My Interview with Grey’s Anatomy Star Chandra Wilson

chandra_twcSo I am quite sure by now that I do in fact have a blogger guardian angel. No, I do. And I need to light a candle on her behalf every night and thank her for all she brings my way.

So what is it this time?

Well. I was emailed by a friend/colleague/reader of mine the other day and asked if I would like to be part of an phone interview with (here it is, folks…) Chandra Wilson. She is the enormously talented actor who plays Dr. Bailey on “Greys Anatomy”. It turns out she is a spokesperson for the Treat With Care Campaign and is working with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association to advocate for the safe use of children’s over the counter medication. Would I be interested in participating in the call and interviewing her as a mom blogger?

Um. Yeah. I think so.

Some quick back story here. Now, like households everywhere, I watch “Greys” regularly. It’s a fabulous show. But here’s the thing. Of ALL the characters (McSteamys and McDreamys included), my stand alone, top of the pile, absolute favorite character on that show is Dr. Bailey. Her character is an incredible example of a smart, witty, relatable hard working mother who digs in and scraps for what she believes in. I stand by Dr. Bailey with every episode. Just ask my husband. When the credits roll, I clutch a couch pillow to my heart and confess my solidarity with Dr. Bailey. She simply rocks that show.

And last Friday I got to interview her.

That couch pillow? Yeah, it kind of got thrown in the air a bit.

Ok. So down to the nitty gritty. What is the Treat With Care Campaign all about?

Before we start, I must confess something. I am not sure if this deems me as being highly unprofessional, but I didn’t write down the conversation word for word so I could transcribe the interview exactly as it went here. Sorry about that folks. Color me a wee bit star struck, I got caught up in the convo – talking and writing just wasn’t going to happen. But I did take notes and will do my damnedest to do it all justice here for you. So here we go. (And its a little long but like I care. It’s Chandra Wilson for pete’s sake!)

Once we all called in, we heard a little bit from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). They are a non-profit, consumer focused association supported by the makers of many over the counter medications (OTCs). The Treat With Care Campaign is their initiative to encourage the safe use of children’s OTCs. The USFDA recently changed its OTC recommendations and now suggests they be used for children 4 and older (as opposed to previous labels recommending use for ages 2 and older). And with that, Chandra Wilson was introduced to us as their spokesperson for the Treat With Care Campaign and we were welcomed to ask her questions.

Chandra greeted us all and I couldn’t help but smile. I know that voice! She was very encouraging and certainly seemed happy to speak with us. So, as I gathered myself, rallying whatever bit of professionalism I had, I couldn’t help but think the following:

“Its Dr. frigging BAILEY!!! Ok, she sounds cool. In fact, she seems a whole lot sweeter than what I expected. Like the softer, gentler, more relaxed twin of Dr. Bailey. And shes a mom! And here she is just chatting away with us! Bah! Must not freak out but I SO TOTALLY AM!”

Breathe.

So then it was my turn to ask a question. Anxious, shameless and a little bit starstruck, I jumped right in. As a mother of a 3 year old, I asked her how this campaign has changed how she cares for her son when he has a cough or cold.

She explained to us it has changed her life a great deal. Before, she never thought twice about about treating her child’s cough or cold the way she might treat her own. But since becoming involved in this campaign, she has learned the following tips:

  • Read labels and never give your child more than the recommended dose
  • Store medications out of reach AND out of sight of your children. The flavors can be enticing, so she even turns the labels with the cute grapes inward
  • Never use an OTC for children younger than the recommended age of four or under (unless prescribed otherwise by a doctor)
  • Never use adult medications for children
  • Never use any medication for the purpose of making your child sleepy

(Can I just say here that as she was carefully listing these tips, I started slipping back into a “Greys” state of mind. Since she is clearly informed about this topic, she suddenly sounded a little more like Dr. Bailey and I had better listen to these points or else she was going to get the Chief involved and make us interns pay! …Oh for crying outloud. SNAP OUT OF IT CAROLINE! Sheeesh.)

She then talked about how she works hard to focus on nutrition and hydration when her child is sick. And when her little one is truly miserable, she always refers to her Pediatrician for cough or cold medications.

So with the new OTC recommendations, I know that I have been nervous about using any OTCs at all for my children. Are they really safe?

Well, she explained that the problems have occured when parents have misused OTCs or children have taken OTCs on their own and over-dosed. In fact, the FDA found this was occurring more often with children under the age of 4, hence the changes on labels. She told us that this campaign is simply just a good reminder to everyone about how to use OTCs – they are safe if they are used correctly.

So should we always ask a pediatrician before we use an OTC, even if the child is over 4?

(Ugh, duh, was this a stupid question? Whatever. I asked it.)

She said that we should use our common sense as parents. But yes, certainly discuss the use of any meds with our pediatrician. She has found that since she has been involved in this campaign, she always contacts her pediatrician whenever she is in doubt – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The other bloggers asked questions too of course, and she was so nice to everyone. (Although I do feel a bit guilty. Maybe I asked too many questions? Maybe I jumped in there too often? My apologies to the other bloggers, I think I sort of lost my mind a bit. Ok. Let it go.) But ultimately, she came back to the same points I’ve already mentioned and made sure to underscore the importance of using OTCs safely. Then the CHPA rep asked us if we had any further questions.

Heh. I did, of course. (Shocker of all shockers.)

I asked Chandra that I was pretty sure all of our readers would love to know how she balances being a mother with such a demanding career.

She explained that she has a great support team in place. She has a day to day schedule and tries to stick with it. And while she has a plan in place, she always makes room for the human factor. Things can change daily and she tries to accommodate accordingly. Sometimes her kids might come to work or maybe one has to get to camp – whatever it is, she just tries to make room for it just like we all do.

And with that, it was time to say good-bye.

Ack. So what did I do? I couldn’t help myself.

While I was thanking her, I just had to get a little gushy. (Groan.) I blurted out that I really appreciate the character she plays since she is a hardworking mother, and she sets such an important example. She said that’s why she loves Dr. Bailey too – she’s real, strong but certainly not perfect. I told her I think that shes fantastic in her role and thanked her for it. And she was so damn nice back. She really was. Did I make a fool of myself gushing a bit there? Eh, maybe. Probably. But who cares. You know why? She has brought such a great character to my Thursday evenings, she SHOULD be thanked you know?

(Ok, Chandra? If luck would have it and you are reading this? I really mean it. Thank you. Dr. Bailey is a fantastic character. And sure sure, its because there are amazing writers for Greys but REALLY. It is *YOU* who makes Dr. Bailey who she is. YOU bring this character to life. You have reached so many people with your fabulous acting and I just have to say it again. Thank you.)

Stop laughing at me, readers o’ mine. Its ok, I can gush NOW. Its my blog, so I can be out of my mind now, its kind of what I do here, right?

But really, the best part of the whole conversation was just how real and relaxed it was. Because she is not a doctor, she is a working mom just like so many of us. We laughed about our kids, we swapped stories, we talked about how important it is to protect our children. And at the end of our half hour, I was a little sad to say good-bye.

So, if you want to see more of Chandra, here are a couple clips you should watch. First, here is the Treat With Care OTC PSA.

And then, this is the real “non Dr. Bailey” Chandra on Ellen. How cool is she? No, really! She is so damn cool, a mom like us, she loves her soaps and she doesn’t know how to work her TIVO. Yup, I really heart her. (I know, enough with the gushing, but I can’t make any more of a fool of myself here than I already have right?…) – so… rock on Chandra!!!

Thank you again, Chandra Wilson and CHPA for this opportunity.

3 comments ↓

#1 Shan D. on 03.22.09 at 3:54 pm

So cool. And hey, I heart you as much as you heart Chandra.

#2 Jennie on 03.23.09 at 12:02 pm

I love Chandra Wilson too – she is absolutely definitely the best bit about Grey’s. I love her attitude!

Jennie’s last blog post… A whole new world has been opened up for me!

#3 Susan on 03.26.09 at 7:06 am

Great interview! Congrats!

Susan’s last blog post… Ramblin’ On

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