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Friday, June 15, 2012

True Figures - The Cost of Pharmacy School

So, I haven't kept it a secret that I have not felt fulfilled as a pharmacist.  I have posted many rants about my job, and have considered going back to school.  Actually, I recently attended an academic advisement meeting to see what I need to do to go to medical school, and have scheduled other meetings to research various fields that I am interested in.   So far, I believe that medical school is no longer an option for me, as it is to much time for me to invest at 27 years old. Not that it wouldn't be worth it, but I don't want to be 35+ years old before I start practicing on my own. Not to mention the $180,000 of debt the average student graduates with (in my state).

-Lesson-
If you want to go to medical school, pursue it first, as it is a huge investment of time, money, and energy.  It takes a bachelors degree, four years of medical school, 2-4 years of residency, and then 2-4 more years of fellowship (depending on your specialty).

That being said, I would like to talk a little more about pharmacy.  Where I live, the job market is getting saturated.  People are graduating without jobs.

Let me rephrase that.  People are graduating with $150,000+ in debt, without a job.... debt that never goes away... ever.

Personally, I graduated with a little over $170,000 of school debt, which is a little funny to me.  It's funny because one of the factors that lead me to choose pharmacy over medical school was the debt factor.  My grandpa did some homework for me just before I graduated high school, and took me around to talk to people regarding a major.  I actually had a physician tell me to stay away from medical school because of the debt, and to go to pharmacy school because it is cheaper and pharmacists make a good living.

Sounded good, but looking at it now, I seemed to have graduated with the same debt as the average physician when they graduate.  Not to mention that fact that I make half to a quarter of their average salaries.

BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

This is absurd.  Not only are we paying more for our education, we are now graduating without the promise of a job near our home.

I will have to admit that I did take the max amount of loans to include cost of living during school, which left me with about $10,000 a semester (during pharmacy school NOT undergrad).  Therefore, if you are going to any kind of grad school, take it from me and BE DILIGENT.  Do not give in to the "American Way" of thinking that you can have it now and pay for it later, because you will become a SLAVE to debt.  Just like our nation has become a slave to our debt and debtors (thanks China!).  Also remember that the Bible says not to go into debt to anyone, but if you do, get out of it as soon as possible (for you will be a slave to your debtor).

My monthly payments for my loans are a little over $1500.  That is on the 10 year plan they put you on when you graduate.  You can extend the loans to the 30 year plan, or apply for some of the special programs that they have to reduce your cost per month, but that is what it costs me to stick with the 10 year plan.

If you have ever crunched the numbers (or have seen them crunched), you will recognize the fact that extending loans to 30 years will basically DOUBLE the amount you pay for the original item purchased.  So I would pay $340,000 for my education (including the cost of living amount) instead of the original $170,000.  Hence the reason I am sticking with the 10 year plan.  Now, add that payment to a $1000 dollar a month mortgage, and you will see that there isn't a lot of room to try to make double payments to get out of debt as soon as possible.

That being said, it seems very compelling for me to stop complaining and just appreciate the fact that I:

1. Have a job close to home
2. Have a good salary
3. DO NOT WORK IN RETAIL
4. I am in a place where I can try to get debt free as soon as possible

In fact I have looked at this, and have decided it isn't all that bad.

However, I have been called by the Good Lord above to do something Radical, and I have decided to answer that call.

Please read my next post to hear an amazing true story that may just inspire you to follow the Lord with all of your heart, mind, and soul.

Until next time,
Peace to you and may the Lord Bless You in all that you do.   - AMEN!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The HCG Diet

HCG, is it truly a miracle diet drug?  With so many clinics offering therapy, and so many websites offering drops, I would like to offer a little truth on the matter....

I cannot deny the results that people have with HCG.  They seriously lose about a pound a day!  That is pretty amazing, but they pay for it, with their wallets.  Clinic visits can cost around a hundred dollars a pop, with a forty day course of injections plus needles costing roughly the same.  Drops on the internet are less expensive, but what do you know about homeopathic medicine?  Let's just say it is very interesting.  So take a look at these links and decide for yourselves. 

PowerPoint Presentation  Handout

This was one of my research projects, so the terminology may be confusing, and some information may seem lacking, but it was accompanied with a live presentation.  If you get confused, just post your questions and I'll get back with you.

Bottom line.... People lose weight with the diet, but they only eat 500 kcal a day.  Anyone will lose weight if  they do that, HCG or no HCG!

What do you think?  Would you recommend HCG or take it?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Entertainment

Is it ok to watch or listen to whatever they put out there today?  I'm tired of it, the music is all about sex, and it is all blunt, without even trying to be subtle.  TV just wants everyone to feel ok about all perversions.  Every show has a gay or lesbian couple, unwed teenage mothers, and allusions to inappropriate material with some kind of authority laughing like it is ok (i.e.  teenage sexual references with a parent just laughing like "kids these days ha ha...").

I'm so tired of it all.  It's not ok to glorify homosexuality, promiscuity, or drug and alcohol abuse.  Everyone wants to sit there and say, "things are bad today" or "things aren't like they used to be...", but everyone wants to sit down and watch these tv shows that are nothing but garbage.  Everyone likes two and half men, they let their kids watch it, but they wonder why our teachers are having relations with our kids, or why our kids dress/act the way they do.  It's because anything goes today, and whats worse is that some people don't even bat an eye at it.

I despise our culture today, I once completely enjoyed the clever euphemisms or zany actions that made no sense, but now I wish everyone would grow up.

Wonder why our leadership is so horrible????  It's because everyone is looking out for themselves, watching the things that are funny or make them feel good, not trying to maintain the sanctity of innocence.

News reporters, film and music executives, our government, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the founders of YouTube, myspace, Facebook, etc.... are all TERRORISTS.  Why you ask.....  because they have successfully distracted the entire American public enough to allow those with political/monetary agendas to have their way with us.

Don't believe me.  If we are in such a recession, why did Black Friday revenue exceed last year by 1 Billion dollars?  That's 1000 million dollars.  Do people really not have money, or are the so called 1% manipulating everything so that they can get their way?  Why did oil companies make record profits after 9/11 and the economic stress that it put on our country.  Was it a set up?  I pray that it wasn't.

I know that some companies are failing, but I wonder why.  Instead of due diligence, they do what feels good, because everyone should pursue their dreams at all costs, even if it means that their dreams fail. They fail because they took their profit and went to the Bahamas, or invested in some new dot com start up that allows you to put your favorite books online so that others can see what you read in case they like to read, blah, or bought a new Mercedes because that was their dream since they were a kid.  This instead of reinvesting into the company, making good decisions, and reaping the benefits later.  No, we want it all now, (just like the commercials make you feel it is ok to do).

Please don't believe that I haven't been guilty of these things as well.  I watch crappy shows still, though I try to stop myself.  Ive looked at stuff online that I'm not proud of, and made purchases when I really shouldn't have.  I am guilty too, but when will it be too much.  Ever? I'm going to step up and try to live what I write, but I doubt anyone else will step up, because that will infringe on someone else's right to BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ESPN

I just got done watching Oklahoma State have their way with Arizona on ESPN.  Sportscenter came on afterwards and I realized that I can't handle the anchors on there.  "What's Good, I'm Scott van Pelt..."  What's Good?  Is he supposed to be Sway from MTV?  I don't know what it is about everyone trying to be contemporary that annoys me.  Sportscenter, and ESPN for that matter, ensures that they have fast-talking, "hip" anchors that are always trying to be clever, but I've never really liked it.  You know how Stuart Scott gets up there and says something like, "Peyton Manning gets his Injured Reserve on," or shows a clip of Aron Rodgers escaping from a sack and makes some, "Everyday I'm Shufflin" reference. Sometimes it is clever, but most of the time it's no better than a pun.

This assimilation to the "fresh" culture has gotten ridiculous.  Before I go to far, I will say that I am guilty as well, but I feel the need to express frustration with the extreme side of things.  It's not hip-hop or hanging on to youth that I have a problem with, but rather the obsession with the fast pace.  Parents and grandparents constantly updating their status on facebook, middle aged people texting while driving, materialism and plastic surgery becoming a way of life, it's all getting to be too much. 

Just look at what we watch on tv and in movies. What happened to sitcoms that show everyday situations with positive endings?  Now every show has to be some fast talking, dry, sarcastic humor that gets exaggerated to try to make it funny.  Just watch The Middle or Modern Family to see what I'm talking about.

I will say that a middle ground is better than the corniness of Full House, but it's gone too far.  It will be hard for our children to be convicted about anything, because of this "anything goes" society in which we live. The only thing that is taboo to talk about God.  Isn't that insane?!

Think about it.  Family dinners and conversation gone because of TV, getting a good nights rest a thing of the past because of the Internet,  road trips and family night out reduced to silence because of mobile devices.  Not only that, the liberal minded authors and media out there make everything out to be acceptable.  Blunt sexual references, soccer moms booty-dancing, all profanity short of the F-word, it's all ok.  Public decency? What is that? Everyone is allowed to please themselves because they "deserve it."  I mean we work hard to live outside of our means by putting everything on loan.  Want a boat, get a loan..... even if you make $10.50 an hour and rent your home.  Go ahead, you deserve it.

The conservatives don't care about morals or decency anymore, because they are too concerned with squeezing every dollar that they can out of the American consumer.  No more fighting for what's right, there's money to be leveraged.  They build businesses that run on debt, make enough money to make payments on loans, and then they pay CEO's six and seven figured salaries and bonuses, and forget everything else.  If they can find a clever, "fresh" way to sell it, they do it.  Just watch Casino Jack, and you will see what I'm talking about.

I guess I'm a bigot, I don't think that the subject matter of entertainment is acceptable.  Non-traditional couples raising children, divorce just another thing you do in life (like college or something), and all of the others mentioned above. I wonder how hard the Republican Candidates will fight to uphold traditional marriage?  I guess it all depends on their popularity rating.  Don't get me wrong, I still care for and love these people that I am complaining about, but I don't like what I see. I'm just tired of the mind set of our country, and I'm prejudiced against ignorance.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Funny Story

Soooo...... I have night terrors.  Literally, I will wake up in the middle of the night screaming and yelling ready to fight.  One night I forearm shivered my headboard, and I thought I broke my arm.  Most nights my wife has to calm me down, but sometimes she has to just let me fight it out......... with no one.  I don't know who it is that I see, but it is a recurring thing to have someone standing at my door or at the foot of my bed when I have these dreams. 

Most of the time it is stressful for my wife, but last night was actually funny.  She tells me that I woke her up, and I was sitting up in bed with my arms straight out, one hand supporting the other.  Apparently I was holding a gun.  I wasn't pointing my fingers like a gun, I was holding a gun (in my mind anyway, not a real one). 

Now...... my wife is pregnant.  Before, she would spring out of bed and calm me down.  Last night, however, her belly stopped her from getting up, but it wasn't for a lack of trying.  Apparently she tried to get up to calm me down, but only her arms and legs were able to move.  She couldn't bend at the waist, so she ended up like a turtle on its back. She was able to sit up eventually, and she asked me what was going on.  Keep in mind that I DO NOT remember ANY of this. 

I guess I told her that I fired the gun, and that I couldn't find where it went.  The whole time that we talked, I had my arms out holding the gun (that wasn't there).  Eventually she had to say, "put...the....gun...down."  After she said that, I slowly lowered my arms.  Later on in the day, I get a text telling me that she was tired from the gun slingin.  All I said was, "did I do something in my sleep?"  Later she commenced to telling me this story, aaaaannnnddd she let me know that she told all the girls at her work.  She always let's them know about my antics during nightmares.

I think she should start recording it.  Hopefully we'll get some good footage.

Does anyone have any experience with this?  I have done a sleep study, but the night terrors weren't completely addressed.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 minutes..... and I should have walked out.

I must confess that I am a fan of comedies.  I enjoy laughing and I have a thing for the absurd.  It's just how I am.  However, I decided to take my wife to see The Help today, but we arrived a little too late and (to my delight) decided to watch 30 Minutes or Less... Now, I wish we would have just watched The Help.  I don't know much about that movie, and it sounds like a chick flick, but after watching the other I feel like it probably would have been a better choice. 

I'm sure you know the synopsis of the movie, but let's recap.  Jesse Eisenberg is strapped with a bomb and has to rob a bank to avoid being blown up.  He recruits Aziz Ansari to help him do so, while Danny McBride and Nick Swardson follow behind (because they are the one's that strapped him with a bomb).  There are a few twists and turns that make the movie interesting, but it is the blatant use of crude humor that really makes the movie fail (in my eyes that is).  Not to mention the fact that this really happened, and the real guy actually died from the bomb exploding.

I am a fan of Danny McBride and liked what Nick Swardson did on Reno 911 as Terry (or Teh-rr-yyy-iiee), but their act is getting old to me. How many times can Nick Swardson play an awkward guy that tries to fit in, while being homoerotic, and making annoying faces?  Also, how many times can Danny McBride play a over-confident lackey that says something very funny just to explain why its funny until its not funny?

It's actually spelled out this way in the movie.  He is on the phone with a girl, and uses a euphemism to describe what he is talking about.  Now, in the right mood, what he was talking about could be funny, but   he ruins it by explaining what it means in a "that's just a euphemism for this literal, inappropriate thing", which he so often does, and it takes all of the humor away. 

Why can't we enjoy subtle humor?  Even if it is sexual in nature, why do these film-makers and actors feel it is necessary to put EVERYTHING so bluntly?  There is more humor in subtlety and in the scenario than there is when someone explains that a fart joke is funny because its about farts.  It's ridiculous.  I think that these two actors have really hit a time in their career where they need to try something different, and film-makers everywhere need to try to make movies that are less raunchy.  Why is it ok to be so disgusting today?

Michael Peña does a great job with his role as a hitman in the movie.  He is very funny with his delivery, and breaks away from the traditional Latino criminal by adding very humorous characteristics.  He is serious and funny without losing the seriousness (unlike McBride).  Aziz Ansari is pretty funny, but he is himself, which is still pretty funny.  Jesse Eisenberg does a really good job, and was a great choice as the lead character.  If it weren't for these three characters, I would count the movie a complete loss (although the supporting roles did pretty well). 

Anyway, let's just say symbolism and dry humor are a thing of the past with comedies today.  So if you want to go see something that will not stimulate your brain, or something vulgar that will probably offend some,  go see this movie.

P.S. I know this doesn't have anything to do with pharmacy, but I get tired of whining about my profession.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Medical Missions

I once asked a pharmacist that goes on medical missions if there was a job for her when she goes.  She said,

                     "Yeah, the most important job..... handling the meds." 

Now, I am so confused by that.  Countries that need medical missions don't have boards of pharmacy, and  they don't care which team member handles the meds, they just appreciate receiving the help. The one mission trip that I had the pleasure of being a part of had a medical branch and a church branch doing Bible School and giving supplies.  I don't remember a pharmacist on the medical branch (I was in school and was with the church), and I know they handed out meds. 

What I was asking her was, do they use her medical knowledge, or at least her drug knowledge.  I'm sure they would refer to her to see which Sulfonylurea was in stock or which ACE-inhibitor they had, but I wanted to know if we could be of use - medically (as I know God can use anyone for any purpose).  With Hurricane Irene hitting the Northeast, and Tropical Storm Jose brewing, I would like to think that pharmacists can do something other than supply system management, not that I think we are better than Doctors, but I think we are a valuable asset.  Our training and the overall desire of pharmacists to make a difference drive me to ask these questions. 

Can our profession develop into a pharmacist practitioner of sorts?  I know that some states allow pharmacists to prescribe certain medications, and most states allow collaborations between doctors an pharmacists to have standing orders (e.g. flu shots), but how far can we go?  I am trying to pose these questions in a positive light rather than in a whiny "woe is me" tone.  I have to admit that when I started pharmacy school, I just wanted to help my family and those close to me with the fruits that this profession bears.  Not that I didn't think of the little white haired ladies or the weather talking old men that we interact with so often, but my family was my primary concern.  Now I feel like I have a calling to do more.

Should I go to Seminary?  Should I go to medical school?  Should I stay where I am and see what kind of positive things God can do with a profession that has already given me such grief?  I'm not sure yet, but I will be praying and taking steps find out.