Episode 7 | Florence Williams

Care2Listen Podcast | Season 1, Episode 7

I had been doing some work with my therapist. I still had a therapist that I was working with and I had made peace with my father, and I was able to say I am Squamish, but that was three years ago. So it's been in the last three years that I can honestly say that I am proud to be Squamish and I feel like I'm home.

Squamish Nation Elder, Florence Williams, dives into her more than a quarter of a century long experience as a medical assistant. Through storytelling, Flo offers and shares her teachings and wisdoms to help support the next generation of healthcare workers.


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Sean Burke: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the Care2Listen podcast. In this episode, I’m joined by Squamish Nation Elder, Florence Williams, who dives into her more than a quarter of a century long experience as a medical assistant. Through storytelling, Flo offers and shares her teachings and wisdoms to help support the next generation of healthcare workers.

Today’s episode is being broadcasted to you on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) Nations.

Trigger warning: This podcast discusses topics that may be triggering for some viewers, including loss of a patient and miscarriage.

I’m just so grateful that we have such another great guest today, Florence Williams, who I would do a disservice by trying to do an introduction rather than asking for you to do your introduction. But, before we do that, I have to share a quick personal story.

Because, and I dunno if you remember this, it was the second or third time we had a call, we were right in the [00:01:00] middle of a conversation and all of a sudden Flo just, she stops and it’s quiet on the phone for a few seconds and I’m like, uh oh, did I say something?

And Flo literally just stops and she’s like, Sean, Steve, whatever your name is, who are you and where are you from? And I’m just sitting there being like, uh, oh, sh**. Is this a trick question? Like, I’m Sean, I’m the CEO of CheckingIn. This is what I do. And I’m like, that’s who I am. Right? Right Flo?

And I remember you on that call being like, no, I didn’t ask what you do. I said, who are you and where are you from? And that, you know, started off and kicked off a conversation that has been instrumental in my life, in my kids’ life, in everyone else who I’m connecting with, understanding identity.

And I think it’s something that you really helped to instill in me. So instead of me, now I get to flip [00:02:00] the tables, I get to say, Flo, who are you and where are you from?

Florence Williams: Okay. My name is Jane Fonda and I was born in Lake Mead, actually in the lake, my mother was very weird.

My name is Sulseelsemat, and on my driver’s license it says, Gladys Florence Williams. I will answer to both.

I am the daughter of, who is the daughter of, who is the daughter of, and I could go back six or seven generations. I know these women. I have not met them in person, but I know them. And I was born in Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) and formative years were [00:03:00] in several places due to some medical issues my mother dealt with. But I grew up in Snuneymuxw and as I became an adult and had some freedom, I ran away from my family and I went down to Washington.

Got an education, raised a family down there, and was a Certified Medical Assistant for 27 years after I raised my family. And it was in 2013 when Spirit, if I told you that story, it would be hard to believe, but Spirit was involved in making it so that I actually had to come home. My youngest brother, Jamie, had said to me that previous August sis, please come home we need you.

But I’d [00:04:00] been running, I’ve been running from the responsibilities of the family and my role, and I just kind of grinned and said sure, I’ll come, but I didn’t mean it.

And then it was in October. Actually, the date that I came home was October 31st, 2013, and everything that happened to get me home is amazing, but now that I am home, it took me five years to adjust from being living in the United States to living in Canada.

I mean, the metric system is, I still don’t know it.

It wasn’t until my sister did the [00:05:00] videos on who are we with regard to Squamish and had people on there talking about how Squamish became the Squamish Nation and then did different individuals coming on with their teachings.

I had been doing some work with my therapist. I still had a therapist that I was working with and I had made peace with my father, and I was able to say I am Squamish, but that was three years ago. So it’s been in the last three years that I can honestly say that I am proud to be Squamish and I feel like I’m home.

And I don’t feel like I’m an island girl anymore. I don’t feel like I need to be down in the United States. [00:06:00] I am home. But it took a lot of therapy and then my sister putting in front of me all of these talented, wise, Squamish members that were talking about their individual gifts. And I actually said I’m Squmaish.

I looked at my sister and I said, I’m Squamish. She said, uh, yeah, I know that. So then I clarified it and I thanked her for doing what she’s doing, and I have heard that story from other Squamish members that live in North Carolina, in New York and Oregon and Washington, that by being on this video conference, Zoom call and hearing about how Squamish became Squamish and all the different people with their [00:07:00] individual gifts and what Squamish members people have done that they have finally able to say, with pride, I’m Squamish.

So, when I say that I have my name, I have been named, Spirit World knows who I am and who my mother is, and my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. And I used to feel more at home in Snuneymuxw, but that has changed. This is home now and so when I say that I am Squamish, I say that this is home.

That’s why when I asked you who are you and where do you come from, there is an area, there’s a place that you feel at home, and that [00:08:00] is a gift that everybody should be able to find, to be able to say: I am so and so, so and so so and so, and my ancestors are from the Nation of Scotland or Ireland or Africa, or you know where they’re from, but this is where I live now. This is where I am now and this is home.

If they can say that, then they’re planted. They have roots. They are grounded. They are able to be who they are. They are able to give the best that they have to the people in their universe. Like, you’re in my universe now and I can’t get you out.

Sean Burke: Whether you like it or not.

But that is such a powerful teaching. I mean, seeing and asking that [00:09:00] question to youth and seeing sometimes that hesitation myself, you know, here’s somebody who I feel like I understand who I am. But to articulate that, when you ask that question, I usually have a lot to say, but I had nothing to say.

And being challenged to go and have those conversations with my mom and dad. To understand, you know, where my ancestry comes from and to be able to then place myself in this world has helped to give that sense of confidence to know, okay, this is who I am. I’m the son of Denise Burke and Terry Burke.

And to go back to those you know, the grandparents and the great grandparents and it’s definitely changed my world. And you know, hearing you say that [00:10:00] being somebody who is non-Indigenous, to be able to share that teaching with you and to be able to acknowledge where I’m from and to be proud of that, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re Indigenous or non-Indigenous. 

Florence Williams: Yes, that’s exactly the truth.

Sean Burke: And you’ve helped me to discover that.

Florence Williams: Yes. And I was taught that at the age of seven by my grandmother, and I didn’t fully understand what she was saying to me until I turned 50, and one morning I woke up with, holy crap, I get it, granny.

I said, thank you. You know, and she knew, and I know she knew that she was preparing me for this longer life that I was gonna be living. And, she did a really good job. [00:11:00] So I have that example. So as a grandma, I’m trying to do that for my granddaughters. Yeah.

Sean Burke: Powerful.

Florence Williams: Simple but powerful. It’s not complicated.

You know, when you think about it, a wellness plan, part of it could be making sure that you get your nails done, that you pluck your eyebrows, or get them waxed. Get your hair trimmed, iron your uniform, or if you get it from the hospital to not worry about that too much, but have good shoes on that your feet are not gonna hurt.

It’s simple. It’s not complicated. And then when you have all of this emotion from an episode that you are a part of and you need to get rid of it. If you can’t sit down on the floor [00:12:00] and cry right there, then tell yourself, okay, later I’m going to the lake and I’m screaming, I’m gonna put it some place. And that is self care.

You’re in a race and, and it’s muddy and you have mud on your feet and your face, you know you’re gonna go wash your face off. Self care. You have a headache, take Tylenol. Self care. It really is not complicated. You have to just think about yourself and how do you get yourself back to balance?

How do you do that? What do you need? Put yourself first.

Once you get back to balance, then you’re ready to be whatever it is that you have to be during your workday. [00:13:00]

Yeah, but I’m very passionate about wellness plans. I feel that anybody that’s a frontline worker needs to have it. And if they don’t have it in place, they need to get it in place ASAP.

Otherwise, the burnout rate is gonna be high for them.

Sean Burke: Well, and let’s talk about wellness plan. So when we talk about wellness holistically, we talk about physical, spiritual, mental, emotional. I know that those are from a prairie perspective, the medicine wheel approach, but when we talk about the aspects being part of the whole individual, how do you create a wellness plan that is reflective of all aspects of your life?

Florence Williams: Well, I check in with myself. How am I doing? If I’m not doing good, okay, what’s not good? Is it my mental? Is it my physical? Is it my emotional? [00:14:00] And it’s usually emotional. And sometimes I feel okay you shouldn’t have laid there and watched 12 hours of Netflix.

Sean Burke: Why do you think the systems, the structures that are in place tend to push healthcare workers to efficiency, productivity, onto the next patient? Maybe suppress or don’t give those feelings, the release that we’re talking about here

Florence Williams: Shortage of workers. And the population is growing. It’s not shrinking. Even with COVID, even though there were a million or however many people that died in the United States, I don’t know how many died in Canada, but the population is growing and there is not enough doctors and nurses and MOAs and caregivers to maintain the population.

So, a manager is going to have a group of people [00:15:00] that they manage and they’re gonna have just so many patients or whatever it is, and they’re gonna just look at productivity, at numbers. And unless that manager goes out onto the floor to see exactly what their people are doing, they’re not gonna know.

They’re gonna be looking at numbers. And that is not a way to manage human beings. You need to get out there, you need to get your hands dirty. You need to see what your people are working with, having to deal with, and see if there is a shortage and you know, medications, bandages, supplies, whatever it is that you’re using to make sure that they have what they need to be able to do the job that you’re asking them to do.

And if they have the correct techy stuff and [00:16:00] if they need a phone, you know, if it’s a big hospital, maybe they need a phone so that if you need to speak to them right away, you can just call ’em and they’ll hit a button or something and be able to communicate that way. Whatever it is that they need to do the job that you’re asking them of.

And then when employees, say I’m exhausted because we don’t have enough cleaners to come and flip the rooms and I have to flip them. How can I be doing that when I’ve got bells ringing with patients asking for what, you know, the comforts that they need. So please get me more housekeepers. Or get me more, whatever it is that you need to be able to do your job.

And I was very fortunate that [00:17:00] when I was working in the different clinics that I worked in, that  my manager would always say, do you have everything that you need? And she would, the last clinic I worked in, she would come out and bring patients back to see how it flowed. And noticed that it would be nice if we had at least five minutes added between each patient to be able to flip that room, have it ready, and everybody is calm, and she made that happen.

So, managers have a big responsibility and they need to actually trust their employees and listen to them.

Sean Burke: So what do you think from your perspective, we’ve talked a little earlier about gifts and you know, although the person [00:18:00] who thinks that maybe they want to talk about their gifts, that’s not in fact their gift, but you know me asking and inviting the conversation to you, what do you believe your gift is?

Florence Williams: I’m a real empath and I’m a problem solver. I have a little bit of knowledge about a lot of topics and what I enjoy, I have a lot of knowledge about, so I will research and research. So I will go that extra. So what I know, I really know and I can tell a person more than just the average information about a topic. Can tell you about tennis, can tell you about, certain plays on football.[00:19:00]

Sean Burke: Now that we got our bases covered, there we go.

Florence Williams: But when you talk other gifts, like spiritual gifts, those developed slowly and I thought everybody could see what I saw. And when I said to my sister when we were younger, I said, did you see that? What? I said right there. She said sissy there’s nothing there.

I went, oh, okay. I realized she couldn’t see what I saw. So one of my gifts is I can see into the spiritual world when they let me and I know things before they happened or when [00:20:00] they’ve happened.

The last clinic I was working at, when I brought the woman back for her 20 week ultrasound, I was a perinatology clinic and I knew that the baby was dead and I didn’t, you know, my voice didn’t change, nothing. I did everything I needed to do with her. Got her ready for her ultrasound, and I stepped out and I went and got that sonographer and I said, okay, we’re ready.

So we go back in there and she does the ultrasound and see there’s no heartbeat and baby [00:21:00] isn’t moving. And we, and she says, okay, the doctor will be in, in just a few minutes. We don’t say anything and we step out. She goes, oh, I didn’t say anything, Dr. Wendy, you know, we went and he was watching on the screen, and so he knew that the baby was gone.

So he’d go in there and he or she and would say, I am so sorry. And say, this happens more times than, than you know, and try and support her and then step out and leave the patient to me. And, um, that happened three times in one week. And on the third time, I knew. And we stepped out and Joy looked at me and she went, you knew.

I said, [00:22:00] what? She said, you knew. She said, you knew the baby was dead. I’ve noticed that when that happens, you have a very calm, stoic way of being. She said, you don’t look one way or the other. You just come in and we leave, and you go, you know, almost robotic. I went, oh. She said, yes, you have a tell.

She said, you knew. I said, yes, I did. She said, will you tell me next time? I went, no.  

Sean Burke: Can you give me the heads up?

Florence Williams: So that’s when I found out that I had that gift. And I can tell when a woman’s pregnant, whether she tells me or not. Yeah. I know I have that one as well. So what that, what that gift is actually, is maybe just a knowing prior, [00:23:00] you know, until it’s proven.

Sean Burke: We talked about this previously, would that be part of yours

Florence Williams: No, that’s different. It’s just, I was born with this. All the women in my family have these gifts, but they’re getting weaker. In my generation, I think, my one sister can hear and know, but she can’t see.

The other sister can, she knows. She just knows. She can’t see, she can’t hear any messages. She just knows here. And, you know, in my mother’s generation, [00:24:00] all of the women had these gifts and more, and in my grandmother’s generation, she was an extremely stronger, she could actually work with spirit.

Like, you don’t feel well, you pick something up, come see my grandma. She put her hands on you and she could feel when there was a bad spirit there or something else going on and she could take it off. I know you’d know nothing about that. Most native people know, you know that you sometimes literally have to have somebody check you out to make sure that you haven’t picked up anything in your travels. Yeah. That’s common knowledge.

Sean Burke: Why do you think it’s becoming less and less passed down through generations?

Florence Williams: You know, I’ve thought about it and, I had an auntie say to me [00:25:00] that it was very common for people to be able to communicate and get messages that when you say something, it’s gone right away.

And if that person is able to feel like, say I’m thinking about you, I’m gonna give you a call then I’m gonna get this done. First I’m gonna give Sean, no, actually it’s Steve today. I’m gonna give Steve a call and I’m thinking about it, and then you get the message.

You get the urge to call me. Next thing you know you’re not doing too much, and you pick up the phone and call me. That used to be normal with everybody. No telephones, but they would know to go see that person. My aunt told me that there is [00:26:00] too many radio waves and things out in the atmosphere that is interrupting those messages.

Sean Burke: How does different love languages come up or show up in the healthcare world?

Florence Williams: Well, most nurses that I have communicated with in any way are empaths. And, um, that’s why they’re good cuz they can sit down and they genuinely wanna know how the patient is feeling or doing. And, if you come across a native man, and you know the diagnoses, you know the plan, care plan.

You know what the expected outcome is gonna be. Then knowing that you’re gonna be able to say, oh, hi Mr. Tom, how are you [00:27:00] today? Okay. He’s not feeling that great. Oh, good today. That means he really is feeling good. And don’t expect him to elaborate on that unless you ask a pointed question and say, I really need to know what your pain level is, or I really need to know how much urine output you have.

You know, if these are things that are important, then he needs to understand that they’re not just doing it just to do it, but it’s giving a little bit of information with regard to whatever he’s dealing with. And the other thing is with native men and native women, do not start calling them by their given name immediately unless you’re asked to.

Give them the [00:28:00] respect of Mr. so-and-so, or Mrs. so-and-so, and you’ll get more of a positive response. So it’s just knowing that there are certain ways that people can be approached. And with regard to when I was working in the clinics, I found that if I had an Asian patient, I was not offended if they never looked up at me because you know, it can, in their mind, it’s disrespectful to do that, and so I wouldn’t expect them, like if they’re facing this way and I’m over here, I would let them do that because I know that for them to be comfortable, that’s the way they need to be.

Unless I say, okay, I’m gonna have you turn around cause I wanna see the way you’re breathing, you [00:29:00] know, what your chest is looking at, then you’re giving them a reason. But it’s knowing your audience, who you’re talking to, and respecting the way that is the most comfortable for them. But empaths, I think, automatically figure that out.

So if you’ve been a nurse or a caregiver for 20 years, you’re just automatically gonna read the staff, the patient, the family.

Sean Burke: I want to bring us back to a conversation that you shared with me earlier, and it was around what information to collect from your patients in terms of helping you as the healthcare practitioner versus, you know, other information that may be harmful.

And I’m curious from your perspective, what that looks like.

Florence Williams: Okay. I’m coming in to see you [00:30:00] and I hate to say this, but you’re there for a vasectomy. And I worked in an, I worked where we did vasectomies and I had to hold this guy’s hand. Oh, this story is hilarious.

Sean Burke: Here we go.

Florence Williams: We had a new doc on, and this was his first vasectomy that he was doing in clinic.

And normally, you know, I’d get vitals, get patient prep and prepare the tray. And I stay in the room either for support for the patient or make sure I grab whatever the doctor needs in case, you know. And they usually put music on and they say to the patient, you know, is there any special music you want?

And this patient, he wanted Elvis. So we’re [00:31:00] listening to Elvis and it’s a good thing because I know Elvis, I love Elvis and so we’re talking, you know, so I bet you your wife’s really happy she doesn’t have to go through this. And he said, yeah, we flipped a coin and I lost. And um, and so how many children do you have? And so he is telling me about his three girls.

He says, and my wife says, no, we’re not trying for the fourth. You know, cuz he wanted a boy. I said, wow, you gave that up. You know, and by this time he should have found that second vas deferens. And I’m looking at the doc, and this weird look on his face.

Oh yeah. Did you ever see, uh, you’ve ever been to Graceland? Really like Elvis? No, but I really wanna go there. And I said, yeah, that’s on my bucket list too, [00:32:00] you know, and we talked about the movies and I’m looking at the doc and this guy’s hand squeezing my hand and I’m thinking, okay, I don’t know what else to say about Elvis.

Someone knocks on the door and says, can we help? And he says, I’m just about done. And finally he looks up at the patient and he says, do you know whether or not you have two vas deferens? You know, tubes. And the patient says, oh no, I was born with only one.

20 minutes. 20 minutes. This doc is searching for that second vas deferens. So ask, do you have two? Anyway, I’d ask you, do you have two?

Sean Burke: And I would say yes.

Florence Williams: [00:33:00] So, did you need an Ativan or did they give you one before you came in, you know, for your nerves? I know that you’re kind of nervous, when you came in to talk to the doctor about it, you were sweating. Are you okay?

Sean Burke: Yep. I’m okay.

Florence Williams: So you don’t need water. Anything? You’re okay?

Sean Burke: No. Yeah. Good to go.

Florence Williams: All right, good. I’m going there. Give you your gown and I’ll be back in to assist with the doc. So that’s basically all I’s need to know about you in that setting.

Sean Burke: And if we reverse the role play, what would be the negative or harmful things to ask?

Florence Williams: You had any STD’s? Do you have warts? That’s not anything around a vasectomy, you know? That would be wrong to even bring up and, [00:34:00] uh, asking you if there was any recreational drug use or anything, wouldn’t have any effect on the procedure that you’re having, right? So don’t delve into any other part of your life other than just basically you’ve had your questions answered.

I know that you were nervous. Can I do anything with regard to that? You know? And if your vital signs are normal, then there’s no nothing else for me to say or ask you about. 

Sean Burke: You know, and I think part of that is coming back to this conversation where, You mentioned that when you were training different other healthcare professionals going through their school, a question that came up quite often was something around the lines of, you know, what is your race? What is your ethnicity? And, is that an important question to ask when you’re dealing with your [00:35:00] patients?

Florence Williams: I don’t feel that race is anything that needs to come into the conversation unless you’re delving into a complete physical.

Because then you’re gonna ask, okay, did your mother or any of your other first degree female [00:36:00] relatives have breast cancer? No. Did they have cardiac issues? You know, you’re gonna ask about these hereditary illnesses and then I believe you would wanna put on there what the race is.

First Nations female, Caucasian female, Asian descent. But only in a physical would you actually delve into any, and if you’re gonna go into it any time before that, then I feel that’s abusive. Unless the patient says, by the way, I am half this and half that, and I just wanted you to know [00:37:00] that I’m not just Caucasian.

Patients do that. But would you ask a person you just met what their shoe size was?

Sean Burke: No, there’s no need for it. And I think that’s coming back to the point, the teaching around it’s human, right? What we need to first recognize is that race doesn’t matter. The first thing that matters is the human in front of you.

Florence Williams: The human, that it may be in distress or may have an underlying symptom that can cause mental stress. That’s it. Why would you wanna know what their shoe size was? You know? And if it was a female, what’s their bra size? You don’t, you don’t need to [00:38:00] know that. When I was out at BCIT with a first year nursing students, and they asked me that question, I said, you know, all you need to know is I’m a human being and I have these symptoms.

And what the teacher, the instructors clarified with me is that they’re getting this information about needing to know who Indigenous people are, who the First Nations people are, and to treat them with respect. And it’s important, you know, it’s being pushed on us, pushed on us, and we need to know how it is with regard to reconciliation, how it is that we have to say I’m sorry.

I said the best way to say I’m sorry is treat them like an adult and, and a human being [00:39:00] because they put us into child brackets is another thing that I’ve experienced, but if you treat the Indigenous patient in front of you as a human being, how your grandmother or your auntie or your uncle or your sister or brother would like to be treated or yourself, then hey, you’re ahead of the game.

Simple. I am all for simple. Don’t cloud it up. Don’t muddle it up. Don’t you know, add decorations that don’t need to be there.

Sean Burke: Keep it simple, silly. Well, let’s shift the conversation a little bit because I’d love to hear a bit more of your personal experiences, and being an Indigenous female working in the [00:40:00] healthcare system, what were some of the challenges that you had to overcome?

Florence Williams: I actually didn’t have any race issues whatsoever. I believe it’s because of the personality I have and the confidence that my grandmother instilled in me from a very young age that people didn’t see a native woman from the Res. Cuz I did act like it, you know?

I wondered about that and I asked my manager, the last one, she said, I don’t see a native woman until somebody mentions it. She said, I just see Flo. And I really, really appreciated that. You know? So because of who I am and the way I [00:41:00] present, I believe is why I’ve never received any racist comments or slurs or anything. So I don’t know how to answer that.

Sean Burke: I think you just did.

What about frameworks? Have you seen any holistic frameworks or approaches that have served any of the different colleagues that you’ve worked with in terms of holistic healing or being able to deal with some of that vicarious trauma that being a healthcare worker might have inflicted on them in working with their patients?

Florence Williams: Well, my basic message is you first. Take care of you first and the example of if you have a headache, you take a Tylenol. You know, your face is dirty, you wash it. [00:42:00] So basically, if you’re feeling these emotions, go scream, go call your therapist. You know? But do something with it. Don’t let it just sit there.

And I feel that if they, and I have found now that I’m really thinking about it, all of the nurses, medical assistants that I have intersected with that had low self-esteem are unable to do self care, and they were the ones that would have the excessive alcohol or just some days can’t come to work. So self-esteem played into how well a person took care of themselves. Looking back [00:43:00] that’s what I’m seeing.

Sean Burke: So let’s talk about walking alongside somebody rather than doing the walking for them. What does that mean?

Florence Williams: I do that with my clients now. And I would do it with the patients. Like I worked at one clinic for seven years and it was the one where the patient died, mind you I had other patients have heart attacks and died after that, but I will remember her forever.

You get to know your patients. They come to see the doctor that you’re supporting. You get to know them, who their husband is, who their children are, who their neighbors are, because throughout the different little meetings that you have, [00:44:00] you know, they’ll talk about whatever is on their mind, on their heart, or bothering them.

And I know that there was one patient and she did not want to do the chemotherapy. She wanted to have quality of life until she died, not the sick and you know what he had read, and what she had seen somebody go through. She said, I will not put myself through that. I wanna be able to be coherent and enjoy my life until it’s done.

So she refused chemo, and what you do is you support her because she had the right to make that choice. Not everybody who has a cancer diagnosis is going to have [00:45:00] chemo, because that’s a hard road from what I’ve seen. And I like the idea that human beings have the right to say no. And just because they say no, doesn’t mean you have to go, okay, done.

No. You walk with them, you support them. And then as they start to get sicker and sicker and need more and more medications, you know, you give them the time, you give them the support until they’re done. So that’s where you don’t put what you would do in the picture. You have to think about, like I would have to think about, say you got prostate cancer, you don’t wanna go through all of that.

You don’t wanna wear diapers, blah, blah, blah. And then we say, okay, we’ll get you through it. And [00:46:00] as the disease progresses and you get weaker and the pain gets stronger and will get you harder and harder narcotics to cover it, and you go into hospice, I’d still come and visit you. And I would not even think, the hell is he doing? Is he stupid?

You don’t do that. You meet the patient where they are and you walk with them where they are if they want you to, but only if they want you to.

Sean Burke: What are you most proud of in your life?

Florence Williams: In which part of my life?

Sean Burke: I don’t know. What’s coming to you right now?

Florence Williams: Um, I’m a strong female with a voice. I have been a decent mother. Not the [00:47:00] best, but I did the best I could do. I have raised two strong individuals, granted the DNA, I think, had something to do with it too. You have to have that DNA to work with, to mold, you know, I was a damn good nurse. I was very committed to my patients and got to know each doctor that I worked with, how best to work with them, how best to be the best assistant for them.

And um, obviously I didn’t do very well in marriage cause I had a number of husbands.

I’ve been a good friend. Yeah, I’m a good friend. When I’m a friend. I’m a friend, so [00:48:00] I believe that in the big picture, even with some rocky roads and poor decisions, I wouldn’t change anything because if I did I wouldn’t be Sulseelsemat sitting here in front of you. And I believe that looking back on, I can’t change anything, but I can use that to assist wherever, you know, the subject topic, person, pops up, you know, contribute.

So I believe that I’m a good contributor if I know what the topic is and if I’m given the space to contribute.[00:49:00]

Sean Burke: I can say from my perspective, I am so grateful to have connected with you, to be building and walking along this journey with you and alongside you and everything that I continue to learn and unlearn, has been part of the conversation and part of our mutual bridges intersecting.

Florence Williams: And, being friends.

Sean Burke: And so ‘m really grateful to have you on the show today. I think as we continue to do this work together, it’s an honor to walk alongside you, and, uh, thank you very much.

Florence Williams: Oh, thank you for asking me the fact that anybody would even want to know what I had to say as it’s an honor.

Sean Burke: Thanks for listening to this episode. Be sure to visit the links in the show notes for resources and supports from the [00:50:00] Care for Caregivers program. If you’re interested in sharing your story on the Care2Listen podcast, please reach out to us at careforcaregivers.ca/podcasts, and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast platform to be notified when new episodes are released.

Thanks again for joining us and see you next month.