One question answered, one remains

  • Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's always good to hear from readers, especially when they offer expertise or experience in regard to something I've written about. In last week's column, I mentioned CVS pharmacy's decision to no longer sell tobacco products. I also asked the age-old questions of why pharmacies are on raised platforms and why pharmacists still wear white coats.

Reader Kathleen Dunn and her husband retired after 45 years in retail pharmacy. She sends this response: “Many years ago, some pharmacies, though open for business, did not at times have a pharmacist on duty. A sign was to be posted indicating his or her absence.

Elevating the pharmacy made it possible to see if the pharmacist was present. The white coat was also an identifier. The elevation was also an unmarked buffer zone, discouraging visitors.

Having someone very close to you, observing you ‘take the pills (tablets) from a big bottle and put them in a smaller bottle' (as I described it) can lead to unintentional errors.”

Now that that's answered, let's move on to the next health care related question: Why do so many East Cooper residents who work in health care have to wear “scrubs” to the grocery store, Starbucks, convenience stores, etc? That seems to totally defeat the purpose, but what do I know?

Today's unanswered question is this: Why do we seem to have the only $600 million suspension bridge that must remain closed for three days after a little freezing rain? We all know that the Ravenel Bridge was closed (again) during Winter Storm Pax due mostly to ice hanging on the suspension cables above it, not because of ice on the roadway. We've also seen the pictures of serious car damage caused by ice falling during the aptly named “Ravalanche.”

The state is “looking into the warranty,” we are told, to see what can be done about the recurring problem.

This being the South, the first remedy that always comes to mind is, of course, duct tape. Seriously – perhaps those cables need to be wrapped with something that will channel water quickly down their expanse, sort of a grooved duct tape. Perhaps that wrap could also conduct heat. I guess we'll see what the experts come up with.

Meanwhile, on the policy side of the issue, can there not be an in-between condition, under which local residents can drive across the bridge if the surface is safe, but there is a danger of falling ice? Think of it like the small craft warning for boaters – you can go, but you have been advised of the risks.

Call it “Unadvised Driving” conditions. Caveat emptor. Otherwise, South Carolina's fourth largest city will continue to be partially paralyzed every time we get freezing rain.

Will Haynie has published more than 400 op-ed columns as a feature columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News when it was owned by the New York Times. His niche is as a humorous conservative. Find him on Twitter at @willhaynie or email him at Haynie.will@gmail.com.

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