What would make someone modify their medication despite doctor’s orders? Mom seems to be a master at this.
I’m sure other seniors (and their caretakers) are going through this. My mom’s high blood pressure pills are no longer being manufactured so her doctor prescribed another medication plus a separate diuretic. So Mom takes the diuretic, is up several times during the night to go to the bathroom, and decides the medicine is too much.
I call the doctor’s office, we set up an appointment, and he instructs her to take the diuretic for the remainder of the week until we come to see him. She tells me she’s not going to take it. I insist, reminding her that the last time she didn’t take a diuretic, her ankles blew up like sausages and her blood pressure shot up to scary levels.
“Oh yeah, I remember that. I don’t want that to happen again,” she tells me. I believe we have agreement. What she doesn’t tell me is that she decides on her own to cut the CAPSULE in half and take what she wants. Of course, I learn this in the doctor’s office when she tells the nurse what she’s been doing. (Said nurse gave her “the look,” if you know what I mean.)
Wow. Bad for two reasons. You can’t control your medication levels by cutting a capsule in half. And capsules work in certain ways … you change the way the medication enters your body and therefore the way it is meant to perform. The doctor explains this patiently but firmly. He asks her to try the medication he’s prescribed for at least six weeks. She agrees. Three days later, the new diuretic is working perfectly.
I now find I’m watching my mom’s medicine intake. I don’t like to have to do this, but I don’t feel like I can trust her to take the pills she’s supposed to take. Years ago, she decided she didn’t need to take B 12 anymore. That didn’t work out so well. It almost killed her and it contributed to her memory loss. She decided years ago to cut her thyroid pill in half and take part of it during the day and the other half during the evening. That didn’t work out so well, either. She gained 20 pounds. Finally, the doctor discovered what she was doing and that got straightened out.
Recently, when she threatened to quit the high blood pressure pill, I said, “OK, mom. But then you suffer the consequences. Your blood pressure will skyrocket and you’ll end up in the hospital.” (Hey, scare tactics were known to work on me when I was a kid.)
I’m writing this blog because I’m at a loss. If you have a suggestion on making mom take her meds, let me hear it!