Friday, August 30, 2013


When it comes to taking over the counter (OTC) medications it is always advisable to consult with you medical practitioner, especially if you are taking prescription medications. There can be harmful interactions that when taking more than one medication (this is true for prescription as well as OTC medications). Because OTC medications are not monitored when purchased, what can have an even more negative and possible harmful impact on your health is not knowing, or taking the time to know, the possible side effects of OTC. One common OTC pain reliever, Tylenol (aka acetaminophen), is one such medication. One company, Johnson & Johnson, is moving to help consumer's by changing the top's of Tylenol to warn consumers to ALWAYS READ THE LABEL before taking this OTC medication. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a good OTC pain medication, however, it cannot be taken by everyone and definitely you need to take the time to know "Is it safe for me to take Tylenol"?
Always remember the pharmacist should be included in your team of health care providers. They are an excellent source of a wealth of information and can help you monitor all of you medication needs, both prescription and OTC. The next time you visit the pharmacy, try stepping over to that section labeled  "CONSULTATION" and begin building a relationship with the pharmacist that can be one of the most valuable relationships you may ever have.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Completing Your Life Planning

End of life care is one of the most difficult discussions that family members have but as I am the caregiver of someone with stage 4 heart failure I have done a lot of thinking on this matter lately. It appeared to me that when someone finds out that they are expecting a child so much preparation goes into that nine month period before the child's arrival and I wonder why the same preparation is not put into the planning of how one would like life to end? I  know that we do not determine the time or manner in which this happens but the care we desire can be our choice. I recently read an article on Dr. Keven Pho's blog, "When Donated Blood is Wasted" which further made me feel that enough effort to plan is not put into this life duty.
Except in the case where a person dies suddenly or accidentally, some planning should be done for end of life care, regardless of how or when the event occurs. As a responsible adults we need to begin the discussion of some of our wishes LONG BEFORE illness or a  tragedy occurs. If the conversations were to begin, you will find that most people have preferences on this topic (if given a choice, where would you want to die-home or hospital, who would you want to care for you, what kind of treatments would or would you not want, etc.). The Family Caregivers Alliance website has a wealth of information and resources for you to begin to take that first step. You not only owe it to your loved ones to lift this burden but you owe it to yourself so you end choices are yours and not ones made for you.