Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pill Confusion

I just took my morning antibiotic pill a few minutes ago — at 8:00 o'clock. I'll take the next one at the same time tonight.

This was the antibiotic prescription given to me by the surgeon when I left the hospital last week. We've got the instructions under control now, but we had a few perplexing and funny moments trying to figure them out last week when we got home. I suppose you had to be there to see the humour, that it won't be funny in the telling, but I feel compelled to try to sketch it out anyway.

You must understand that both Cuppa and I were very tired. I had just been through an operation, and she had been driving down to see me, and you know how tiring visiting in a hospital can be. It's terribly draining for most people. I hadn't slept at all well in my two nights in the ward, and neither of us had slept well in the two nights prior to the procedure, our minds active with apprehension.

So, we got home, and got the pills out: Take on an empty stomach; don't eat for two hours before the operations and for one hours after; don't consume dairy products in the six hours prior to ingesting medication and for two hours afterward. Picture two very tired people trying to get it all straight.

I'd look at the instructions, understand them, and then get confused. Hmmm ... was that don't drink milk for six hours prior to taking the pill or don't drink milk for six hours afterward? So, we'd look again, and then get confused about when I was to eat. Frankly, we got rather giddy and started laughing really hard over our confusion. Finally, Cuppa went downstairs for one more read. When she took her time getting back, I knew that she was making notes.

I was right. She came back upstairs with a timeline diagrammed out, and we figured it all out. To the point: I take the pill twice daily at 8:00 on the clock. I must eat before six o'clock or after nine but not between those hours, and I may consume dairy products between the hours of ten and two only. Except when I forget that ice cream is a dairy product!

On top of that, when I opened the pills on that first night, something seemed wrong. There were too many; the bottle said to take them for three days only, but I had a mittfull of them. And on closer inspection they were Tylenol 3's, the same as the other prescription that I had sent home with. Cuppa took them back to the pharmacy. They changed the Tylenols to the correct antibiotics but still gave her twenty tablets and not six. She asked about it; they checked again ... and changed the instructions to read ten days rather than three.

So, here I am almost a week later, still taking the pills and mostly getting it right. I will ingest the last blasted tablet on Saturday morning, but right now, it's time for breakfast. Drat! I have to wait until nine o'clock. I'm not very hungry today; maybe I'll just have a bit of cereal at 9:00. Double drat! Cereal would require milk, and I have to wait until ten o'clock before I am permitted to consume dairy products.

Sigh.

10 comments:

Rhea said...

I had a situation where the prescription on the bottle was completely different from what I was told by my doctor to do. Luckily it was something I take regularly and recognized the problem.

Madcap said...

Oh my goodness. Anyone post-op should definitely have a keeper to sort these things out - and I'm glad you do!

Paul said...

Makes one wonder what would happen if you did eat at the wrong time or did eat dairy. Will the medicine be ineffective or will it make you feel nauseated or will you turn purple? But, not to worry. Sounds like Cuppa is in control with her chart!

ChrisB said...

This so reminds me of when my mother came out of hospital with about a dozen different tablets(including 2 types of antibiotics) and medicine to take. She was totally confused with all the different instructions and we had a few (luckily not serious) instances of taking the same thing twice even when I was supervising.

Pam said...

Good Lord, I am confused and I haven't lost sleep. Well, I'm NOT confused because Cuppa made a chart.

Bonita said...

Oh how I wish we could replace medications with, uh, some nice taste thrills, like pomegranate popcycles. They'd be so refreshing, and with two to a package we could share one with our chart-maker. Life should be so simple.

cat59 said...

How complicated, and scary that the pharmacy initially gave you Tylenol instead of the anti-biotic. Life requires such vigilance. It's so important to have someone with you who can help!

PBS said...

Those are very confusing directions, good to have someone help sort them out. Restrictive too, when you have to schedule your meals and dairy intake!

KGMom said...

Seems a bit much for an somewhat older (ahem) person. And frankly I wonder if it really matters.
Although, some antibiotics don't work with dairy products, so maybe that's part of it.

Cathy said...

It's daunting, isn't it? Celebrate that last pill Saturday.