Dear Annie: As a patient, I know how easy it is to forget to take your medication one day. As a pharmacist, I also know how serious the consequences can be. A recent report finds that one out of seven Americans with chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, are not taking their medications as prescribed.
Sometimes patients neglect to fill or refill a prescription, miss a dose, take an old medication for a new problem, and more. Although these mistakes may seem harmless, they take a toll on patients’ health and on the well-being of our nation’s health care system, costing an estimated $290 billion annually. Pharmacists can help patients understand how medications prevent the progression of disease, reduce complications and contribute to a healthier life.
Please encourage your readers to review the first-ever National Report Card on Adherence at www.ncpanet.org/reportcard, and talk to their doctor or pharmacist if they have questions about taking their prescriptions.
-- B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, chief executive officer of the National Community Pharmacists Association
Dear B. Douglas Hoey: Thank you for reminding our readers of the importance of taking prescription medication as directed. It’s easy to forget, skip a day or think that because you are feeling better you don’t need to finish the dosage. We hope our readers will check out your website and pay closer attention.
Dear Annie: I have been attending meetings of a wonderful craft group each week. Women sit at tables of five to 12 to work on their current projects and chat. It is a lovely way to spend a few hours.
The problem is with a new lady who recently joined our table. She is very nice, and we enjoy her conversation, but her breath is enough to knock me over. I thought the first week that it was simply something she had eaten that day, but the next week was just as bad.
None of us knows her well enough to feel comfortable saying anything. I have considered slipping an anonymous note into her craft bag, but am not sure what it would say. We don’t want to make her feel unwelcome, but sitting next to her is torture. What should I do?
-- Holding My Breath
Dear Holding: Please don’t write an anonymous note. She will feel terrible and worry that every person she sees is the one who wrote it. At your next meeting, bring some breath mints. Put one in your mouth, saying that you get so dry, you worry about your breath, and then offer one to all the other members at your table. (Don’t say, “Would you like one?” Say, “Please take one.”)
It’s also possible the woman has some kind of gastrointestinal disorder or dental problem that makes this a more difficult issue for her. But nonetheless, keeping mints or water handy should help. If not, it would be a kindness to take her aside privately and tell her the truth.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Loveless and Discouraged,” who had cheated on his wife for 20 years and finally made amends and turned his life around. But his wife still won’t have sex with him. I know how he feels.
My wife and I were separated for two years before she agreed to let me come home under certain conditions. I accepted. We sought help in many places, worked hard, cried a lot, accepted a lot and forgave a lot. We decided we wanted to be reunited more than revenge or payback.
We have become joyful, supportive, more understanding and loving. Sex is not resolved — none so far this century. She “doesn’t want to be bothered.” I don’t like that part, but our relationship is otherwise better than ever, and I find it is well worth this particular consequence of my own behavior.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org