Medical Tidbits

Here are some goodies they forget to tell you:

If you’re taking an iron supplement, don’t take it when you eat calcium rich foods or at the same time you take calcium supplements, if you do – the calcium blocks the absorption of the iron.

If you’re taking Prilosec or some other similar daily “maintenance-type” antacid (as opposed to the kind you only take when you want to), if you want to stop taking it you must wean yourself off of it slowly over a couple of weeks, or else you’ll have a kind of acid backlash.

If you’re going in for a blood test or some situation where you’ll get an IV, be sure to tell them your veins roll, and put a little urgency into it – that way they’ll actually pay attention when they’re putting the needle in, and you might avoid some very, very, VERY common bad needle technique problems.

If you’re going in for an outpatient procedure that will require an IV, ask ahead of time for a metal needle instead of the plastic ones that are often used now if you don’t know to ask.

If you’re going to have a stomach tube removed, yes they do just yank it out and yes it does hurt.  Please tell the health care person doing the yanking to do it fast – sometimes they don’t seem to know this and they do it slowly – amazing and horrifying, isn’t it?

Every time you get a prescription, 1) check the pills versus what you are supposed to have and there are no mistakes or unauthorized substitutions and do it before you leave the pharmacy, 2) make sure you know exactly what your instructions are from your doctor and be very specific, especially if there are changes involved or things your should or shouldn’t do about foods, times, etc.  ASK UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING and don’t be afraid – if you’re not getting the info you need, don’t be shy about it – when an avoidable mistake is made, “we’re so sorry” is too late.

Pay attention and ask every time a healthcare person wants to do something to you.  It’s a documented fact and my experience that the vast majority of the time they go on assumptions and don’t check about your personal situation or history, including info on allergies, drugs you should or should not take in your specific situation, or other specifics about you.  It’s your health and your body, and always your decision.  They even have a concept for it that’s both useful, and yet disturbing that it needs to be there at all – it’s called “patient rights” – bottom line, you are the “owner/operator” and the employer and the decision-maker, and they are the advisors.  Also, I can speak from experience that mistakes are, shall we say, not uncommon – and, again, “we’re so sorry” is too late.

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