A Better Bloom
by Anna Ervin
Edmond local Cindy Keeton remembers eagerly watching the 788 movement unfold. She owned a flower shop for three years before launching a virtual and mobile doctor recommendation clinic, A Better Bloom Health and Wellness.
“In my flower shop I would listen to podcasts about 788 and the movement,” Cindy recalled, “I told my employee at the time, ‘I think that this is coming.’ Now here we are.”
It took years to really get to Cindy. It was much clearer once I began working alongside her at patient drives. I’m big on taking pride in my work, and I believe that foundation is built upon the integrity and values of my employer. Cindy is one of those employers.
I fell in love with watching the way she would walk patients through the process of getting their recommendations with patience and compassion. I asked Cindy what inspired her to open up her clinic, she claims she was tired of receiving first hand knowledge that some doctors were taking large sums of money from their patients without helping them through the entire application process.
“I volunteered for one of the first companies that started medical marijuana patient clinics in Oklahoma,” she said. “The doctor was sending the patients out without finishing any of their paperwork. They were paying ridiculous amounts of money to get this done, and they did not have a clue what their next step was. The patients would call the doctors and the doctors either wouldn’t return their calls, or they had no clue. It made me mad.”
Cindy keeps a staff of “up-loaders” on hand at each clinic to help patients complete their application. If you’ve had to navigate the OMMA’s lengthy and somewhat confusing application process, you’ll probably understand why going the extra mile to help patients through this is so important.
“I think that other companies are dropping the ball right in the middle,” Cindy said. “If their application gets rejected for some reason, then they are not willing to go the extra mile and fix it. They do not have a live person on the other end of the line. They do not have anybody for the patient to talk to about it.”
“I do think that those things are important,” she continued, “especially for the geriatric patients that we see. Computers are too complicated for them. A lot of them still have flip phones. They have no clue what Skype, or Zoom, or anything else is. That is where I think our specialty is, as far as getting patients seen from the beginning to the end. We help them through that whole process.”
Over time it has become obvious to me that Cindy has a big heart for those who cannot or who have a hard time advocating for themselves. Before she opened the flower shop, and later the clinic, she worked in childcare for nineteen years.
“I love kids,” she told me, “I have always loved kids, but I had to do something different because of my kidney. Kids carry a lot of germs and diseases, and my immune system was compromised. I like to make sure that the kids are taken care of. My passion is to hopefully get an event going where we can do pediatric recommendations. I mean, we do them now, but not in an event setting yet.”
“In the works right now is an event that will hopefully come to fruition in August,” Cindy continued, “there will be pediatric and regular recommendations. We are working out the details. I have named the event, Love You to the Moon Pie and Back. Parents say, “love you to the moon and back to their child.” The place we are going to be at is called Moon Pie, so I think that is a really fitting name for this event.”
“I do not want to charge our vendors an arm and a leg. I want to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I am not doing it for the money, but I am doing it to give back.”
I thought about how many patients Cindy assists on a weekly basis, and remembered my own experience helping people of all kinds apply for their medical marijuana card. You are in a position to really listen to all kinds of stories about people. So many have discovered the relief cannabis provides. In some cases they would talk of all of their fears and expectations about trying cannabis.
I asked Cindy what advice she had for anyone thinking about getting a medical recommendation for cannabis.
“I do know that there are a lot of mental health issues here in Oklahoma,” she began. “Oklahomans are really hard-working people. I have seen so many people with arthritis and their fingers are wrinkled up. This medicine really does help you with that. It helps you live better. I believe that you should get your card. You should live better. I have family members that are older, and they medicate with cannabis and they feel so much better when they do. It helps them so much.”
“My kidney problems stem from a hereditary disease, so I did not even start using cannabis until after I had my transplant. Even then it was kind of an iffy thing with the transplant. One of my doctors told me if he would never have to give me another opioid again then he was just fine with cannabis. I started using cannabis in 2018 to help with sleeping. I don’t really consume cannabis during the day if it is not needed.”
“I really do think that eventually cannabis is going to be used, if not to replace opioids, but at least give opioids a run for their money. I hope it actually replaces opioids. I really do.”
A Better Bloom Health and Wellness betterbloomclinic.com