Tuesday, June 14, 2005

First Things First

Let me be clear on this. Nothing in this blog will ever publish contrary to a doctor's recommendation. If the medical community doesn't know the answer, the rest of us can't gripe. Everything medicine has to offer is at our service. Use it. Discuss it, with your medical caregiver if need be, but use it. If you can't discuss it with him or her, get a second opinion!

That said, keep in mind that the MSer is the one who deals with disability day after day. A person in charge of his or her body and future is actually the neurologist's best weapon against the disease. I can assure you that your doctor is learning from each and every one of your visits. That's why they call it a "practice."

An interesting thing happened to me last month. I've been on Detrol for a few years. It helps, but the constipation is debilitating, causing constant bleeding. I follow my doctor's recommendation, taking fiber and using stool softeners, but with little effect. During a gynecological visit, my nurse practitioner prescribed Sanctura. It seems to fight incontinence in a different way. It was instant relief from constipation, but was a lot less effective at first.

I ran through the samples. Now I needed to make a decision. Do I return to Detrol and constipation, or do I give Sactura more time? I submitted the refill to Geroulds Pharmacy. It is standard procedure at Geroulds to offer a printout on any new drugs, or whenever a patient has new questions. The first thing that caught my eye was "Take one hour before or two hours after a meal." Huh? Didn't catch that one before.

Instant relief and instant results. Now I am a happily unconstipated person. My eating schedule, however, is in tatters. Not a small problem for a person subject to hypoglycemia. But First Things First.

The point. Drugs must be properly handled and taken to be effective. This sounds simple, but it isn't easy. There are basic rules to follow to make the drugs work. Read the packet insert carefully, and ask questions. Pharmacists are much more readily available to us than neurologists, who we rarely see, at best.

Here is an excellent recap of the basic rules. Read them, set them aside, then read them again. We have a catastrophic illness. It will take a miracle to cure us. Before we have that miracle, we have our brains, our knowledge of our own bodies, our willpower and our common sense. Use them.

BTW, when it comes to incontinence, you'll want to add sanitary protection to that list. Oh, and a sense of humor. Cultivate a brooooaaad sense of humor. It helps the worse-case scenario when it happens. Do it for your own ego, and to put those around you at ease. We can laugh about it or we can cry about it. I'd much rather laugh, and so would my coworkers. Works for us, anyway.

More about that later. Meantime, visit with one of my favorite links.

Little Pond

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