For some of us, there is nostalgia when it comes to the town or city in which you grew up. Relationships with local gas station attendants and owners, the post master at the post office who was there for 30 years, and then there was Mr. Berry, our pharmacist. Mr. Berry's son was in my class in elementary school, and my high school girlfriend worked as a cashier at the front of the store. What I remember most about the pharmacy was the gigantic bear perched on its hind legs that stood in a corner of the store. Mr. Berry had been an avid hunter and his store with filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and Mr. Berry's trophies of moose and bear!
Mr. Berry's success wasn't in the trophies he brought home from hunting. His success was in his advice to people like my mom. For mom, Mr. Berry was one of her trusted advisors and he always gave my mom a huge wave from the back of the store as we entered. I can remember when I had the flu, Mr. Berry called the house to tell my mom he would stay late so she could pick up the medicine that he had hustled to get before the close of business that day. Mr. Berry was a resource when it came to thinking about best options and he researched new drugs that might benefit his clients.
But Mr. Berry is gone, along with my knowing the guys at the gas station and the postmaster who sent children letters from Santa. With so much automation today, many people feel lost in getting the attention they need. Add to that health care management and it can feel like a deep void. We long for communities of peers and advisors as evidenced by sites such as this one. And, for those of us with chronic illness, sometimes we need our advisors to be visible and tangible, like our doctors and CDEs.
With health care sometimes having limited educational resources, often we lack the knowledge to know how to maximize our efforts. Have you ever left the doctor's office and wondered "What is this stuff they gave me?" Or in the case of diabetes, "What's the difference between Lantus and Levemir?" Or in the case of type 2 diabetes, "Actos or Avandia?" At my local Rite Aid, my pharmacist always greets me with "Hello Ms. Bartlett! How are you?" She is a wealth of information that comes with a smile and gives me the attention that has been slipping away from areas that used to represent community and quality.
As health care continues to boggle our minds and lower our expectations, we need to be more vigilant about where to find good resources for ourselves and learning about medication is as important as learning to count carbs. Perhaps, the sense of life Norman Rockwell illustrated has not been dashed by progress, but perhaps we have overlooked a resource we should think of more frequently.
Published On: September 23, 2010