Safety first or last?

Someone seems to have stuck a stick of dynamite up my GP’s backside and blasted him into the 21st century. Last month, out of the blue, the receptionist told Adam, that they now have a website through which we can now order my prescriptions and book appointments, without having to phone. I checked it out with total excitement, yes, my world has become that limited, and when I read the leader page, my excitement grew. There was my dream, access to my personal files. It didn’t last long, as it turns out it is up to each GP individually to decide if they want to open our notes this way or not, mine has chosen the not. I had also hoped that I might be able to request a phone call, since clearly I don’t need appointments, but no luck there either. On the good side, we can at least put in the prescription requests.

Then yesterday morning, the phone rang, it was a call from my doctor, well not quite, it was from the surgery number. There was this woman who introduced herself as the practise pharmacist. I wasn’t even sure that the practise employed a cleaner, far less something as posh as a pharmacist, so I was somewhat shocked. No, I’m not implying the building is dirty, it’s just I wouldn’t have been surprised to discover the receptionists were also the cleaners. Anyway, the pharmacist was calling to check that I was taking the correct dose of one of my drugs. There was an error in the dosage on her screen which I had spotted on the pack when it arrived here. Because I knew what I should have been taking, I had ignored it, but she sounded as though she was more than a little concerned and told me that I must only ever take one puff twice a day, not the two on the label. It was clear from the quantities we had been ordering that that was in fact, what I was already doing. It set me thinking about who is supposed to check what, as accidents can undoubtedly happen, we are all human after all. This one, surprised me, though, as I have been on that inhaler now for well over two years, and it has been supplied by at least two different chemists. The original prescription had been requested by my consultant, my doctor then wrote it up, and it has been in the hands of several pharmacists, but suddenly, out of the blue, one stopped and checked it that bit more closely, what happened to all the others?

We automatically assume when a drug arrives in our hands, that we have the right drug, with the right dosage instruction written clearly on it. I have never once, looked further than that. I’ve never checked online to see what the recommended dosage is, or questioned anything about any drug when first prescribed. I suspect, the same can be said for all of us, we assume, we expect and we believe that it is always correct. I know that in the past on two separate occasions a chemist has refused to fill one of my prescriptions, without first talking to my doctor. On both occasions, it has been the same thing, the very high dosage of steroids that I at times need for flares. They both wanted to double check them, as the dosage is off the scale for most people. That, I believed until yesterday, was the safeguard, the pharmacist. This time, I was lucky, when I started taking it, I remembered what my consultant had said about it, and how to take it, so I knew. That was pure luck, as normally, I remember nothing and by now I could have been taking a double daily dose for nearly 2 years. It appears that all our medications safety relies on, is luck. Is that really a good thing to work with, just luck.

Lately, we are being repeatedly told that if you can’t get an appointment with you doctor, and your condition is minor, to consult your local pharmacists. The TV ads portray this well-educated person, just a step below our own GP’s, who’s knowledge is vast and that we can trust, trust to prescribe us the correct treatment for what ails us. Long long before those ads appeared, in fact, for a lot of my adult life, that is exactly what I have done, for anything not serious enough for a doctor’s attention. I’ve watched them filling prescriptions, two of them side by side, apparently checking all is correct. I have even seen some, flicking through drug manuals, I thought to check dosages or any detail, they were uncertain about. For 2 years, my prescription has been in the hands of what must be dozens of these professionals, yet only now, one spots the error? Why?

In this case, there was no danger, but it could have been a very different story. There are a million and one drugs out there that could have killed me long ago, some of which I am actually still on. It has made my realise that maybe, just maybe, that in the future it might just be worth checking ourselves, something that these days, it’s easy to do. At our fingertips, is the exact same information those well paid professional use daily. Putting in one more check as we start yet another new drug, might just save us problems in the future.


Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 17/03/2014 – Still longing

I used to think that when I grew up I would know the answer to everything and that my life would flow smoothly as I would have nothing left to learn. It’s amazing just how wrong a child can be and how far from even scrapping the surface I am from actually knowing anything. All of us have a million questions daily, some small, some amazingly big, but in our minds at the second they appear they feel just the same. I never got the chance to do so many things in my life that I wanted to do, not because anything really stopped me but more because life just took over, time pasts and somehow those things just became unimportant. The places I wanted to go, the……






Racing time

Good morning world! It’s Sunday again and for once I am listening to the TV not snoring as Adam is actually asleep in bed not on the settee. There has been no change in my chest, just as clogged up as it has been for the past few days, I have to say that my suspicions about my meds seems to be accurate, I have no chest pain or sore throat as I always remember having in the past so I am at least grateful for that if nothing else, plus I have in the past few days gently moved the time I take my meds in the evening back bit by bit and I do feel better in the mornings. I guess I was right that they are waring off faster than they used too. I remember clearly being able to go 14hrs from one dose to the next but that isn’t happening any longer it is a much tighter window. I will have to phone the ambulance service again on Monday, I hadn’t realised until last night how fast this month was passing me by, I have an appointment at the pain clinic on 20th which I thought was still weeks away then I realised last night that Christmas was days away not weeks. I have a pile of forms to fill in for them as well, so I will have to get on with that rather than just leaving them sitting on my desk with things on top of them. A year ago I would have gone mad at the mess I now put up with on top of my desk, I’m not sure what I thought might happen by ignoring it, but it didn’t go away that is for sure.

I am still in two minds about this pain clinic thing, I have heard so many negative reports as to what they can do to help and I have no idea short of more meds how they think they are going to change things for me. I have no faith in any therapy or relaxation systems, over the years when I had no diagnosis, I tried a lot of things and not one of them helped in the slightest. I am only going because the nurse said one thing that clicked and made me think it was a good idea and that is that most GP’s are reluctant to prescribe strong meds, but if a consultant prescribes they will go ahead with it. I am hoping as well that they may actually know of other meds that may be my GP isn’t so aware of as he doesn’t really deal with MS, fibro and so on that often. I don’t want to be drugged up with meds that make me fuzzy or make me sleep all the time but I do want to be able to live without pain beyond reasonable. It’s a little odd to measure that for someone who doesn’t live with constant pain, but there are levels that are livable, as I am under no illusion that I will ever be totally free of it, the damage done is too vast for that, just better relief is what am really looking for.

Teressa has now changed here wedding date from January to March, I wasn’t that surprised that they had to move it as no Government department moves that fast. Jon is still waiting for the immigration dep to OK his fiance visa, although both of them are still hoping that he will be here for January, it was more that they realised that with people coming here from all round the world, who have to arrange travel and accommodation that it was all getting too close with no guarantees. I already have 2 wedding invitations from them so I expect this will mean a third to follow soon. Luckily when Teressa booked everything she was very upfront about that the date may need to be flexible so none are charging her any more than she has already paid. It may not all be going to the plan that they dreamed would just open out perfectly but it proves I would think to the departments concerned that they are seriously in love and not just trying to get him into the country. From what Teressa has said to me there is even a chance now that he could have a job at Sega UK, completing the circle as it was at Sega US that they met originally. I still haven’t really settled in my mind that she is now living here in the UK again as she has lived abroad for so long it just seemed the natural place for her to be. When ever she phones I have that flash of what on earth is this costing, as she calls on her mobile and then I remember again that she is in London, just a few miles away compared from the thousands that used to be between us. She is hoping to come to Glasgow in January this time with Jon, so that she can introduce him to everyone, it will be a really strange thing for me as I have never in her entire life met any of her boyfriends, nor did I ever meet her first husband. I hope this visit happens when she has it in her mind to be but we will see, I have though totally come to terms with not being at her wedding, as much as I would like to, it is just all too much.