Fun at the pharmacy

Yesterday my granulation tissue faced off with silver nitrate for the seventh time. The nurse was very liberal in its application and based on the severe stinging I experienced for the next 8 hours, I thought that the granulation tissue had finally been defeated! Alas, when I took a peek today I couldn’t even tell it had been burnt. Granulation Tissue: 7, Silver Nitrate: 0.

Soon after this discovery my doctor’s office called and wanted to know which pharmacy I went to so that they could call in a prescription for me. I saw my doctor on Tuesday and we didn’t discuss any new prescriptions so I was thoroughly confused. I asked what the prescription was for but the office assistant didn’t seem to know, so I gave the location and phone number of my pharmacy (which I happen to know by heart…I thought this was a bit sad until this knowledge helped out a fellow ER patient!) and hung up. About an hour later I called the pharmacy and asked them what it was all about.

Apparently I had been prescribed a topical antibiotic. This was such great timing seeing as the silver nitrate is clearly not effective when it comes to treating my oh-so-stubborn granulation tissue. Off to the pharmacy!

Let me just say that I have the utmost respect for the pharmacists at the Shoppers Drug Mart I go to. In the last six months alone, between my NJ tube and its complications, my J-tube and its complications, and the day to day maintenance of my gastroparesis and associated symptoms, I have been prescribed 16 different things. This doesn’t include over the counter medications. I don’t take all these meds at once! However, I am a regular at the pharmacy. The pharmacists have always been thorough in providing me with any necessary information about potential drug interactions. Over the years I have asked them advice about side effects, vitamins, vaccinations, etc. and I consider them an instrumental part of my health care team.

Since my surgery two months ago, I haven’t actually been in to pick up any prescriptions (thanks, mom!), but when I approached the counter today I was warmly greeted by name. The pharmacist asked me how I was doing and said “Wow! You are looking so much better!” Not only that, but she addressed all my concerns about putting an antibiotic around my stoma and even got some information from an intimidatingly thick book.

It may seem a bit silly, but I was so touched by this interaction! It made me realize two things…one, I must have looked really awful a few months ago…and two, I have cheerleaders in the most unlikely places. She was genuinely pleased to see me out and about and happy to see that I’m no longer starving to death. I sincerely thanked her for all her help and left the store feeling well taken care of.

And then I started thinking about all my cheerleaders out there and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. To my family and friends who continue to check in with me, to my mom’s students who pray for me every morning, to the grade three family at my mom’s school who brought me muffins the other day, to my doctor who was thinking about me two days after I was in to see her, to all those people who filled our freezer with dinners while I was in the hospital, to my gastroparesis girls across the U.S. who have sent me cards…thank you! There are so many people who have reached out to me and offered support to my family throughout this journey, and even though I can’t list you all here, I am truly grateful.

Cheerleaders can show up in the most unlikely places. The pharmacist today lifted my spirits more than she probably realizes; the fun part was that her support was so unexpected. Now I want to be that unexpected cheerleader for others as often as I can. I think we all know how much of a difference a smile, a greeting, an email, a card, a phone call, or anything else like that, can make when we are on the receiving end. What would happen if we took that cheerful spirit and passed it along? What would happen if we filled ourselves with the spirit of those behind us, those supporting us, and used it to fill the spirits of those in front of us, those who need an extra lift? I think we’d all feel a little lighter. I think we’d all stand a little taller.

I think it’s worth a try. After all, good posture never hurt anyone!

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