I love my mom so freaking much.
Mother’s Day is coming up and so is my mom’s birthday. This year, she will turn 87. Eighty-seven. I find it hard to comprehend that number, so I choose not to. My mom is my rock–she’s the one I turn to in the ups and downs of life. She raised five kids and always managed to squeeze a quarter out of a penny. When my youngest son was 6 months old, she had three heart attacks in one week. Once she bounced back, she quickly made changes and embraced a healthier lifestyle.
In January, my mom and sister decided to do something bold–sell the lake house and move to an adult-living community in Tennessee–where they know no one. While touring the complex, they walked into a house that they liked and right then and there, they decided to embark on a new adventure.
In a strange twist to the journey, mom landed in a hospital while vacationing in Florida and had a pacemaker put in. Once she arrived home to see her regular heart doctor, things became worse. The doctor prescribed a different regimen of medicines and we began to notice that mom wasn’t quite the same. My sister took her to the hospital and she was diagnosed with an extremely low sodium level. For several days, the nurses and doctors monitored her blood to increase her sodium levels. Even though her sodium levels stabilized, Mom continued to show impaired thinking and could hardly walk. We felt like the staff simply wrote it off as “old age.”
Mom was sent back home and immediately became ill with an upset stomach and increased paranoia. Back into the hospital she went, with another round of blood draws and adjustments.
I strongly suspected the medicines were the problem. My mom’s behavior and impaired thinking began when the new medicines were prescribed. The doctor lowered some of the dosages, but mom continued to suffer. In desperation, I turned to the internet for answers.
I discovered a valuable tool for checking drug interactions and compatibility issues: Medscape Drug Interaction Checker.
After scouting through the list I discovered mom was taking two drugs that were not meant to be taken together. Sure enough, the list of side effects mirrored what was happening to my mom. I double-checked with my cousin who is a pharmacist.
Mom discontinued the drug that was listed and slowly she’s been getting better, but still not back to the same mom of a few months ago. I now suspect the dosage of one drug and the side effects of another are to blame. Another meeting with the doctor is coming up.
As much as I’m thankful for modern medicine, it seems we have gone way overboard in the number of pills that are casually prescribed today. I see an alarming trend that routinely includes several vials of pills for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood thinners, and more. It seems like we are developing more and more medicines every day and not really understanding the effects of multiple concoctions on the human body. For example–one of the medicines I looked up had 223 drugs listed as dangerous when taken in combination with this drug. How does a doctor even begin to keep up their knowledge of drugs when there are so many on the market? How does anyone even measure the effects of taking 5 different medicines a day?
Not long ago, I watched a drug commercial where the list of side effects was the longest part of the commercial. The side effects included “kidney failure and possible death.”
How in the world does the possibility of death make a drug worth taking? To me, that seems like Pill Roulette.
Soon, we will be connected with a new doctor in a new state and I’m hoping for a complete turnaround.
I really want my mom back. She’s my rock.
After cutting the dosage of one drug in half and taking it at night, my mom started getting her strength and mental clarity back! We noticed the difference almost immediately. A few days later, she was able to walk more and more without the walker.
I’m so thankful to see her back!
Karen Putz is an author, speaker, and Passion Mentor who helps others unwrap their passions at any age. For fun, she walks on water with the assistance of a rope, boat, and driver. Connect with Karen via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and her website: Ageless Passions.