I just found a list I'd written about 2 or 3 years ago. It's a list of medications that my father had to take on a daily basis -- I'd told my mother to recite all the meds and that we'd put it on a spread sheet, in a smaller form that she could tote with her.
And tote she did -- to every medical appointment, to every visit to the emergency room and then repeating the list to every doctor who ever saw my father. Doses were altered, medications were altered, some removed, some replaced.
One callous doctor said point-blank to my mother that all my father's medications were keeping him alive!
This list had 13 items, most of which I've no clue what they were meant for:
1. Aspirin, 81 mg, a.m.
2. Novo-Diltiazem -- 240 mg. -- a.m.
3. PMS--Docusate Calcium -- a.m.
4. Domperidon -- 3x before meals
5. Flovent -- 2 puffs, twice daily
6. Neurontin -- 200 mg., morning and evening
7. Novo-Hydrzaide -- 12.5 mg. morning , 1/2 pill
8. Losec 20 -- 1 tablet a.m. (or Pariet , 2 tablets, 1 a.m., 1 pm)
9. Nitropatch -- o.6 on in the morning, off in the evening
10. Altace, Ratio Ramipril 10 mg. -- a.m. and p.m.
11. Senokot -- 2 tablets, pm.
12. Keppra-- 500 mg., morning and 5:00 in the evening
13. Nitro spray -- if needed
At some point soon after, those daily doses were down to 8 drugs, rather than 13. Whoopdie-doo.
There were several times in hospital that the doctors and pharmacists screwed around with the drugs and their doses at the expense of my father's well-being. Sounds ironic, doesn't it? But for a time he was doped up on too high a dosage of an anti-convulsive drug, that he became violent, had delusions... if it wasn't the opposite -- that he was in a semi catatonic state.
Horrible as it was to see the pharmacy that my father's night table had become, I thank G-d that these drugs did help sustain him to a great degree.
Indeed my father and his lengthy illnesses gave swift business to a certain neighborhood pharmacist. The frequent visits by my father and/or mother to the pharmacist helped develop a type of friendship -- if one can call the friendly visits just that -- and when my father died, and the pharamacist heard, he closed up his shop one afternoon to come and pay a shiva call. (he is not a Jew, but was born in East Jerusalem, and is a Christian, I believe) He respected my parents greatly and appreciated them in his life and wanted to pay his respects to our family.
I found this appropriate Chinese proverb to tie in to this blog post: "It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions, but hard to get one single remedy."
Yes, my father had to take countless meds in his lifetime, but in so many ways he healed himself time and time again...simply with his faith and his positive attitude. And he considered visits from his grandchildren to be "the best medicine of all."
I think Jackie Mason said something notable: "It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like."