One of the hardest parts of being a community pharmacist is dealing with people who are sick, irritated, angry, or otherwise unhappy. Most often, we see folks who are upset about having to take medication. Maybe they’ve got an infection (potentially an embarrassing one); maybe they don’t think Diabetes is a big deal, so why should I have to tell them about their metformin… Maybe they think the woman on the internet who said lemons cure everything is right, and big pharma is just trying to bleed our country dry.

Either way, we deal with a lot of yelling. A lot. Which is why I want to encourage people to read up on stoicism.

Stoicism isn’t the absence of emotion. Rather, it’s the tempering of emotion. It’s a Greek philosophy that teaches that life happens. What’s important (what we control) is how we respond to it. We could easily fight fire with fire, and scream back at our patients. Or we could do so less publicly, only bickering about them once they’ve left.

Or we could take the higher road, earning our place as one of the trusted professions. We could let the event happen, and move on, ready to be of help to the next person. As long as you’ve done the best job you can, there is no reason to dwell on an otherwise unfortunate occurrence. There will always be bad Mondays. There will always be people who don’t understand that not every generic is $4. There will always be faxes sent to the wrong pharmacy, sent with the wrong med. But there will also always be a chance to do good in someone’s life. You might be the ray of hope for a complete stranger, and never know it.

Sorry for waxing philosophical. We’ve had a lot of yelling in the last few weeks. It’s been a great time to read up on stoicism.

Bonus: this is the first comic drawn entirely in Pro Create on my iPad.