I regularly see patients who take a laundry list of medications. For people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, arthritis, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation, depression, seizures, and anxiety, I can understand not being able to remember the names and dosages of all 20 of their medications. But those people better damned well have a printed and laminated list of all of them that they carry around with them wherever they go. I've seen these lists a few times, and I almost feel like it's a minor miracle. I've almost hugged a few patients for carrying around their medication menu.
But if you take two or three medications, how difficult is it to remember them?
A patient this morning told me, "I take a little blue one for my heart. And a round white one for my sugar."
What are they called, sir?
"Hell, I can't remember the names."
Of course you can't. "Do you remember the dosages at least?" I asked, thinking I may be able to extrapolate to some of the more common ones. "Or would you at least recognise the names if I said them?"
"Nope, don't think so, Doc. Oh, I think one of them starts with a 'p'. Does that help?"
Seriously? These are drugs which are prolonging, saving, or otherwise improving your life, and you can't even remember them? I've talked before about knowing your body, and of all the surgeries I've had (hernia repairs, appendectomy), I can tell you the name of the surgeon and when and where they were done. That's called being a responsible adult.
Not knowing what you take makes it that much more difficult to take care of you, and it drives me absolutely bonkers when people don't know their own medical or surgical history. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about this crap.
Oops - it must be time to take my medicine. Now if only I could remember which one...