Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 25

THE PHARMACIST

their families have on my life that continues
to drive me down the ever-changing path
of the pharmacist in health care.
I'm a firm believer that experiences in
life, especia l ly t he tough ones, are t he
things that shape you into who you are
both on a personal and professional level.
W hen my grandmot her was diagnosed
with cancer, I was 16 years old. I was home,
snuggled in my mom's bed late at night as
I often did when she traveled, when our
home phone rang. I didn't recognize the
number, so as any teenager would do, I
ignored it. After three or so more calls
from the same phone number, my gut told
me to answer the phone. It was one of my
mom's family members calling to let her
know that her mom, my Gran, had been
in a car accident and was in the hospital.
At that moment, our lives changed as we
knew it - delivering the message of her
accident to my mom was just the tip of the
iceberg. Over the coming days and after
loads of blood work, CT scans, and PET
scans we would find out that she didn't fall
asleep at the wheel; we found out she had
lung cancer that had metastasized to her
brain and the lesions were what ultimately triggered her to have an episode while
driving that caused the wreck. Talk about
a chain of events we were least expecting.
As the shock waves settled, the reality
sank in and the work began. In a matter of
moments it seemed, my Gameboy-playing,
bingo-winning, fiercely independent (and
hilarious!) grandmother needed around
the clock care. Gran, who was widowed,
lived alone about three hours away from us
and the coordination of her care is one of
the things that sticks with me most from
that time. My mom, being the only child,
navigated the ins and outs and weighed
the pros and cons of every option to find
the best care for her mother. Should we
move her to live with us in Tennessee?
Should we proceed with chemotherapy?
Should we move back to Alabama? Should
we find her a nursing home? Should we get
a live-in nurse? Thinking back on these
questions now as an adult and as a pharmacist, I honestly wonder sometimes how
my mom did it alone and I often wonder
if she had the support that she needed as
a caregiver to someone living with cancer.

Support

" It's not the impacts that I've made in others' lives, rather
it's the impact that my patients and their families have
on my life that continues to drive me down the everchanging path of the pharmacist in health care. "
Ultimately, my (also stubborn) grandmother put her foot down and said she
was staying in her own home. Over the
next year, Gran was ta ken care of by a
wonderful nurse named Katherine and my
family and I drove down to Birmingham
almost every weekend to spend time with
her. I must admit, at 16, I don't think I
realized the impact the entire situation
had on me. I look back fondly at those
t i mes a nd remember t he rich smel l of
countr y fried stea k and grav y cook ing
on t he stove, but a lso t he odd feel i ng
of sleeping in my grandmot her's room
while she lay in a hospital bed in her living room. I remember watching my mom
wash, brush and curl my Gran's hair and
paint her nails her signature pearly white. I
remember the whiskery kisses from Katherine who treated me and my sister like
her own grandchildren, sharing pictures
of my prom date and gushing over boys.

I remember how child-like my Gran became, clutching a small plush miniature
schnauzer doll that resembled our dog,
Jake, and the way she would look at me and
call me Sheila believing I was her daughter
and not her granddaughter. At the time,
Gran believing I was my mom made me
sad because I knew she was slipping away.
And now, it makes me proud to have been
a reminder of my mom to Gran, to be seen
as the strong, compassionate woman who
raised me.
I was only a few short weeks into my
freshman year of college at Auburn University when my mom called to tell me
that Gran had passed away. The death of
my grandmother was my first experience
losing someone close to me and as it often
seems when dealing with loss, I traveled
through a mixture of emotions. I moved
t hroug h g rief a nd sad ness, a nger, a nd
finally to relief and gratefulness that she
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2021

25


http://www.ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM

Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 1
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 3
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 4
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 5
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 6
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 7
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 8
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 9
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 10
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 11
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 12
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 13
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 14
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 15
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 16
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 17
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 18
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 19
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 20
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 21
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 22
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 23
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 24
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 25
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 26
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 27
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 28
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 29
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 30
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 31
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 32
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 33
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 34
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 35
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 36
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 37
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 38
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 39
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 40
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 41
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 42
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 43
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 44
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 45
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 46
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 47
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 48
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 49
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 50
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 51
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 52
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com