Helping the medicine go down

Published 4:14 pm Monday, April 19, 2010

My medicine cabinet seems to grow along with my age. Where once I hunted the cabinet for a bottle of pills, I now grab a Ziploc bag full of them.

I shop Calera Walmart’s pharmacy aisles more than others. If I have concerns about my prescriptions, I do not call 1-800-BAD-DRUG. I talk with my pharmacist.

Standing at the consultation window, I wait for Ann Davis, pharmacy manager, to notice me. She looks my way, signals “wait a minute” and smiles.

Davis knows she needs more than a minute to answer my questions — an attribute for a columnist, a habit that annoys people.

Davis never treats my questions as petty. She listens attentively, gives good counsel and reminds me to stay in touch with my doctor.

Davis is a hometown girl, daughter of Don and Charlotte Defreese.

“I was raised in Thomasville, but moved to Calera when I was 14,” she said.

Davis cheered for Calera High School and graduated in 1989. She received a bachelor’s of science degree from Auburn in 1994.

In 1996, she joined Walmart’s Clanton pharmacy as manager, then relocated to Calera in 2001.

Davis met her husband, Bill, in high school.

“You probably know him,” Davis said. “He is in management at Sav-Mor Associated Foods.”

I do know Bill. As a community volunteer, I helped him receive a Walmart college scholarship. His mother, Jo Liveoak, taught third grade at Calera Elementary.

Bill helps cook the delicious ribs and Boston butts sold from the Ribs To Go wagon located in Sav-mor’s parking lot.

I told Ann I think the world of Bill.

“I think the world of him, too,” she said. “He is a wonderful husband and father.”

They have an 8-year-old daughter, Olivia. Their daughter, Elizabeth Ann, died of infantile Batten Disease at 17 months.

A while back — not sure when because unlike my medicine cabinet, my memory has shrunk — I noticed Ann limped to the window. After talking/whining about my issues, I asked had she injured her foot.

Davis has dystonia in her lower left leg, a neurological condition that causes muscle rigidity. If it causes her pain, she does not show it. She is always cheerful and helps customers find what they need from the shelves.

“I care about the people,” Ann said. “I see them at church and around town. That’s why I am a pharmacist in my community.”

Mollie Brown is the new community columnist for Calera. She can be reached at