Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth’s Story

“So, that to me made me feel better. The fact that… I was helping people and also the fact that they were saying to me, “Look can we help you?”

“I would say in December ’19, we had people with… coughs and not feeling well… they were coughing for maybe eight weeks. And why do you have a cough for eight weeks? This was something quite strange. So we were beginning to recognise there was something going on, even although, supposedly, it hadn’t arrived in Britain till Spring.”

“I watched the news on television and [pauses] it was an amazing thing to think about, because we were not locked down… and the point I want to get across was, it seemed to be, we were the only health professional that was actually open. [pauses] And it was frightening, because people were coming in. We had absolutely no PPE, no social distancing. As we were so accessible and open, it seemed to me that everyone was coming into the pharmacy. They were coughing, they had symptoms. As I say, we had no protection. It was a very, very frightening time that, for all my staff. Nobody really knew what was happening. We just knew that the virus, in fact, could kill you.”

“The vast majority of the patients round here, were actually trying to help us. You know, some of them asked if they could help with, when we got to the actual lockdown, “Can we help with deliveries?”… So, that to me made me feel better The fact that… I was helping people and also the fact that they were saying to me, “Look can we help you… that whole side of it, to me, was a very nice side of the huge stress.”

Elizabeth Roddick at New Life Pharmacy, Netherlee, photograph by Wes Kingston

“I would say, I didn’t have any time off, I just tried to cope with it and the thing, as I say, that kept me going, my staff, helping and also that the people, our patients, were just saying to me, you know, “Are you OK?” All of that side, probably that’s the thing that kept me going through all of that. Cause I didn’t have any time off at all for weeks and weeks and weeks.”

“Somebody, I think the chief medical officer said, “Now, what you ned to take for Covid is paracetamol.” Everybody in the whole of [laughs] Netherlee and Stamperland and… Clarkston [laughs] had to get paracetamol and you actually couldn’t get paracetamol… Now, if you’d had asthma in the last say 10 years, you needed an inhaler for Covid… And of course everybody’s coming in with these prescriptions for particular inhalers and the health board were trying to say, “Well just switch to this,” and then we would switch to that. Within about an hour, it was out of stock. And then we would switch to another and within an hour it was out of stock. It was just constant battle to get stock, constant battle…”

“Well, all in all, I hope that the community pharmacy network is recognised as being the integral part of health care in the community during these turbulent times. I hope that that’s what people remember.”

Testimony of Elizabeth Roddick,
Community Pharmacist
Photography by Wes Kingston
Interview & Transcription by Amanda Robb

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