Thursday, December 31, 2009

Side Effects and Their Side Effects

All these drugs have side effects, right? Such as addiction, although I think it's more polite to say chemical dependence when it's a prescribed drug. There are some side effects which I pledge I will never talk about here. Not ever. (Did I say pledge? Did I say not ever? Hmmm. I've never really thought about moving to DC before....)

Some of these side effects have an upside. Such as, I have been introduced to the nutritional value and tastiness of prunes. And, I no longer notice that the powder never fully dissolves in my juice. And, I'm reminded that MOM doesn't just refer to my mother.

Some of these side effects contribute to my daily pill consumption as I must take more pills to counter the effects of other pills. And, guess what? Some of these side-effect-battling drugs have side effects of their own. Oh, yes.

So it breaks down like this: I was taking one pill a day before October, and one multivitamin. Now, in addition, I take 6 pills for pain, two more to counter their side effects, 12 for inflammation, and six more as an anti-depressant. (What they tell me is the antidepressants are for pain. I think they're really for patient management.)

Yesterday, I felt slightly nauseous. Part of the problem, I think, is we exchanged two yellow ones for the 12 brown ones. Just a bad exchange rate. But to counter this increase in anti-inflammation pills, she doubled the dosage in the anti-depressants so I only have to take half as many. It also means the green ones are now white. Not white like the white ones. Those are tablets. These are capsules. Follow?

Since we'll be going at least another month with the drugs, I recently reviewed all my meds with my doctor. She asked me if we had already tried acetaminophen or ibuprofen as the anti-inflammation ingredient in our little recipe. We had tried the acetaminophen (some time ago) but not the ibuprofen. The brown ones are just Advil (ibuprofen) but it takes four Advil, three times per day to reach the desired dosage, which definitely exceeds label recommendations. (She just told me to ignore those.)

Actually, when this whole thing started, all I was taking was Advil until I started exceeding the limits on the label. That's when I called my doctor. And so here we are, almost right back to where I started. Wouldn't that just be a doozey - if Advil turns out to be the answer? (It was always there right in front of me. There's no place like home, there's no place....)

In fact, I've been telling anyone who would listen since day numero uno that ibuprofen works better for me than acetaminophen. This is just the first time anyone took into account the patient's input.

As it turns out, I do feel a little better today. I don't know if it's the Advil or not but I'm more careful to eat something with my dosings to avoid the nausea. I did have a slight headache today which I didn't even think was possible! (But that could have something to do with my interpretation of Avoid Alcohol.)

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