Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacist's Story Is the Saga of an Era

Magazine article Drug Topics

Pharmacist's Story Is the Saga of an Era

Article excerpt


Truman Lastinger is a walking history of pharmacy pradice. He spent 58 years in retail pharmacy, 50 of them as an RPh, and did more to bring healthcare services to his rural Georgia community than he is likely to admit. He has, however, recorded many of his memories of causes championed and patients helped in a new book, titled "Farming to Pharmacy: Memories of a Sharecropper's Son. " Below, he tells us how it all began.

Being bom in 1937 to a sharecropper did not lend itself to getting a college education. Sharecropping existed with, and then replaced, slavery after the Civil War. The only thing the sharecropper had was a mule and a little furniture. His family existed at the whim of the landowner.

At 15 years of age I got tired of working on farms and went to town, Moultrie, Ga., to see if I could find a job. I went almost all the way around the courthouse square, going into every office and store. There were six drugstores around that square, serving about 25,000 people. All the stores seemed to be doing a good business, and everyone had a lunch hour.

I got hired in the fourth drugstore I went into. They needed a soda jerk. The owner's wife asked me to write down my name and the name of the store. When she saw she could read my writing, she told him to hire me.

After I spent a week or so in the soda fountain, the boss took me into the back of the store and put me to pouring and labeling wets, and measuring and labeling drys. It was here that I discovered some peculiar names for drugs. Acetylated salicylic add (aspirin), phenylazodiamino pyridine (pyridium), acetylated para amino phenol (APAR which became Tÿlenol), were some that caught my eye. I got hooked on pharmacy.

Off to pharmacy school

My boss told me to apply for pharmacy school. When I told him that I couldn't afford it, he said that he would pay my tuition if I came back and worked for him. I was exdted and applied. I was accepted by The University of Georgia, Auburn University in Alabama, and Southern College of Pharmacy in Atlanta. I told my giiifriend I was going to pharmacy school.

Then my boss had a heart attack and drowned at Daytona Beach. Suddenly I was back where I started. My girlfriend insisted that I could work my way through school and said she would help.

We got married and went to Atlanta, where I entered Southern College of Pharmacy. I chose it because I could find a job in Atlanta. It took us eight hard years and overcoming many obstades, but we finally made it.

My first drugstore

We moved back to South Georgia and finally opened our own drugstore. I remembered how things were done in Moultrie, and practiced the way they did.

Many of my pharmacy neighbors and I served as primary healthcare providers to the county. People with small problems we treated with OTC meds and meds we made up. We made eyedrops, lozenges, douche powders, toothpaste, and poultices. We used sulfur and cream of tarter lozenges for skin problems. I mixed insulins, administered B12 injections, and gave allergy shots. Quite often a doctor would call me and ask me to go to the store and administer a tetanus shot, and to let him know if the patient needed stitches.

Public service

I went to the school board and explained that many of our families could not afford to pay a doctor $4 or $5 dollars when their children had a problem that kept them out of school. The board agreed to accept my written notes, ensuring that no child would have to be absent without cause.

The health department administered inoculations and began to pass out certain medications. …

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