Always carry a bikini in your purse


Photograph of a TheBus 40' Gillig Phantom bus ...

TheBus in Honolulu near the intersection of Beretania and Bishop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I can breathe. At least until tomorrow. I flew last night to Oahu for my second MPJE exam in a week. Last Saturday, I took the one for New Mexico, and today I took the one for Washington state. It all started out on a positive note…..

I arrived at Honolulu International Airport in the afternoon, with my purse and briefcase on wheels. I was spending the night, but I figured I didn’t need a full change of clothes….just a couple shirts and a bikini folded into my purse. Always be prepared! Walking up to the bus stop, I spotted a man I work with on a project. I use that phrase loosely, since I didn’t even remember his name. He was fiddling with his iPhone. “Aloha,” to which his reply was, “The bus comes at 5:51.” It seems he found some cool way of tracking the buses on his phone.

As luck would have it, we sat next to each other on the bus, across from two military boys who had evidently not been whooped into shape enough during boot camp. These boys were straight from the midwest, had never been on a city bus, were probably excited about the nightlife in Waikiki,

and were loud and obnoxious. Eight-year-old boys on a big field trip, but with tons of testosterone.

I reintroduced myself to the “bus keeper,” and we talked the best we could given the ruckus around us about a grant just released by CMS, and somehow about the school his son goes to. It’s for dyslexic and/or gifted children. In fact, he moved to Oahu so his son could go there, but he works all week on Maui while his wife stays on Oahu. Now, that’s Dad of the Year, in my books! He said a few times that “it’s really expensive.”

It’s called Assets, and I intend to look into it. While I want to stay on Maui, the prospect of a job is slim to none. My daughter is highly gifted and the typical underachiever.  Not only did he (his name is Tony) turn me on to a grant and Assets, he also turned me on to a website for tracking the buses on Oahu. If you Google “the bus”, you will find the website. The buses each have gps on them, so you can find out real time how far they are from you.

Next adventure, the hotel. I had no idea where I was staying, but I knew it was in the outskirts of Waikiki….Equus, boutique hotel. Hmmm.. The front desk seemed nice enough, with a waterfall audible in the background. The desk clerk gave me my key, said to head back out and around the building to the high rise in the back. He pointed to the security code for the building and told me I was on floor 26. Whoa! 26?! I have been on Maui too long. I did what he said, but was a bit confused. High rise doesn’t sound “boutique” to me.

Western Sushi found at Wegmans Supermarket

I found my room, and it was a tiny condo with kitchenette. The bed was a Murphy, and I almost tripped on it trying to walk by, given the 12 inches of clearance between it and the wall. It wasn’t beautiful, but it had a stove, so I could boil water for my Throat tea, and it had a great view of the city. Sushi sounded good for dinner, so I searched Places on my phone and decided to head toward Waikiki a block or so.

When I found the building, there wasn’t the sushi restaurant I found, but something much better! It was Aloha Sushi, with everything to go. Hot dog! I was in business! One spicy ahi and some poke nigiri, all wrapped up, and I headed back for my last study session.

I set up my computer so I could face the city lights and the ocean and got situated with notes and sushi. Suddenly, fireworks went off right in front of me!  Boom! Boom! I had my very own show for 3-5 minutes. Honestly, the timing couldn’t be better, and I took it as a good sign.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night. Spinning in my mind were all kinds of business ideas. The whole plan was laid out, and I battled whether to get up and write it down or stay in my meditative state and hope that I would both fall asleep and remember everything the next day. I decided to stay in bed, but I might as well have gotten up.

The room next to me housed some young, rowdy females up for a good time, and they traipsed in and out of their room every few minutes. They were obviously drunk by the fact they were practically yelling to each other in the linoleum hallway that was ten feet long from the elevator to both of our doors. I cracked my door and grunted “some people are trying to sleep,” which they ignored. A call to security seemed to work, or they were just too busy praying to the porcelain god or passed out. Regardless, I finally got about 4 hours of sleep.

“Yes, but how did the test go?” you ask. Well, I made it there early, was finishing my second pint of coffee and feeling the haze lift.

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler, as sold in 2...

Regular Starbucks Coffee tumbler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt okay going into it, really (that’s what they all say). Plus, I had locker #3 (my lucky number), and then I was seated at desk #3. That just had to be a good sign! Fourty questions into the 90 question exam, I realized I was almost on time (meaning I had no grace time), and that I clearly didn’t study well enough for this one OR the last one. About 1/3 of the questions warranted a WTF?! from me. I honestly don’t know how they come up with these scenarios.

I left the test center last week feeling like most people leave. “No way I passed that exam.” After today, I left feeling completely dejected, so I did what any girl would do. I went to Ala Moana Shopping Center and bought myself some perfume.

Then, I headed to the beach, plopped down my briefcase and purse, changed into my bikini, and got me the first dose of sun in two weeks. After timing myself and flipping like bacon, I rocked a few downward dogs, pigeons and headstands.

Back to the mall for some shoes on clearance (not much makes a girl happier when she is down). I managed to catch my flight on time, where I wrote down some great notes about what I needed to do this next week. Now, here I am, sitting on my lanai with twinkling lights above me, a glass of wine to my right, a soft tropical breeze, and this hacking cough I can’t get rid of.  Tomorrow is a little “me time” before I catch up on the rest of my life….


The Contest Continues! Ends March 14th

Please check out  and RATE the new designs submitted for my contest for a business logo. Contest ends March 14th. Below is some background.

CLICK HERE to vote!

Design Brief:

I am a Medication Wellness Consultant Pharmacist offering holistic Medication Therapy Management services based around collaborative care: to individuals and physician groups via phone, in person, or video; and via speaking arrangements at conferences. In the future, I would like to work on functional, fundamental nutritional consults and workshops, so my business will not focus solely on medicine. I also have a blog, which I hope to build over time.

Theme: Helping Others Help Themselves

My target audience will include both physicians and lay people. They will be of all ages and backgrounds..

1. professional, clean and contemporary
2. symbolizes holistic health, vitality, and Helping Others Thrive.
3. It should be simple, reduce to b/w and grayscale easily, and be easily recognizable once people have seen it a few times.
4. No cartoons

She’s Got Legs

Tonight was the last night of the conference, when they always put on a big show and party. When you have 20,000+ attendees, even when many of them go home, the party can be incredibly large. I heard there were about 6000 there tonight. I was excited to wear my new slinky dress and high heels. I just don’t get many opportunities to dress up here on the islands. It was cold out, but I knew that I would be taking the shuttle bus over to Mardi Gras World and then going inside. I spiffed myself up, then headed down with only a small cardigan and my purse. When I got to the waiting area for the shuttle, I knew I stuck out, and walking onto the bus was hilarious. Everyone was bundled up in long coats, beanies, scarves, gloves, etc. In walks the girl from Maui with a slinky dress and bare legs. Oh well. I felt good and was ready to dance!

When we got to Mardi Gras World, there was a line outside, again of overly bundled folks. Once inside, I was greeted by numerous giant faces. I didn’t realize we would be walking through the area where they make and store the floats for Mardi Gras. It was certainly cold, and we had to keep moving, but I shot some decent pics. I danced the whole time, and even had the lead singer Rockin’ Dopsie Jr (David Rubin) come down and dance with me at two points. Fun, Fun!

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Today was spent getting ready for a week in NOLA. The End.


Today, I was excited to join a coalition of Maui healthcare providers focused on improving care transitions. They are applying for a Community Based Care Transition Program (CCTP) grant focused on the discharge process from the hospital. I was the only pharmacist invited to participate, which felt awesome! It also gave me a chance to be an advocate for pharmacy. By the end of the meeting and our root cause analysis, medication management was top priority. Go pharmacy!

Double Rainbow

Today was filled with rainbows. Not only was it a full moon, but the day started and ended with rainbows all over the island. Full, brilliant rainbows, double rainbows….everywhere and all day. The magic of the full moon, coupled with the next day being 11-11-11, was intense. The whole island was vibrating, and for me it was a day of connection.

I went to the pharmacy to teach some interns about my new MTM process I am trying to get launched, and we had a great talk. I told them a bit about how healthcare is changing, some of the things to watch out for down the line, and so on. I knew that, being a student, it is probably very difficult for them to be up to date on what is happening, which doesn’t seem right. How are they supposed to plan their life once they get out if they aren’t up to date on current events in healthcare? It is part of being immersed in the non-reality of education though.

Then, I had a conference call with an amazing woman from UH Hilo who is working with me on applying for a grant. She has amazing ideas, and I feel so priveleged to not only be able to work with her, but to have her vote of confidence. That will be a long process, but I feel good about it. One step at a time! After the call, my former dean of experiential education from UNM College of Pharmacy visited. She and her husband were visiting the island. It was really good to connect, and it was good the hear that the college is doing well and under strong new leadership.

After meeting with them and telling them about all that I have done since I came to Maui, I went upcountry to hang out with my friend and his visitor from Canada. They made a nice dinner with wine, and then we all went to a free form dance “class” in Haiku. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I haven’t really moved in a while….a long while. I started out slow, sitting against the wall and watching for a bit, but the music finally took over and I found myself playing with movement again, almost uninhibited. I certainly could use some more grounding, but it felt good to move and express myself physically again, to feel the energy flow. I left feeling relaxed, energized, playful…several people commented me on my dancing as I walked out under the bright full moon. It had rained, and there were large puddles, so I did what any ex-ballerina would do, and I made a small leap over one. POP! went my ankle as I fell over it. I popped right up, but that was such a typical dancer move! I make it through 2 hours of jumping and spinning around, and then I fall over my ankle in the parking lot. Thankfully, I don’t get all flustered about that stuff anymore. Life happens, and things like that are funny.

All in all, an amazing, energy-filled day of connecting with others…as well as myself.

Calling Angry Pharmacists!!

The profanity is flowing. Things need to get done.

My first preceptor from my 4th year of pharmacy school, and one who has done so much for pharmacy in New Mexico, lit a fire under my butt this morning. This week, I realized that to get anywhere in pharmacy, to get to that holy grail we speak of that exists already in the VA, we need to change the law. Get this. The Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics utilize pharmacists beautifully. They are seamlessly integrated into the healthcare team. YET, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not recognize pharmacists as healthcare providers for purposes of reimbursement. Does that make sense?

There are plenty of blogs out there telling how pharmacy really is. I think that the public, including MDs, nurses, and anyone who has been to a retail pharmacy, has the view that the retail pharmacist has a pretty job. All they do is count, pour, lick and stick, right? All the while, they keep on smiling and keep their cool. That’s only because we are good at what we do. We keep our cool because if we didn’t, we would go “postal”. That’s also the only pharmacist they see, which is one reason why so many people don’t realize all that pharmacist do, FOR THEM.

If you want to read some fun, informative, sometimes lewd, and also very eloquent blogs, many are listed HERE at PharmLand and also HERE.

Keep in mind that there are pharmacists in the hospital (usually in the basement, where the environment and security for the drugs can be better controlled), and they are also out on the hospital floors, rounding with the healthcare team. We have consultant pharmacists working in clinics, hospitals and long-term care, as well as pharmacists in their own clinics, such as the Diabetes Self-Management (DSM) outpatient sites. There are pharmacists conducting MTM (Medication Therapy Management) both in and out of the community pharmacies. There are home infusion pharmacists, nuclear pharmacists, compounding pharmacists, and of course you have the retail pharmacist.

Where there are drugs involved, there are pharmacists.

I would love to see all of those pharmacists that are ballsy enough to tell it like it is, to push for actual change. Push for reform. Push back. Rally people together and get them fired up. GIVE SOLUTIONS. Be the catalyst for change.


Some prominent blogs:

Take the Bull by the Horns

Well, another productive day. I spoke with a pharmacist at HMSA/Healthways who truly backs me. She told me how reimbursement really is (at least in Hawaii), and ways I can make a difference. Then, she connected me to people who can help make it happen. By IT, I mean provider status for pharmacists. Until we have provider status, we can’t bill for our services (which go way beyond pill counting), and therefore we won’t be able to offer those services. One needs an income to live.

We need to be the quality people. Pharmacists are known for being detail oriented, even anal retentive. I think it’s a pre-req for getting into pharmacy school. Would you want a spacey “idea guy” handling your medications? I didn’t think so. So, now is a time where the government is calling for accountability. Now is the time that pharmacy HAS to jump up and take the bull by the horns. If we don’t, we will be pushed out of the healthcare model. We have to tell every doctor, every nurse, every administrator that they need us in order to meet these quality standards, and to do it efficiently and effectively. We have to get the word out! We need pharmacists in politics, being active in the legislature and pushing bills forward, not only in each state, but nation-wide.

All of those states with provider status, we need your people to help the other states get on the ball. We have too few people doing the work and too many people not believing it can be done. I am tired of trying to fit a model that doesn’t include us. We need to assert our place in the patient’s overall care or be shoved out. Jump on board or start training for your next career folks!

Falling Into Place

Today, things were actually clicking. In fact, things were happening so fast, I could hardly keep up. I have been trying to start an innovative pharmacy practice. Unfortunately, there are many roadblocks, both financially and in people’s understanding and acceptance of pharmacists‘ value. Fortunately, when I truly set my mind to something, I don’t stop until I get it. On top of that, I have a boss who believes in me enough to financially support me through this, and I have other people who support me as well.

I was connecting with billing people from a private physician’s office, case management at the hospital, liberal pharmacists from across the nation, and quality improvement folks here in Hawaii. I decided to focus on reducing hospital readmissions, and I suddenly tripped on loads of useful information online. So, meetings and phone calls are getting set up, data is being gathered, and grants have been found that I will apply for.  To top it all off, I got an invite from a new friend and cycling buddy Chris King for his workshop “Get as many clients as your heart desires”, designed especially for health professionals. Turns out he also coaches people who are trying to start up their own business….specifically in health and wellness too! BINGO!

To make the day even sweeter, I was invited to ride with Chris and my friend Mark. I talked with Chris about what I want to do, and tried to think of a company name so I could get the ball rolling, and he brought me right back to the basics. He said it should reflect your most important value. If this one value did not exist in your world, you would no longer want to live. And his first example was my absolute biggest need in life, beyond love and connection, which are different. HONESTY is of the utmost to me. My name should somehow reflect that value of honesty, trust, integrity. I didn’t get to finish the conversation, as I had to rush off after the ride to get my daughter.

I firmly believe that when things are falling into place, it’s a sign you are on the right track and to trust in the process and roll with it. Today was definitely one of those days!

Seeking Direction

Truly lost in how to pursue this independent consultant goal of mine…. I love that I have the opportunity, just wish I knew where to start, and the best route to take. That’s the hard part of uncharted territory…there is no guide.