I spent some time this weekend going through some boxes I’m sending to storage. In one of them, some of my pharmacist dad’s tools of the trade.
Ray Rhodes had a collection of mortar and pestles for crushing and making medicines. My dad was old school. Making meds was his favorite thing. He referred to himself as a “druggist.” You don’t hear that term much anymore. “Druggist.”
At the same time I was doing that, a story from the New York Times caught my attention. “How Pharmacy Work Stopped Being So Great.”
For various reasons, pharmacists are leaving their profession. At the very least, many are not happy about what their profession has become.
Covid stress. More hours. No pay raises. Consolidation of stores has led to fewer jobs in the industry. These are just a few of the things causing a pharmacist’s stress.
To me, this is one more indication of how the Covid pandemic has changed the economy. The New York Times piece also talks about how Americans in the middle income brackets have not seen their pay increase like those in the lower and higher income brackets.
You would expect of all those to get pay increases it would be pharmacists. While having to do their regular jobs, they are doing Covid tests, giving Covid vaccines and boosters. It’s just not the case.
It got me wondering how my dad, the “old-fashioned corner druggist,” as his hometown newspaper once called him, would have handled these last few years?
I’m guessing he would have handled it like he did everything else… with dignity, love and kindness. My dad, Ray Rhodes, was the best person I ever knew. I know, I know, I’m biased here, but it’s the truth.
He treated every person that came into his pharmacy the same. He spent time with them. They all wanted to discuss their medical conditions. They all wanted to know if their doctor was right? He instilled that kind of trust.
Now, he wasn’t perfect. A great pharmacist. A great husband and father. A horrible business man.
My mother always said he gave more medicine away than he profited from it. She was right. That was just him. If someone couldn’t afford their prescription, he would say, “Just pay me when you can.” Looking back, I wouldn’t have him be any other way.
Dad’s been gone awhile now. I got really nostalgic going through his things on Saturday. Those mortar and pestles. His scales for weighing the medicines he mixed. His pharmacy license.
Maybe not all his pharmacy items will go into storage. I think I’ll keep out one of those mortar and pestles. I’m no “druggist,” but I can crush some avocados for guacamole. I think my dad would approve of that.