As some of you may know, I am an experienced medical reporter, a skill I hope to someday incorporate into a series of medical thrillers. Anyway, I know just enough to do brain surgery in my garage on weekends as a courtesy to my friends (just kidding...) but not enough to take decent care of myself.

Last week, I had a health scare that sent me to the hospital. They put me on a medication without explaining much of anything to me other than my blood pressure was high and the med would bring it down. Well, instead the med brought me down. I had a rare but serious reaction that made it difficult to breathe. But the problem is, once you start this particular med you can't just stop it because it might trigger a heart attack, a little fact NOBODY bothered to explain to me when they gave me the pills. So now I have to wean myself off, and keep feeling like crap for about another week until I can get this stuff out of my system.

That's why I haven't been around too much for the past week. Anyway, if there's a lesson to be learned from all this, it's to ask lots of questions and not just blindly accept what the doctor gives you or tells you. It was my pharmacist who told me I was having a dangerous reaction. My doctor just sort of scratched her head and said, "Hmmm, I'll see you in two weeks. Nothing to worry about."

Right. The pharmacist said the reaction was far more dangerous than the high blood pressure. He also said you can get just as good control with an old, cheap diuretic as these new, expensive beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, without all the dangerous side effects. But of course, the folks who make the diuretics don't take the docs on all-expenses paid fishing trips to the Bahamas, so they don't get prescribed as much.

Can't tell if I smell a book coming on, or just a furious essay. Whatever it is, it will have to wait until I feel better. So much for being a savvy medical reporter!

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The things I could tell you from working in surgery and the ICU units! You could write some very compelling medical stories from them.
Hope you feel better soon.
A book that I have that I look at all the time is my copy of the PDR, or the physician's desk reference. You don't have to pay the really high cost and get the same one your doctor has in his office-there are less expensive versions available at bookstores. The pdr has the basics about pretty much every prescription drug available. It lists the purposes of the drug and its side effects.

Obviously, you don't want to use this book in place of talking to your doctor, but it's handy as a quick reference. What I really like is that there are photos of the pills, this is great if you've ever been concerned that the pharmacy may have given you the wrong med. The photos are only of the name brands though, not generics.

P. B. is right, always, always ask questions when getting a new medication from your doctor. Your pharmacy should be giving you info sheets with any new med, if they don't, ask for one, you're entitled to it.

Don't want to steal your thunder p.b., my sister is a social worker who deals with the elderly and I've been dealing with a lot of doctors myself lately, plus we both have to lecture family members a lot-it's become rote for me!
Wow. Sign me up for that all expense paid fishing trip to the Bahamas. My husband's a doctor and he has yet to get offered that one. Or anything close to it. Same is true for his colleagues.

Guess he just missed the diuretic gravy boat, eh?
some of the health problems i have today are due to meds i took years ago.


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