Recently I had the mother of all sinus allergy attacks. I was actually coughing and sneezing too hard to drive. It taught me that a tissue in each hand can make me forget all I need to say. Things like what to tell the doctor and what to ask the doctor. And showed me how careless I’ve been. Even with my rules:
Keep meds list updated
I update my grocery list daily. But Meds list - the really important one - not very well.
Mine didn’t have my new eye meds on it. And it was too complicated. Need to simplify. Since I’m absentminded, I leave on it some meds I no longer take (with a line through them.) Just in case somebody wants to give me an Rx that once caused me trouble. Or one I’m really allergic to.
Take your meds list everywhere including to the doctor’s office and drugstore.
The doctor and the med assistant may need to scan it (It’s amazing how office computers eat half or all of my file including pills & meds (like the ones I don’t dare take.) If you drive, a current meds list in your glove box might be worth doing - might copy mine & put it in today. And keep a current one in whatever bag you take with you for a hospital test, especially outpatient surgery.
Take a list of the questions you should ask (especially if I’m too sick to pay good attention)
What’s wrong with me?
Why do I need this test. How much will it cost?
(I asked why a chest Xray, should have mentioned I’ve had a five-year pneumonia shot.)
What medicine(s) are you giving me? Is it expensive?
Is it a pill. Or pills? How do I take it (some pills I can’t take) He explained. (More on that later.)
What does it look like? He showed me the little packs
Is it a steroid? Since I took them, I’ve had reasons to wish I had asked that question!!
Write down what he says.
If you’re as old as I am, you may hate having your daughter go in with you to see him, but my daughter’s writing is readable, MINE? NOT SO MUCH. And she asks intelligent questions. (If your doctor looks AT AND TALKS TO your daughter instead of to you, you can ask plainly to be spoken to directly. (Some doctors have not learned that.)
It’s hard to make myself ask these questions. But I know asking could save me. Drugstores, and busy doctors, even mine, are not perfect .)
In the past I have been sent home with the wrong labels on pills. (Luckily I knew what they should look like).
I have also been sent home with wrong, incomplete or missing instructions. Some pill bottles are so small that instructions are on a sticky flap that falls off way too soon. You may have had that experience.
Yes, people even a lot younger than I am, take off glasses or contacts, and just think they know which bottle is which. And yes, some people can’t afford the glasses they need to read microscopic drug store label print. A friend bought a 4-inch flat magnifier for those occasions.
I don’t want to take the wrong pill, or take any pill four times a day instead of one time.
I have a shiny red folder for each doctor for all this stuff. It cost almost nothing. Do it.