The Importance of Self-Advocacy (When Mistakes Happen)

I write often about being a self-advocate. When it comes to your medical care, it is vital that you know what in the heck is going on. People make mistakes. That is human nature. No one is perfect. A medical mistake can have dire consequences if no one catches it. As a patient, it is your responsibility to know what your doctor says about your care as well as what your doctor prescribed for you. Every patient should not take every medication. It is super important to know what you are taking and the dose.

Just last week I visited my orthopedic for a follow-up appointment about my hip impingement. Currently, I have pain in my hip caused by a torn labrum (ring of cartilage around the ball of the hip).

I asked him if there was a non-narcotic medication that I could take other than the ibuprofen. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc) doesn’t seem to work as well as it did in the pass. I specifically told him that I did not want a narcotic because I need something I can take during the day. Narcotics make me so sleepy I can’t function. And of course there is always the risk of addiction.

Many addictions begin each year in the US because of uncontrolled pain. It starts as a way to manage pain but often ends up being an even bigger source of pain and misery. I am not against pain medication or narcotics for management pain. However, for myself I choose not to take narcotics for daily pain. After surgery, yes because it is for short-term use. For daily pain management, no.

Gold Pen check

For me the risk outweighs the benefit. Even when my knee pain was at its absolute raging worst, I refused to take narcotics daily even when they were offered to me.

My doctor and I agree on a medication to try that was well suited for me. I didn’t get a paper prescription as most prescription are sent electronically from the doctor’s office directly to a local pharmacy now. An hour or so later I got a text message from my pharmacy stating my prescription was ready. I was involved in a project at that moment so it was a few hours before I picked it up. I picked up my prescription and went home for the evening. Upon opening the bag, I discovered the prescription I received was not the medication we discussed. In fact it was the very type of medication I said I did not want! It was a narcotic prescribed to take 3 times daily. The doctor’s office was now closed for the day so I had to wait until the next morning to call. I left a message on my doctor’s line. A nurse called me back within minutes. I discovered that the physician’s assistant made a mistake when she submitted the prescription. My doctor circled the correct medication on the patient form however it was directly beside the medication that got submitted for me. Mistakes happen. Humans make mistakes every day.

Had I not known what the doctor and I discussed, I could have easily started taking the narcotic 3 times per day. I now have the correct medication. It is taken once daily and works well. Imagine the potential consequences if I took it 3 times per day. Every medication has precautions and side effects. Taking the incorrect dosage is guaranteed way to experience the negative side effects.

Be your own best advocate! When you visit doctor, ask questions and take notes. Make sure you understand what you should do and how you should do it before you leave their office. Your life literally depends on it.

There is a big difference between taking 500 mg and 2000 mg (2 grams). 500 mg versus 2000 mg is 1 pill to 4 pills in most instances!

Pills macro

You need to know what you are taking, the dosage (how much) and frequency (how often). A mistake can happen to anyone, at anytime. Be your own best advocate!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

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Categories : Well-being