Home' Island Sun : ISN 070816 Contents 45
ISLAND SUN - JULY 8, 2016
by Suzy Cohen, RPh
to work in nursing
homes where mostly
old people live, or
those who are very
sick or terminal.
I had a special
and served as the
Consultant Pharmacist of Record for
about 11 nursing homes across Florida.
Part of my job was to write monthly
medical orders to the physicians to
discontinue prescribed medications and
lower dosages all with one goal: Make
the resident (the patient) feel their best.
Some things stuck with me and now I
• I learned not to assume – Some old
people smiled at me, and some cried a
lot. You might assume the smiley ones
had less depression and pain, while the
crying folks were the sad, depressed
ones. Never assume. The smiley people
may just be pushing harder, and those
who are crying may be in horrific pain
(not depressed). Crying is sometimes
the only way you can speak when your
mouth can’t explain how desperate you
are in your body.
• I learned to send “love” in the
mail – I noticed that people who had
friends or family visit them during
the week required less medicine (and
lower doses) than those residents who
spent every day alone. If you can’t be
physically present, then mail something.
I have often been miles apart from my
children and elderly parents, but to this
day I still send little gifts or cards in the
mail reminding them that I love them
even though we are far apart.
• I learned respect and compassion
– The elderly have lost control of
many things including their bladder
function, their ability to walk, their
home, car, their vision, their children
and sometimes their mind. We need
to remember that every time an old
person is on our way, walking to slow,
taking too long... you know once upon
a time they were just like you. They
had it all, they were happy, on top of
the world and excited about tomorrow.
People used to ask for their advice, now
they are invisible. I always show respect
• I learned to say yes – Saying no
to things is easy because there’s always
tomorrow. Is there? After working in
facilities and seeing some people (even
young ones who were there due to
accidents) I learned that life is short, you
do not have forever. Stop waiting for a
better time or 20 years will fly by. Say
yes and do it. Live your life before your
life is lived.
• I learned how little things make
people happy – Like painting their nails
in the activity room, giving them $5
to spend, or brushing their hair or...
holding their hand and telling them
everything’s gonna be alright (even on
their deathbed as they were nearing
their last breath). Show up with love in
your heart and even if you’re just sitting
there to keep them company, do it with
full attention. Stay home if you can’t
come to them with a happy heart. They
feel you... don’t ask me how I know.
This information is not intended to
treat, cure or diagnose your condition.
Suzy Cohen is the author of The 24-
Hour Pharmacist and is a registered
pharmacist. To contact her, visit www.
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FISH of SanCap, through the Saint
Michael and All Angels Episcopal
Church’s grant, helps those facing
medical and dental crisis situations. While
some conditions may be predictable,
others are not, meaning the grant is a
difference-maker for FISH.
Some of the organization’s clients
need surgery, others face months of
chemotherapy and radiation treatments,
and they pay a price higher than the
medical bills themselves. Many must
temporarily leave their employment,
leaving no income for everyday
expenses. Insurance coverage will
only go so far, and there are few
resources for families that are struggling
financially due to medical and dental
bills. Beyond the bills, there may be
medical travel, rent, mortgage, utilities
and other daily living expenses during
their recovery period. With this grant,
FISH can assist with these expenses.
Jim is a 63-year-old male who
does not have health insurance.
He has a chronic condition which
causes his stomach to bloat. He has
uncontrollable abdominal pain if not
treated with a medically prescribed
diuretic maintained by a prescription.
By trade, Jim is a handyman, but
unable to work because of his medical
issues. Jim requested financial
assistance for a doctor visit, a treatment
plan and prescriptions. FISH was able
to help with a reduced-cost doctor visit,
medication and abdominal ultrasound.
Due to the nature of his illness, FISH
was able to get Jim approved for
Medicaid, and he has since returned to
Contact Christine or Jessi at 472-
4775 or visit fishofsancap.org for more
Golisano Children’s Hospital of
Southwest Florida, in partnership
with Ronald McDonald House
Charities® of Southwest Florida,
offers a free monthly autism spectrum
disorder screening for toddlers 18
months to age 5.
The next screening on the Ronald
McDonald Care Mobile will be held
on Friday, July 15 from 9:30 a.m.
to 2 p.m. at the Imaginarium, 2000
Cranford Avenue in Fort Myers.
It is estimated that one in every 68
children is diagnosed with some form
of autism spectrum disorder, making it
more common than childhood cancer,
juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS
Medical consultants for the project
stress that an early diagnosis can
make a vast difference for toddlers and
their families. They say early intensive
behavioral intervention can make an
immense difference not just in the
development of the child, but in their
families as well.
The ASD screening is conducted
by the Golisano Children’s Hospital of
Southwest Florida. The screenings are
administered by an advanced registered
nurse practitioner, who has extensive
training and experience in typical
child development and developmental
A physician referral is not required.
To schedule a screening, call 343-6838.
For more information, to donate or
to volunteer, visit www.rmhcswfl.org or
call Ronald McDonald House Charities
of SWFL at 437-0202 .
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