Saturday, April 23, 2011


My mother, who is now 87, is not on a lot of medication, for someone of 87.

She is on a low dose of aspirin to thin her blood, because she's had a stroke. She's on a low dose of statins to lower her cholesterol. She's on a water tablet to stop her ankles swelling up. And that's it.

Today, suddenly, I noticed that her ankles were hugely swollen.

"So, Mum, have you been taking your water tablets?"

"Errrr no. I don't think I have any."

I looked. She hadn't. She hasn't any statins either. She hasn't had any since - well - January.

I have, from time to time, chased the pharmacist about this. They say it's the doctor's fault.

I have, from time to time, rung the doctor's. They say it's the pharmacist's fault.

Sometimes my mother tries to go and collect her tablets and comes back without any and can't remember why she hasn't got them.

Sometimes I try to collect them from the pharmacist and they say it's the doctor's fault.

The woman from the Memory Clinic says that my mother should have her tablets in a dosset box, all ready counted out, every week, because she can't remember whether she's had them or not.

Memory Clinic Woman said she'd suggested this to the doctor. Actually the person who suggested it first was me. But for some - as yet unexplained - reason, this hasn't happened.

I have had enough. My mother is supposed to be going to Amsterdam with my brother - who has come over to collect her - on Wednesday - but at the moment I rather doubt that she'll go. She will use the hugely swollen ankles as a reason but the real reason is that she no longer feels able to cope with being away from home.

I have had enough. I am sick of getting fobbed off with nonsense about why they haven't got a prescription for my mother and so can't give her any tablets. I am sick of the doctor saying they DID give the pharmacist the prescription.

I have had enough of this grey haze of forgetfulness that my mother is in - it's not so grey or so hazy that she can't live on her own yet, but it is getting that way. And then I don't know what will happen, because of her abject terror of hospitals or anything involving old people.

I have had enough of the fact that whenever I try to discuss any possible plans with her, she just says "Oh, I'll walk into the sea" and that's the end of it. It's not her fault: she hates to think about a time when she can't cope on her own - and who can blame her?

Because I have - as I have mentioned once or twice - had enough, I am going to go into the doctor's on Tuesday and sort it out. And if they say they can't sort it, or that it's the pharmacist's fault, or could I come back tomorrow, or any other such nonsense, I will probably scream the place down.

Because, dear readers, I have had enough.


Anonymous Ruth said...

It's the right time of year for 'Enough'.

At Seder (the start of Jewish Passover, often considered equivalent the Last Supper) there is a song Dayenu (Hebrew for enough). However, dayenu is a positive contemplation of 'what god has done for us' (the us are the children of Israel). It has a thumping good tune with extensive repetition of the word dayenu.

Perhaps you should learn and sing it in the surgery until they submit to your good sense. Repeat prescriptions are stock in trade and not complicated for GPs. As a pharmacist's daughter I'm sure you know they are similarly straight forward for pharmacies. They can even deliver the meds to the patient's home. If your mum's pharmacy doesn't or fails in doing this she should change to a different one. Go sing dayenu in the pharmacy too.

7:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for it Daphne! Been there and done it with my Dad, and the only way is to scream until they listen. I may not be there in body but my spirit will be screaming with you. And I work at a GP practice so I know how it should work, and things can go wrong, but really should be sorted more quickly than that. Good luck to you and your Mum

9:53 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

So frustrating, and dangerous too because it's messing abou with someone's health. Is there another pharmacy you can get the prescriptions delivered to? I had to do that for Keith' perscriptions because Boots constantly got it wrong. Now we have his prescriptions sent to an independent pharmacy which is further away but much more reliable.

10:42 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

As we say over here across the pond, "I hear you" (meaning I agree with the, you should pardon the expression, thrust of what you are saying).

One can only the hope the pharmacist and the physician (or their people) get the message.

We will be back here in Blogland on Tuesday cheering you on.

1:08 pm  
Blogger ¬©Occupied Country said...

I have exactly the same problem with my mother. Get nasty and angry and point out the fact that it may just be an administrative error or whatever but it's actually affecting the health and general day to day wellbeing of anither human being.

If all else fails you may have to use a few pithy put downs.

1:44 pm  
Blogger maggi said...

bon courage D, much love XX

8:13 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just ordered a flip calendar clock for m-i-l in the hope that, coupled with blister-packed tablets, she might remember to take said tablets. Good luck at the doctor's - I wonder if your screams will resonate around the UK. Your struggles resonate with me... that and the grey haze.

10:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the printer at the pharmacy runs out of paper rather frequently, resulting in unprinted prescriptions. This happened at our local hospital: appointments queued to a printer in some far of IT suite weren't printed. It only came to light when virtually no one turned up to the eye surgeon's clinic.

9:55 am  
Anonymous Pharmacy Solicitors said...

You need to find out if the pharmacy are receiving the prescriptions - that will tell you who is at fault. If they are not, what is the doctors surgery doing? If they are then the pharmacy is to blame.

2:22 pm  

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