Wow it’s been a long time since my last blog. I can’t believe it. I have been without television for the last two weeks and it was wonderful. I don’t have any idea what has been happening in the world, except the “wedding” of course, and that’s okay.
I made a long trip to my sister’s again. If you read my blog from the last trip you may remember how I trembled at making that trip alone. It was exactly the same this time. Every day before I left I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to drive that far, almost twelve hundred miles one way.
My sister is my last sibling, she is older then me by one and a half years and very ill. She was suppose to die in the hospital last year but she fooled all of us and made it through, so as I said in the title, ” the bonds that tie us.” I knew I would have to make another trip.
All went well. I said my thanks to God many times on my trip. It was a nine hour drive for two days. That’s as far as I could make it each day, nine hours. My legs swelled and my brain went numb so I stopped at my new favorite store for a sleep over. That means that I slept in my car. The store was a twenty four hour place so I felt pretty safe. I did feel like a spy sneaking in the back seat of my car to sleep but, I wasn’t going to spend a hundred bucks to sleep in a bug infested nest. My car is clean.
The name of my new favorite place is Meijer. It is like a Walmart but good stuff. I could have spent a fortune there. I did spend two hundred dollars for clothes for my granddaughters, and a few things for my sister. She does not drive, is now on oxygen, which she should have been on when she got out of the hospital but she wasn’t. More on that later. So, she wanted me to get her a few outfits when I stopped over. It gave me an excuse to walk off the swelling, and I love to shop for the kids.
Anyway I want to talk about medicine as I was reminded of such a flaw in health care that I want to share this important information with you. I can not believe how inept many health care providers seem to be. It is a real crime.
Okay so if you have lung disease of any kind, COPD, ASTHMA or any other chronic disorder make sure you know how to use the inhalers that your providers prescribe. I found inhalers all over my sister’s home. Most of them filled a year ago. The ones that she was currently using were months old so probably, or should I say definitely of no help because they were empty.
When you are prescribed an inhaler the first time you use it put A DATE ON IT. Why because if you will look on the front of your inhaler it will say 120 meters, or 200 meters, or 400 meters on the device. What that means is that you have 12o or 200, or 400 inhalations in that inhaler. So, what this means is if you have a 120 meter inhaler, and you are using it four times a day, that inhaler will only last you 30 days. Do the math. Often these inhalers have propellants in them so you may get a spray of something out of the inhaler, but after 120 squirts there is no more medicine left.
I can not tell you how many times in my job, I am a nurse, a patient has complained that their inhalers weren’t working anymore, when in reality they were just empty.
What pisses me off is that the doctors, nurses, pharmacist do not often share this VITAL information with the patient. They think someone else will do that job. In the mean time patients suffer needlessly, sometimes changing their medications for no reason, because no one told them how to keep track of what is in the inhaler, and no one ask to see them so they could see if they still had medicine in them.
My sister is no exception. She had at least six inhalers laying around. All filled last year. She had no idea when or if she had used them, and some were already expired. The ones she was currently using were months old and probably empty. Did I mention that she is very hard headed, I mean like a brick. I told her every time we talked on the phone that she should be on oxygen because she was always so breathless when we talked. She blew me off.
When I got there for my visit she shared with me that she had several falls in the last several months. They just started her on oxygen two days before I got there. She has been out of the hospital for thirteen months and they were just starting the oxygen now. What idiots. What I tried to explain to her was that she was probably hypoxic, meaning low oxygen levels, which would cause a patient to become light headed resulting in falls if they weren’t careful. She said ” no I have always had balance problems” I mean give me a break. I love my sister but, she has her own ideas and will not listen to others, especially me. Now that I am home I can only hope for the best for her.
So my message for today, and there is always a message, is to KNOW WHAT YOUR MEDICINE IS AND HOW YOU SHOULD BE TAKING IT. Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist questions if you don’t know what they hell they are talking about. You are paying them to take care of you.
Make sure you know what the tests are for, why you are taking the medicine, if there are any side effects, or any special instructions. Be in the know. It is your health we are talking about.
I could go on and on with a lot of negative comments about healthcare providers but that won’t do us any good. We as patients need to take control as well and be an active participate in our care. They are the specialist but they really don’t know everything. You have the right to demand that they spend time with you to explain everything and answer all you questions. And you have the right to be the director of your care.
So for today have a great day. Smile, Breathe in the fresh air, and say I love you to someone. It will make you, and them feel so gooooood.