The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Remember them.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:01 pm on Sunday, October 18, 2009

There are few more humbling experiences than going to a nursing home.  Whether it be to visit a family member, or in my case, give a flu clinic,  I find this experience both rewarding and a stern reminder that my body is frail and someday will betray me.

Each year I pack up my vaccine and visit a particular assisted living facility.  There are several levels of care, ranging from “nearly no care required” to “completely incapacitated”.   Since I have visited this same location for four years I have been privy to seeing the same faces over and over.  Ths is particular facility can best be described as “premier”.   They only take private pay and private insurance.  No welfare here.  The entry looks like a fancy hotel.  There is a concierge. They have a hair salon, a movie room and regular outings for whoever wants to go.  Soft music plays over the sounds of the residents moving about.  About the only way you’d know this was NOT a hotel would be the condition of the residents.  Wheelchairs and walkers replace business suits and briefcases of a typical hotel lobby. 

Because I have come to this place for several years, I have become recognized and welcomed.  Several of them actually patronize my store (or have their family members pick up their prescriptions).  They know me by name. One even knows Mr. Chick from some other place and time.  She always asks “So how is Mr Chick!”, and remembers him by first name. Considering she is in her mid 80’s and hasn’t seen Mr Chick for 13 yrs really says something to me.  She is sharp!.

Not all are this way however.   Nearly everybody who lives there has a reason for doing so.  They cannot or should not live alone anymore.  I only hope to have the financial ability to live like this when I need such care.  One such couple are Leo and Bess.  I met them several years ago.  Leo was a quiet man. Bess was the alpha female.  I suspect this was because Leo was in physical decline long before we met.  He didn’t say much but was politely conversant.  Time has ravaged him.  When I came to the facility (LTC for short)  even I was surprised.  He was hunched over in a wheelchair and resides in the memory care unit.  Bess spends most of her days knitting next to him in a chair.   She still freely moves about.  Leo does not. 

Sam was a retired physician.  Four years ago he praised my needle technique; “You give a mean shot pharmacy lady!”  “Good job!”.  He too lives in the alzheimers unit now and didn’t even know he received his vaccination. 

Henry and Carol used to live near my store. Both were long time customers.  When their kids moved they moved into this LTC.  He still has his spark, but no longer walks unaided to my clinic.  He slowly and carefully uses a walker.    This year Carol chose to stay in her room.  She didnt feel well enough for her shot.

Frank loves the Lord.  He told me about 40 times.  He is just biding his time til he goes home to be with Jesus. I know this because he told me.  I just met him this year.  He is the LTC newest resident according to Frank, all of 1 week.  Of course, I can’t always believe what they say. He said he wants to remember my name for next year.

Phyllis was a kick.  She too lives in the Alzheimer’s unit.  I’d describe her as high functioning dementia..if you didn’t know, you’d might not figure it out.  She was napping, when I came to give her the shot.  The aide woke her up and she had still just enough modesty to not want her shirt pulled up too high because she had no bra on.  We worked around it.  The aide said “Phyllis its time for your shot!” to which she replied ” Well of course!  I spoke with her (pointing to me) about it this morning!”  We never had any such conversation. I gave her the shot and moved to the next resident…and the next….about 15 minutes later she walked into the private room where I was giving a shot with her bra in hand.  “I found it..will you help me put it on?”

One lady nearly needed subduing, not becasue she was angry, but because she was singing at the top of her lungs. “Glory, Glory Halleluia!” Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

I am grateful for the fully functioning body that I currently own.  Yea, its getting older.  My hips hurt after long days on my feet.  I have some arthritis in my thumb, and I notice that small jowls  now reside where my clean jaw line used to be.  I no longer like a side view of my face.  A few crows feet are sneaking in around my eyes and I have more grey hairs than I’d like to admit.   Despite normal aging, I am in good shape.    I play golf, tennis and move around freely.  My brain functions normally (tho I think Mr Chick might have something to say about that).  

It may or may not always remain that way.  And, it only takes an anual trip the LTC to remind me of my current good fortune.  Dementia doesn’t run in my family. Most of my relatives (save, my mother) have lived into their 90’s.  My grand mother is 96, and lives in a nursing home, and is getting a bit forgetful herself now.   I hope  if somebody comes and gives her a flu shot and she talks a little nonsense, that they are nice and patient.

I just wanna love on Henry, Carol, Phyllis, Leo, Bess, Sam and Frank a little while longer…and rewind their clocks a bit.

3 Comments »

Comment by Jennifer

October 19, 2009 @ 12:13 am

Wow, thanks for the reminder to ‘Remember Them’. Not only for our sake, but for theirs. Beautifully written.

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

October 19, 2009 @ 5:04 am

Very good post, PC. Especially with Thanksgiving coming.

Comment by Jade

October 20, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

Love this post, PC.

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