Take My Hockey Sticks: A Tribute to Dayna Less

Rest in peace, Dayna. We didn’t know each other, but we both spent time at Mercy Hospital around the same time in our careers. Following my residency, Mercy Hospital was my first clinical position for nine years. I’m no longer there but what seemed like a long time ago now feels very recent. 

I know that lobby very well, I know that outpatient pharmacy very well, and I know that horrible elevator very well. I can visualize the wall paper, the carpet, and the furniture. From the elevator you can see the registration area, the security desk, the outpatient pharmacy, and the clinic entrance. In our walks from the elevator to the clinic, approximately 50 feet long, we’d chat with patients and wave to the outpatient pharmacy staff. 

At 3pm the lobby is a busy area. It is filled with chairs for patients waiting for their transportation or their prescription. Patients are eager to arrive home before dark and clinicians are transitioning between day and evening shifts. The outpatient pharmacy is only marked by a small sign and 2 small windows. The windows are mostly covered with plexiglass only leaving about 6 inches at the bottom for the pass through of prescriptions or payment. How many times were we found slightly bent over, talking to the pharmacy staff through that small opening? How many times did we stand in that lobby talking with patients and caregivers?

Rest in peace, Dayna. We didn’t know each other, but my colleagues and I took that same elevator as you several times a day for many years. Surprisingly it was the fastest route from the lobby to the basement. It would take more time to walk to the stairwell and wrap around the basement corridors than the time to wait and take the elevator. During all of our pregnancies, we carried our babies up and down that elevator. We trained over 300 students and residents while we worked there – and we shepherded them all up and down that same elevator. All of them were someone’s baby. Not only us, but many mothers and babies used that elevator to reach the Maternal Family Health Clinic in the basement. On Monday we lost someone’s baby. How many times did we take that elevator? I never saw evil when the doors opened.  I’m so sorry that you did. So very sorry.

Rest in peace, Dayna. We didn’t know each other, but our pharmacy profession brought us both to Mercy Hospital. For me, it started my career in an environment of real-world learning, professional growth, and personal discovery. The Mercy Hospital community taught me what professional belonging felt like – something I only learned when it was gone. Eager young professionals from all over the globe fill every corner. Compassion is not just corporate lingo at Mercy, it’s embodied in their culture so deep that our drive for medical outcomes never compromised the precious patients we grew to love. For some, it is a temporary stop on their journey. For others, they stay longer, until they retire or until a life event changes their course. It wasn’t all rosy, but I suppose many first jobs aren’t meant to be easy. I was proud to train students and residents at Mercy. I was proud of the difference we made in our little pharmacy world. I am proud that you chose it for your residency. 

Rest in peace, Dayna. We didn’t know each other, but pharmacy is a small world. And the expression of love shown by your family and our pharmacy family is building each day. A future clinician. Perhaps a future medical missionary. Perhaps a future pharmacist mom. Perhaps something else. One thing is for sure – your memory will live on in each of us. 

Ps. I love watching, talking about, and playing ice hockey. If hockey sticks were being used in massacres and people were voting to ban ice hockey or regulate it so much that it wouldn’t be worth watching, talking about, or playing, then I’d say: I’ll find another sport. Take my hockey sticks. All of them.

Brooke L. Griffin, PharmD, BCACP

Superheroic: A blog for moms with a pharmacy twist