Friday, April 16, 2010

Medication Issues

The other day, Mom handed me some prescription bottles and said she needed them refilled. She asked me if we could get them refilled locally. We have of course done this already with a number of prescriptions. But she doesn't remember so I tell her I can do that. But when I see the bottles, I realize some have already been refilled at the new drugstore.

She denies this- saying she is completely out of the meds, including Aricept. I know she has Aricept. So I go into her room and find a stash of meds in a different drawer. Sure enough the Aricept is in there. Then I worry that she has not been taking it. There were only a couple left in the old bottle before I refilled the Aricept last week. She says she took it every day, that she just ran out.

So I got her 7 day pill container out of her bedroom. And I asked her to show me the Aricept. She showed it to me in the slot for the next day and I noticed there were two Aricept in the same slot. I opened the rest of the days, and there were duplicates of that medication and 2 others in the following days. 

Mom looked at the meds and when I mentioned there were duplicates, she said "I noticed that. I've been meaning to fix it." Of course, then I was afraid she's been taking two every day... But she assured me since she is a nurse, she wouldn't possibly do that...

I asked her to let me fix the pill container, but she got upset and said she would do it herself. I told her I wanted to check it after she was done and she said she understood.

It took her a little more than an hour and when she was done, she was missing a few days of thyroid and theophylline. And she was out of her sleeping medication and almost out of another med.

So I called in refills to the local drugstore and they said they would contact the old pharmacy to transfer the prescriptions and the meds would be ready by noon.

Mom and Dad went in the afternoon to get the medicine. She filled in her thyroid and theophylline into the days they were missing.

We had dinner together and then went to our separate living-rooms to watch tv and read. Around 10 pm Mom came in to our area very agitated.  She said when she got to the pharmacy (9 hours earlier) the pharmacist would not give her her sleeping medication. She claimed the pharmacist told her she was taking too many medications and she wouldn't fill it. Then that turned into the pharmacist was disapproving of her taking a sleep med and she had no right to judge her!

I suggested that perhaps she didn't hear (correctly) what the pharmacist said to her. With her severe hearing problems sometimes she doesn't hear things correctly. She got really worked up and upset by the very idea and was sure that the new pharmacy was judging her because she took sleeping pills. Then I suggested perhaps the prescriptions had expired and that made her angry too.

I promised her I would call the next morning and find out what was going on.

At 6 am the next morning, Mom wanted to know if I was going to call. She started in on how the pharmacist was judging her again and I quickly told her I would call as soon as the pharmacy opened!

When I called I talked to the lady who had helped Mom the day before. She was very nice and remembered Mom and told me right off the bat that when she had called the old pharmacy for the prescriptions she was told TWO of the prescriptions (sleeping aid and Vitamin K) had expired.  That is what she told Mom.
To make a long story shorter- it took two days to get the refills called in from the doctor's office and I spent quite a bit of time with the new pharmacy and pharmacist and found both to be exceedingly sweet, patient and helpful, in person as well as on the phone.
Mom wavered between being angry with the new pharmacy and the old pharmacy. She was angry with the fact that a prescription expires after a year even if refills haven't all been used. And then of course, the new pills and the old pills and the new containers and the old containers are not all alike and that is upsetting. Change is difficult.
Now my dilemma. How can I be sure Mom is taking her meds correctly? This is not something she is willing to discuss or to give on.

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