Elizabeth (Liz) Lawryk is thrilled to be back out on the golf course again.
“Yesterday, I golfed 18 holes and I could have gone again,” said Liz. “Several years ago, I could barely get through a golf game with a cart.”
Liz was struggling with her health; chronic infections plus asthma meant she was on IV antibiotics for 6 months at a time, and she had endured several surgeries.
“I had gone to specialist after specialist and different teams to try figure out what to do and other than the antibiotics, there were really no answers.”
That all changed, three years ago, when Liz’s physician referred her to see Dr. Gisele Scott-Woo, a clinical pharmacist at the Foothills Primary Care Centre.
“I felt better right after the first appointment before we had even tried anything else,” said Liz. She was impressed with the attention Gisele gave her.
“She listened. After a while you sound like a nut, people think you’re just complaining. She didn’t do that she took the time, did the research, and even emailed me some articles to discuss with my doctor.”
Gisele credits her team for allowing her to spend so much time with individuals like Liz.
“Our initial assessments are one hour and follow ups are a half hour, so I do have some time to do this, and support from our system to look in to different things,” said Gisele.
The two worked together, trying different medications, researching medication, adding and subtracting prescriptions until they found the right mix. Diet and lifestyle were other topics they covered. Listening to patients is something Gisele feels is very important as they are the ones living with the condition, and they could hold the key to finding the right medication.
“So, what is the patient experiencing and is there some information they can give me about their history, about their experiences that might give me a clue as to which direction we might go,” explained Gisele.
Liz contacted the Alberta College of Pharmacists wanting to acknowledge not only Gisele, but her regular pharmacist Ryszard Pietrzak for going above and beyond.
“He checks everything, you know he always takes the time, and even as the years have gone by he’ll see me in a line, and he’ll come over to make sure everything is in order, and see how I’m doing,” explained Liz.
Gisele says she was happy to help Liz and do the research. She feels the public perception is sometimes that pharmacists are just in the hospital or community pharmacy counting pills.
“But we’re well trained and well versed helping them to get the right drug to suit their situation that can be done in all forms of the pharmacy practice,” explained Gisele.
Elizabeth is thankful for the expertise of her two pharmacists.
“They’re two people that have really made a positive difference for me, and I thought they should be acknowledged.”