My father is on a ton of medications for his heart, lungs and circulation. Part of this sentence of endless pill popping is his own fault for not taking better care of his health or listening to the doctor when he was told to stop eating so much red meat, ice cream, potato chips and candy. But 25 percent of his prescriptions were actually his doctors’ faults. I say “were,” because I discontinued them. Yep, me, the RN, said “you’re not taking these.”
After a month-and-a-half of my dad being in and out of the hospital, I was steaming. The one doctor that I talked to a couple times was condescending and never put my father on a monitored floor when he was admitted. With my father’s heart history, I knew that was a bad call and would catch up with him quickly. How exactly do you put a patient with an extensive cardiac history on new meds and see what those new meds do to the heart rhythm, which is already irregular, without putting the patient on a monitored floor? Jackass. I tried to put my foot down, but my parents both said “the doctor knows what he’s doing.” Uh huh. Okay. Don’t call me too early in the morning when you’ve called the ambulance — I’ve got coffee in hand about nine.
So yes, this practice caught up with my dad, twice, with irregular heart rhythms that made him so dizzy that he collapsed and with a hand so swollen from side effects that my mother was worried the skin would burst. After two ER visits, with the squad called (yes, early in the morning before 9), I took a bunch of my medical reference books and the tablet to my parents’ home and spent more than two hours going over every prescription in my father’s daily regime. I’m still shocked at the ineptitude of his physicians in prescribing meds that fucked up his heart medications’ effectiveness.
It’s been a month and he is walking better, is in far less pain, has no dizziness or irregular heart rhythms that he didn’t already have, and his vascular doctor said the circulation in his legs is much improved. The hell you say.Thank you, garlic. Yes, I took him off drugs and a couple of vitamins and replaced them with herbs. The vitamins weren’t awful, they were just too high in potency and were part of the reason he was in pain…. that Vitamin B6 is a temperamental thing and can cause joint pain in high doses.
Had I not done the medication review, he might have died. Two of his newer prescriptions were counteracting the effectiveness of his heart meds. It’s no wonder he ended up on the floor. Had I not done the vitamin review, he may have been put on more medications to manage his pain. He didn’t need more of anything. He needed less. Patients don’t usually know that a medication review MUST be done anytime that a new medication is prescribed. If a patient has more than one prescription, the possible interactions and side effects MUST be checked frequently because side effects can occur at any time as a drug builds up in the body. A medication review can be done by any nurse, but is best done by one who also knows and understands vitamins, herbs and nutrition. Why spend money on medications when you can eat some celery? (That’s effective for inflammation and arthritis, by the way.)
- Just Say No: When It Makes Sense Not to Take Your Medicine (articles.mercola.com)
- System errors blamed for mix-ups (theage.com.au)