Don’t Ask Me!

Of course you all know that I am a fake medical professional. So you should never ask me for medical advice.

But I am a real live professional patient. So I can speak from experience when I talk about medical stuff, too.

It’s all so confusing.

You know what else is confusing?  Taking your medicines so you get the most bang for your buck.  Or for your insurance company’s buck.  Or so you just feel better.

But taking medicines, especially if, like me, you take a zillion different ones, can really be mind numbing.

But there’s help!

October is “Talk About your Medicines Month!”*

I was recently contacted by Judy from NCPIE, The National Council on Patient Information and Education. She asked me to write a post letting you guys know that October is “Talk About Your Medicines Month.”  My sister Judy got me into the habit of doing whatever Judy said,  and even though this was a different Judy, I’m doing just that.  Because it’s important, and it’s a good way to make sure you’re using medicines, both prescriptions and over the counter (OTC)stuff the way you should.

But WHO should I talk to, Elyse?

Personally, I talk to my pharmacist.  He’s easier to get on the phone than my doctor is.

Besides, he always knows the answer to my questions.  Seriously!  Before I became a fake medical expert, I thought that all pharmacists have to do is count pills and put stickers on bottles.  I bet you thought so too.

Nope.  That’s not true at all –although they are damn good counters, I must say.   Pharmacists nearly always have PhDs!  They understand the chemistry, the interactions between drugs and between drugs and foods! They know what side effects to look for.  They know all kinds of things about how a body processes drugs, and what the drugs do to a body.  YOUR BODY!  Who wouldda thunk it.

Seriously, you can talk to them about all kinds of things:

  • Can I drink my daily 12 glasses of wine/5th of bourbon while I’m on this?
  • Do I have to take it before I gorge myself with ice cream?
  • Will it make me feel better after my wine and ice cream?
  • I’ve been taking this drug for 14 years and it was always white and oblong — why is it green and round today?
  • Will the drug that my GP gave me put hair on my chest (and if so, what the hell do I do about it?)
  • Whether stopping a drug cold turkey will turn me into a cold turkey

You can also ask them real questions.

And you know what?  They’ll know the answer.

Because pharmacists are even smarter than I am.

They're good at 'splainin' Google Image, natch.

They’re good at ‘splainin’
Google Image, natch.

*  Eat your heart out Frank (of AFrankAngle)


Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Crohn's Disease, Health and Medicine, Humor, Taking Care of Each Other

58 responses to “Don’t Ask Me!

  1. Oh no, not another professional patient! I thought I cornered the market on that title! Like you, I have no problem asking my pharmacist questions & even though I go to a chain store pharmacy most of the people who work in the pharmacy know me (is that such a good thing?) & will help me in any way then can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benze, I think I may have inadvertently plagarized this. I have long considered myself an actual expert patient (since I am a fake medical professional). I think I wrote this shortly after you wrote your piece about being a professional. Sorry!

      This piece actually makes me pretty angry, but the message is still important. I was asked to write it by someone who sent me an email. It seemed worthwhile, so I did. Then I found out she works for plaintiffs’ lawyers and she tried to get me to write more about drugs (which I don’t do).

      But the message is still true, as you and other professional patients (and expert ones as well) know!

      Pharmacists are a great resource!


  2. Judy must be a very powerful name. I always do what my sister Judy always says as well. There is no arguing with her, she just won’t have it.
    I think I will have to find a pharmacist named Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Julie

    There is very rarely any medicine taken in my house. Serious. A small bottle of Tylenol/Advil hits it’s expiration date before it is gone.


  4. Ha this was funny and so true. I talk to my pharmacist a lot she’s great and very helpful more so then docs ever are. I’m also going towards more natural meds. in the near future if you know what I mean. They’re way safer then prescription meds will ever be, way more effective and with no side effects. It’s legal here too with a docs note. That’s the hard part, docs mostly won’t sign the necessary papers so I have to resort to a Skype consult with a doc that is not my own.


  5. You talked to the right person. Emily is a doctor but relies on the pharmacist for the most accurate and latest information about dosages and interactions.


  6. Yes, pharmacists know what drugs are used to treat what and what meds don’t play well with others. Side note: I thought it was the pharmacy technicians who counted the pills. My mistake, obviously…


  7. I love this one! You are so right, Pharmacists are a great source of information and usually are willing to talk to most of us.


  8. Know what jumped out for me, reading this post? “Put hair on your chest.” My dad would say that anytime we kids hesitated to eat something rude-looking on our dinner plates. As if “hair on the chest” was a good thing and we’d be all, “Oh. Ok then! Let’s eat!”


  9. What a great way to address important issues. I know I’m constantly worried about ice cream/bourbon/drug interactions…


  10. Both my parents are pharmacists ( industrial pharmacists). B.S .Pharmacy is an extremely difficult course. They should know each chemical compound, their chemical reactions, and their efficacies. It’s a 5 year course too. there’s a Pharmacy book here at home. It;s almost pure Chemistry, full of benzene rings, and long chemical compounds.


    • I was honestly surprised — mostly because I never stopped to think about it. I used to ask my doctors all my druggy questions. Not any more!

      Your whole family must be very bright!


  11. While I respect the pharmacists (hey, some of my friends are pharmacists), I personally hope to continue using their services as little as possible. 🙂


  12. lifespaller

    Great post. I’m on first term names with my pharmacist. He likes me became I take interesting drugs and I think it gives him a chance to stretch his brain. This is the upside of disease – I always get great customer service. I thoroughly recommended everyone to asking their pharmacist a difficult question every time they get a script filled.


  13. My maternal grandmother’s family name was ‘Aptekar,’ which means apothecary, and I am descended from a long line of pharmacists. I certainly respect the field! Thanks for an entertaining post, Elyse!


    • Naomi, I’d nearly missed this comment. Sorry! ( Or almost sorry, because I am, in fact, answering it!)

      I’ve read a lot and actually written a lot (professionally) about pharmacists. They are unsung heroes, I think, and they really don’t get enough respect. The majority of people, I think, have no clue just how much they know and how smart they are. Them and their descendants, of course 😊


  14. Paul

    It’s true that pharmacists are very knowledgeable but I can’t always get one to talk to. In most of the busy pharmacies around here the pharmacists are working in back and the clerks take the prescriptions and then the money. In the little pharmacys there always seems to be someone waiting fo the sole phramacist. All of them will encourage the customers to talk but may need an appt to do so. I suppose I should make an appt. I got a new prescription a few weeks ago and the information brochure is written in such small font that I can’t read it even with glasses. Tthere should be a regulation around how small print can be on medication brichures.

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder Elyse. Appreciate it.


    • I find that I get much better service with small pharmacies. My current pharmacist, who works in a very small one, is terrific. He knows his stuff the larger pharmacies have less time. But they’re all incredibly knowledgeable. Like most healthcare workers, they are overworked.

      But healthcare is a combined effort!


  15. Great post. Your pharmacist is your friend. Also, talk to your spouse, child, parent…somebody else needs to know what you are taking. Write it down and leave it in your pill box, or somewhere. I was out of it once and my husband couldn’t tell the nurse what meds I was on. He takes so many, I couldn’t begin to recall his.


    • Absolutely right. I have a great app that lists all my meds and those of my family. It is great. “My medical it’s called

      Thanks for commenting!


  16. Eva

    Also, I want to move to Virginia because there’s no common core in that state.


  17. Eva

    You’ve inspired me to start non – idle chitchat with our pharmacist in town. And it will be about meds that aid in pooping. Yes, I went there and will gladly go back–for poop talk.


  18. I’ve always encouraged patients to talk to pharmacists. They usually know more about drug specifics than the doctors do. Docs may know the most common side effects, but we might not know all the interactions that can occur with other drugs the patient is taking. Pharmacists are an excellent resource, both for outpatients and inpatients. It’s wonderful when a member of the hospital pharmacy staff rounds with the medical team. Very helpful to everyone. Great topic!


    • I honestly was surprised that pharmacists were more than OCD pill counters. I didn’t understand all that they needed to know. It’s fascinating.

      I work with both doctors and pharmacists — their knowledge is truly complimentary.


  19. Too bad Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) doesn’t fall in the same month… THAT would be a fun conversation to have with your doctor or pharmacist!

    Good information!


  20. You can even talk to your pharmacist if you are lonely…


  21. When you say you are a professional patient… Do you mean you just spend a lot of time in the patient role or do you serve as a teaching patient for students?


  22. I love this post, and not just because my dad was a pharmacist. Thanks, Elyse, for talking about medicines.


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