One patient can completely change your life. Brenda was her name. The website where there is an online cemetery mirroring how it looks in real life. There are moments in my career where I sit back and remember the impact she had on my life. Not only was she so vibrant (even over the phone) but she was also inspiring. We were in the same generation though my life was about a young man I had met (and later married) and hers was about fighting for her life. I was her pharmacist while she was at home battling breast cancer. She had a boyfriend with the same maiden name as me, and well it was cool Brenda and I had the same initials. I always want to connect with patients, but unfortunately my current job does not afford me the opportunity very often. I lingered outside one patient's room at the hospital yesterday wanting to go in and introduce myself letting him know I wished him the best with his new situation and just say hello. I have to do this more often. There is nothing at work keeping me from opening the door and saying hello. I guess I worry the patients are bothered enough all day and night by nursing and physicians and lab techs and all. They get little rest, and they are sick. Perhaps some would want a friendly face just saying hello and asking them if they need anything.
It was a little easier for me in home health because I had to call to find out how they were doing on their supplies, how nursing was handling things with the home IV antibiotics or TPN and it made it easier for me since I have this southern accent that sounds more southern even TO a southerner. Ha! That in itself was always an easy icebreaker. "Where are you from?" It always went from there.
Brenda wanted to go to Florida and jet ski. With her pain pump. We made it happen. I'm proud of that memory. I'm proud that I finally went out to meet her in person though I should have gone earlier when she was not in the final stage of life. I saw a picture of her healthy. Beautiful and full of life... same as most of us now. We just can't waste this life we have!
I may have blogged about her before. I haven't gone back to look because today I am thinking about her... it's been ten years, but I still think about how her life focus shifted with knowing she had little time left. I am guilty of complaining quite a bit about my current job at times. There are so many things that bug me mostly dealing with how things are handled, how pharmacists have those in control snowed, and how there's very little incentive (promotion, opportunities, salary increases, etc...) to even go above and beyond. A new schedule comes out and I think why in the hell did I decide to do this job? I mean, yes, it could be worse. I know this. But, could it not be better?
I think I am going to try to make these interactions with patients happen more often somehow. If you have any ideas on how I can at the hospital, let me know... or if you have made it happen let me know. These moments define major influences in my life (in the past), and I don't want to lose them by allowing my current situation to completely stifle who I am as a pharmacist. Don't let your job dumb you down professionally or personally.