know thy pharmacist

My local pharmacist has become an unexpected ally in dealing with Mom’s health.

chemist-2026442_1280Back from my flu break – I’ll be playing catch-up with my posts for the next week or so. Fortunately, I had a fairly light case of the flu (or whatever it was) but it knocked me off my feet for the better part of a week and I’m still getting over the fatigue. At about 3:30 pm, I’m ready for a nap! 

Moving on …

Before my mother came down to live with me, she would talk about how great the pharmacist was at her local drug store. I thought it was a quaint example of small-town life –  she had lived in the village forever and it was (still is) the kind of place where everybody knows everybody. I, on the other hand, have been fairly healthy and rarely needed to bother the pharmacist, particularly as my allergy medication is now available over-the-counter.

Since my mother moved down to Baltimore, I have come to appreciate my local pharmacist more than I thought possible! She not only remembers my mother’s case, but also is proactive in reaching out to the doctor’s office when there is a question. She is very helpful in thinking about alternatives or offering suggestions – for example, my mother uses a “memory” patch, which is a bit cumbersome, and the pharmacist noted that there are other formulations that we might want to try. Even if we don’t switch from patch to pill, it’s great to know that someone is thinking about this.

In a prior post, I mentioned that we have a system for setting up Mom’s daily medications (staying on schedule, logging progress and challenging fears) in a way that allows us to know whether we need refills a couple of weeks out. This is a great system. But invariably, even before I can check on the prescription status, I receive a text message about the medicine – it’s in the pharmacy’s system or it’s being prepared or it’s ready. I don’t have to do anything. Sometimes, the pharmacy contacts the doctor’s office to check on a refill, which saves me time and cuts out the middleman, ur, middleperson … that is, well, me.

I have mentioned having groceries and all manner of supplies delivered and initially I thought about adding medications to the list. However, I’ve changed my tune. I’m now a proponent of the local pharmacy and the terrific pharmacist who is always willing and able to help facilitate my mother’s medication regimen. It’s nice to feel like I have another ally in making sure that Mom stays healthy.

One of my tasks over this year is to start building a network of people to assist my mother over the coming years. The doctor’s office and an engaged pharmacist help to cover some of the bases. I was happy to see that Mom’s insurance company has an in-home assessment once each year. So, the medical front is pretty strong.

Next on the list is social engagement. Right now, although Mom is fine on her own, she could use more company. Down the road, there may come a point when she needs more services and more help. Establishing a network will take a little effort, but it will be worth it to make sure Mom has people who know her and who want to make sure she is happy.

2 thoughts on “know thy pharmacist”

  1. First of all, it’s great to see you back and posting. I’m glad to read you are on the way to recovery. Take it easy, as the relapse is just as deadly. As a long time advocate for naps, i encourage that.

    I wasn’t aware of the memory patch. Thanks for that info. Your pharmacist is a gem, it seems. To be fair, though, in the last few years it seems to me that pharmacists have stepped up to the plate of helping more than they used to do. OR maybe they do it for older folks like your mom and my husband and me. Regardless, i welcome it and for just the reasons you’ve described. To be fair, though, my pharmacist is not reliable as far as reminding me that a renewal is ahead. Indeed, i think it’s only happened twice. So savor yours!

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    1. It’s great to be back, but I am taking it easy. I have to catch up on everything from work to laundry to the blog, so I’m trying to prioritize. I hope that by next week, I’ll be back to full speed.

      I agree about pharmacists helping the elderly – first, they tend to take more medication and they need more assistance with coordinating various pills, etc. The text reminders seem to be built into the system. I use CVS and they asked whether I’d like to get text messages. At first, I wasn’t sure but after the first one that anticipated my mother’s need for a refill and worked it out to get me the medicine before she ran out … I was convinced! It makes it very handy, as I pass the store on my way home from work so once the text comes I can just stop by without making an extra trip. Like the grocery delivery, it’s just a nice convenience that reduces my stress.

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