‘So… steriods now eh?… phew! You’re in for some fun!’

Can pharmacists actually acknowledge the drugs you’re taking? I thought it was one of those codes of ethics things where they couldn’t smirk or wink, or god forbid, mention what the drugs were or why you might be taking them. I really don’t need my pharmacist judging my health, I’ve got 8 professionals already doing that and frankly, I don’t need any more internal exams this year.

He, my pharmacist, has also taken to calling me ‘Rach’.


I’ve never used this name, never answered to this name in my life, never actually spoken my first name out loud to him in 15 years. But he’s decided that, on my 15th anniversary of ‘visiting’ Rite Aid, I’m now ‘Rach’ to him. What’s next? Secret handshakes and birthday cards?

Isn’t there such a thing as professional distance? I know the Brits are known for having a stick up our ass, but its for good reason. You don’t want or need to be buddies with your doctor, your dentist or your pharmacist. We all need some distance from those who see you naked, know your history of rashes or could tell others about your sporadic flossing. They don’t dive into your life and you, by courtesy, don’t dive into theirs. I’d no more think of calling my doctor ‘Chrissy!’ or my gastroenterologist ‘Jon’ (though I do call him another name when I’m having a moment).. they’re Dr. So and So and I’m Ms. Thomas. Starting to become ‘friends’ with your ‘people’ is a slippery slope. I’ve done it before and fond I’m standing in front of my house listening to my lawn guy blub about his divorce or offering on line dating advice to my endocrinologist. I like my professionals .. well.. professional. And wearing a white coat and gloves if possible.

So today I’m seriously rethinking my pharmacy allegiance and moving to a more anonymous place where I’m just a slightly familiar face with no name. My only concern is that my pharmacist would think I’ve finally OD’d or died. I don’t think my mother needs a call asking where to send flowers.

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