Click on this Template and Resources link to review questions to ask your health care professionals, whether you are visiting your doctor at the office, hospitalized, being discharged, or having difficulty affording or taking your medications.
I was only too happy to enjoy a vacation with my family in the tropics. As we enjoyed a beautiful beach day, I ventured out into the warm ocean water. The waves had been rather strong earlier but had subsided somewhat. I took my time walking in, knowing that some waves still remained strong. My family stayed onshore and were chatting, laughing, and enjoying time together in the sun. Much to my surprise, a mounting wave came closer, I was stuck as to which way to move. The wave crashed on me, took me under, and tumbled me around. When I emerged, I was full of sand but thankful that my prescription sunglasses were still covering my eyes.
I looked over at my family and they were all still having a wonderful time and engaged in conversation with each other. They had no idea what just happened to me, not one of them saw me get tackled and taken under by the wave. My family was not that far away from me, but they were busy, at the time. I have been in the ocean numerous times, they would not be “checking” on me per se.
Medication can be similar, it may take us by surprise, especially if we have taken one for years. We may be wondering why we are falling, feel unsteady, confused, or unwell. We say we review our medications but are we truly reviewing them? Are we reviewing how we feel? Are we reviewing with our doctors as to how well our liver and kidneys are functioning to metabolize and eliminate the medications we take? Are we checking that any new medications are not duplicates or a prescribing cascade in which a side effect from a medication is treated with another med? Are we on the lowest possible dose for the best outcome but the least side effects? Are we taking something that can interact with another medication or may cause additive side effects? Are we “checked on” regularly by loving family members or caregivers, perhaps having our meds organized for the week, and thinking that is a review?
We may think we review our medications as we nod ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the recant of our medication list at a doctor’s appointment or at the pharmacy counter. We even add our own self-treatment. Eventually, a fall may occur or hospitalization, or as above ‘get caught up in a wave and be tumbled around’ even when our family is present and close by. As promised many questions to ask health care providers have been brought up in the last few blogs. Click the Templates and Resources option for the WISE and WELL with Donna Bartlett Questions to Ask Guide. Highlight the questions you want to ask at your next doctor’s office visit. Questions are also listed if you are having difficulty with affording or taking medications if you are hospitalized, and when you are discharged.
Continue to think about deprescribing conversations with your health care providers and continue to check weekly for my blog as we go through more steps on deprescribing and optimizing medications.