Meet our local heroes

Krista Grasdal works in the pharmacy at EK Regional Hospital

We are all so very grateful to those who continue work on the frontline as many of us are able to work at home.

In the next few weeks, the Bulletin/Townsman will introduce you to some of our local heroes, working in hospitals, grocery stores, fire departments and more.

Today, let’s meet Krista Grasdal from Cranbrook.

She is a Registered Pharmacy Technician at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. That means Grasdal and her coworkers are the main inpatient pharmacy for the hospital, responsible for supplying all the drugs to patients in the hospital, managing the drug supply and stock distribution within the hospital, as well as making and dispensing chemotherapy for cancer patients and IV antibiotics distributed at the hospital as well as around the Kootenays.

“It’s a big job and I love it,” she said.

Grasdal’s job has not changed since the pandemic began, although extra safety measures have been put in place for both staff and patients.

“What that has done is increased the work load and the time allotted to jobs we continue to do. So it makes for an already busy day a little more interesting,” she said.

The bigger change is the effect the virus has had on her home life.

“That is where the major changes have occurred for me. At my home I have a son with a serious Autoimmune Illness. He is on daily medications that lower his immune system’s response. I also have parents with cancer; also very immunocompromised. So I have made the choice to take safety in my home to the next level.

“Every day when I come home from work my husband has a bag and robe waiting for me in the garage. I undress from scrubs that I have worn only to and from the hospital. I change into hospital scrubs I only wear within the hospital once at work. I then robe up, toss my clothes into a bag then wipe down my lunch bag, purse, phone, anything I am taking into the house with me. I head straight for the laundry/shower and wash before I touch anything inside my house or say much of anything to anyone.

“It’s a lot sometimes, but I want to be sure I am not bringing anything into my home. My home will always be a safe place for my family.”

Grasdal says her family is coping wonderfully well with the changes.

“My family are rock stars! They work with me to help keep that chaotic routine going, reminding me to get my butt in the shower when sometimes I just want to come in and sit down and chat. They are feeling the same things as most other families right now. My kids miss their friends and social lives. They enjoyed school and it has been hard for them. We chat about updates in the news, plan adventures for when we will be ‘freed’ from the walls of the household. We go for walks in the forest behind our house a lot, that’s pretty much the only outings we have been taking. I try to avoid going to public places, and whenever I do I choose to wear a mask; more so for the public safety of others. In general we have remained positive; although an occasional complaint session has been a thing; we are only human.”

And while it is difficult, a great amount of pride comes from doing essential work.

“I am so proud of the team that is EKRH hospital, my family, and our community in general. This has been hugely life changing for so many of us. It is scary going into work, out to the store, anywhere really; wondering if you are safe. All we can do is work constantly with our teammates to make sure everyone remains that way. The pharmacy is a very small space, this crisis requires patience, teamwork, and all the ‘tough stuff’ one can manage. I say thank you to everyone who is out there working together through this, there are so many heroes, and I am grateful to all of you.”

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