Medication Reconciliation – Why it’s important to you

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Medication reconciliation can keep you safe.

Have you heard the term ‘medication reconciliation’? Probably not, it’s an insider’s term within medicine. But it’s an important concept, and I want you to know about it. I want you to ask about it any time you find yourself going into the hospital, going to the emergency department (ED), coming out of the hospital, going into rehab, switching doctors, having any major changes in either your health or who is monitoring your medications.

The term medication reconciliation (abbreviated ‘med rec’) means taking your whole medication list and understanding, how you are taking it and when you are taking. It is about making sure that information goes with you any time you are making a transition. So ideally, at the moment you enter a hospital someone figures out exactly what you take, how you take it, and when you take it. It is awesome if you come with this information. You could carry that information with you and have it ready to share with your health team. It is a huge safety factor in your care. If they know exactly what you take, how you take it, when you take it, they will make much more informed decisions in your care. This is true in the emergency department, the hospital, moving to rehab, moving to assisted living. I applaud the pharmacists who do this well in hospitals, clinics, and other settings around the country.

If you come in with it ready, you have saved them a lot of time and effort. And, you’ve helped assure your own safety. This important information will help guide the next phase when they will make any modification depending on why you are in the health system and what your needs are at that time.

If you’re in the ED or the hospital for a particular reason, there may very well be a need for a new medication to treat the reason you’re there. It is important that any of those changes are communicated all throughout your stay within and beyond the health system.

Formulary

A little caveat that’s important is another important term to understand – formulary. There can be a number of different medicines that do the same thing. We call them medication classes, and each class could have several medications that do the same thing in the same way. Rather than carry every medication on the market, a hospital will carry a few in each category.   It is possible that the one you typically take is not on their formulary. They will switch you while you are in the hospital to one that is on their formulary. The name, color, and size might not look familiar to you. Be sure to ask questions when you don’t recognize your medicine. This is not harmful; it will not put you in danger. Medicines within the same class work the same way as the one your doctor had you on at home. But, it is a source of confusion when you go home or move to another part of the health system. It’s one of the reasons this medication reconciliation process is so important.

It is critical that you know that another medication, similar to the one you take at home, is being used in the hospital. You want, when you go home, to be switched back to the medicine you came in on, the one that was prescribed by your own primary care provider.

Many, many patients have run into difficulty when they go home on the medication the hospital gave them and they continue to take the one they have at home. This is called duplication of therapy. You are getting twice the amount you need – you have the one you have at home and the on the hospital gave you that do the exact same thing. So, using blood pressure as an example, if you are taking the medicine you have at home plus the one in the same class that you got in the hospital, you could lower your blood pressure too much. You want to avoid duplication of therapy; be sure for that class of medicine you are on just one.

Be sure to ask at the hospital if you can go back on the one you were familiar with at home that does the same thing as the one you got while in the hospital.

It is important that several people know exactly the medicines you take when you go back home or get to your next destination. You are one of them, of course. It is also important that anyone involved in your care such as your spouse, child, or caregiver involved in your care; your primary care doctor; any specialists; and your pharmacist know exactly how your medications have changed while you were in the hospital.

It is important that any intermediate step before you go home, such as rehabilitation, knows your entire current medication regimen. But, it is most important that you understand exactly what to take when you get home.

Medication changes while you’re in the hospital

What if problems related to your medication led to you going to the hospital? That is very often the case. Then, the medicines that led to your admission will be stopped or changed. If the problem that took you to the hospital was something new, then it’s likely that new medicines were added to your regimen. Again, it is important that you know what changes were made, why they were made, and exactly what you should do when you get back home. Ideally, ask your questions while you’re in the hospital, but if you get home and have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out for answers.

Medication reconciliation is something we often do at Meds MASH. People get home and realize they don’t really understand what they are to do. They have a list from the hospital, a list from rehab, and their home list. They wonder if anyone has looked at all of the medicines – the old ones, the new ones, and some from other doctors.   At Meds MASH we look at all of the medicines and make sure they are all safe together. We catch those duplications and clear them up with your doctors. One of the things we will do, with your permission, is get information from all of your doctors and from the hospital and pull it all together. Then, after the thorough analysis, any changes will come from your primary care doctor who is the gatekeeper and the one person responsible for all of your medicines.

Three doctors recently wrote an important article about the need for accurate medication reconciliation. And they note that this process must be thorough to be meaningful. Several partial versions have been tried, and if it isn’t complete, it’s not helpful. It’s not going to keep people safe if it is not done right.

If a thorough medication reconciliation can keep you safe and healthy, please contact us at Meds MASH at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

This Biblical application might feel a little less associated with the health part. With medication reconciliation we are talking about making sure all of the information related to medication use is clearly communicated. If it is not done completely it isn’t effective. What about our compassion and how we reach out to others? How complete and effective are we?

Something has been weighing very heavy on my mind in the last week. It is the decisions we make about where our compassion lies. Who we can forgive and who we can’t. How do we spend our money and give our support and where we do we not? The thought that has been raised in my mind is – when we know someone is in need, and we do not know their sins, it seems to me it is easier to reach out and provide support for those needs. The example that got me thinking this is the refugee crisis. When you know there are millions of people who have been displaced, a lot of people have compassion for that and for their circumstances. What can we do to help those people and their dire circumstances?

The other things that made me think of this were more local. What are the needs of people who are making choices that are leading them to being in dire circumstances? It might be behavioral and lifestyle choices; it might be financial management choices; it could be self-care choices that lead them to circumstances where their life is not as secure as it might be. Their difficult circumstances are a ramification of lifestyle and self-satisfaction choices they have made.

I am connected to a place right now that serves the LGBTQ community and the HIV population. Some Christians find it easy to be very judgmental of this population and not share their compassion in this direction. Rather, they choose to share their compassion in other circumstances where the reasons and the choices are less known. Is this what Christ calls us to do? Are we called to show compassion or walk away?

Consider the story of the woman caught in adultery in Luke Chapter 8.

Luke 8:1-11 MSG

 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Her choices were well known, and she was being very degraded. She was called before the council having been caught in the act.   The council members were ready to stone her. Jesus said those without sin could cast the first stone. We are so quick to categorize sins, but it doesn’t seem Jesus categorizes sins. What are we called to do as Christians? I am struggling with this and I’m challenging others to struggle with this, too. This is not a blog with answers. It is a blog with challenging questions. I would love to hear what people think.

Luke 6:37 ESV

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

It has become clear to me as a practitioner that sex as defined in the Bible, as designed by God does not lead to trauma, whether emotional or physical, and it does not lead to disease transmission or to promiscuity.

But in society, especially in the current waive of rules avoidance and focus on self, sex is being used in a lot of other ways. When used outside the way described by God, it does lead to a lot of issues. We create our own problems when we are outside this definition.

Another example heavy on my mind is substance abuse. The numbers of people caught in addiction and dying of overdose are astounding. This is a tragedy of great proportion! Yet the local rescue mission is struggling to stay funded. People who have been caught up in abuse and addiction who are now reaching out for help to leave that lifestyle are encountering limited spots available for rehabilitation. Yet Christians are looking for meaningful outreach and missions opportunities.

I am in full support of refugee aid, international response to crisis, local response to crisis, support of children in underserved areas, teens on mission trips, college students on mission trips, medical missions, and so much more. In addition to all of this wonderful outreach, I encourage us to search our hearts and God’s leading for our attitudes about reaching those in circumstances in our own community that are harming them.

I propose when we limit our compassion or draw a line for how we will consider using our resources, it is similar to an incomplete medication review.  Completeness and effectiveness are limited.

James 4:12 ESV

There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

What is your response?

Blessings,

Michelle

 

 

 

 

Fear of Failure, Hidden Truths, and Your Health

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Fear and hidden truths are bad for your health.  There is GOOD news!

This is a major religious holiday week for two of the most prevalent religions in the world – Judaism and Christianity. Jews are commemorating the Passover and God’s leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Over the following 40 years they were in the desert on the way to the promised land with delays due to disobedience. Their mistakes and wayward decisions had many consequences.

The Jews were enslaved and mistreated by the people of Egypt. They then were ungrateful and easily distracted from the miracle of their deliverance. They continued to make mistakes.

Christians are celebrating Easter, the risen Christ after a brutal betrayal and death 3 days earlier.

The people who celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem were the same ones who cried ‘Crucify Him’ a few days later. And even after this supreme sacrifice, Christians continue to sin. We continue to sin, make mistakes, and get absorbed in ourselves.

So, it wasn’t just the people in Biblical times that made mistakes. We ALL continue to do that every day. How do you handle your mistakes? How do you handle the things you choose to do that you later regret? How do you handle the things that are done to you that hurt you?

Fear of Failure

I have known many people who are afraid of failing. Often, they are even more afraid of anyone finding out that they failed. There seem to be two extremes of ways to handle this fear.

#1 – Avoid any situation that could result in failure. Do you shy away from any risk? Do you avoid variation in your life and avoid all opportunities since you aren’t guaranteed success? How deep does this fear run? Do you eat the same meals repeatedly rather than try something new? Do you keep the same schedule to minimize an unexpected situation?

#2 – Hide any hint of failure. Do you take some risks but hide or deny anything that goes wrong? Do you maintain the illusion of perfection? Do you push away people who might get close enough to see your weaknesses?

Fear of failure is a prime source of anxiety. The fear is so intense just the thought of taking a risk provokes stress, rapid heart rate, sweating, feelings of overwhelm.

Fear of failure can lead to depression due to self-selected isolation. Or, if you hide and deny your failures, you can get caught in a web of lies that gets beyond your control.

Hidden Truths

I don’t want to count the number of people I’ve talked with who have a sad secret hurt from their past. These hurts changed their lives. They are terrible things like abuse, rape, molestation, abandonment, or neglect. They have ‘dealt’ with these issues by trying to deny they happened. Or, they have been told by family to keep quiet and never talk about it. Other times the hidden truths are of marital affairs, lost jobs, drug abuse, or heavy drinking.

Whatever the hidden truth, there is no denying the impact. Our conscience knows and doesn’t forget.

Like before, if you keep it hidden, suppressed, and don’t release it, all of that pain comes out another way. I have known so many people with chronic pain that was related to these hidden truths. Others suffered from anxiety and/or depression. There was an ever-present fear and ‘dark cloud’ in their life.

Counseling and Medication

Many people choose to ‘treat’ these fears and hidden truths with medication. Sometimes it is with prescribed medication such as antianxiety or antidepressant medications. Other people choose to self-treat with alcohol, marijuana, or other substances.

The medication can help in many instances. In others, it just dulls the thinking. The memories, the guilt, or the hurt isn’t as sharp when under the influence of the medication or other substance.

Your life is meant to be lived fully aware and present. You miss out on so much when you aren’t engaged in your life.

That is very often where counseling comes in. These fears and hidden truths need to be released. Counseling, clinical or faith based, can be that outlet to help you really deal with these hurts, mistakes, or ongoing issues. Through counseling you can confront these items, face them, learn to process them, and then learn to live beyond them. (Note, I am not suggesting your hurts, fears, and pain are not real. I am not suggesting you will just walk away and forget them. I am suggesting you can benefit from counseling +/- medication.)

This is one of those areas that can’t be ‘fixed by a pill.’ The medication can help, but it is unlikely to actually resolve the problems. A trusted, skilled counselor can help you get back to really living.

To learn more about the role of medication and for help finding a good counselor, contact us at Meds MASH, LLC at www.medsmash.com/contact or 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Christ is risen!!!!!! He is alive and active and so very present in our world today.

I am writing this on Easter. It is such a beautiful day. Not only is it warm and sunny outside, but what an amazing day to reflect and let is sink down deep that Jesus went through the worst people can do to other people all because of his love for me, for you, for all of us!

He put himself in the situation to endure physical pain in the extreme over many hours, rejection, slander, betrayal, humiliation, abuse, and complete degradation. I don’t know about you, but I fear ANY of those things. I can’t imagine purposefully enduring any of that.

I am the sinner for whom he died. I am the sinner – each and every day – who he loves and forgives over and over and over and over…

James 4:17 ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Romans 8:1 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I can’t deny it. I might try to pretend to avoid sin, but you know better. We ALL sin, in spite of our best efforts to not. You are not perfect. I am not perfect. Only Christ was ever on earth as a perfect human.

Let’s get real with each other. Let’s be honest and support each other through the mess of life. We all have our joyful, peaceful times. We all have our dark, difficult times.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Hebrews 10:25 ESV

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

My purpose today is to encourage you to celebrate your new life in Christ! He is alive and loving you right this moment. Claim your new life in Christ. Open up to your Christian friends, teachers, and supports. Live the on-purpose, fully alive life Christ died to give you.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

If your story includes fear of failure, fear of risks, or any of a multitude of hidden truths, Christ died for you. You can live beyond the worst this world can give you. You are loved. You are not alone. An eternity of joy and peace and love awaits you!

Blessings,

Michelle

board certified geriatric pharmacist

Why would you benefit from a board certified geriatric pharmacist?

board certified geriatric pharmacist
How Meds MASH promoted safe, healthy, active living

I started a company that I call Meds MASH in 2015. I am a board certified geriatric pharmacist. That means I specialize in medication use in people over the age of 60.

What Meds MASH doesn’t do for you:

  • Fill your prescription
    • Your local pharmacist will do this
  • Change any of your prescription medications
    • I will make suggestions to your doctors or help you discuss them with your doctor
  • Take over your healthcare
    • You will keep your doctors who will lead your healthcare

What Meds MASH will do for you:

  • Talk with you to find out what are your health and life goals
  • Review all of your medications
    • Prescribed
    • Over-the-counter
    • Vitamins
    • Supplements
    • Herbal remedies
    • Any other substances
  • Obtain your medication history
  • Review your labs to check for medication safety
    • Kidney function
    • Liver function
    • Medical condition control
    • Side effects
  • Review your medicines compared with your allergies
  • Evaluate in-depth for risks of falling
  • Review for some common issues that are often missed
  • Make sure you understand each of your medications and how to best take them
  • Take time and answer your questions
  • Provide you with detailed information you can review later and share with your doctor
  • Talk direct with your doctors at your request and authorization
  • Engage your family at your request and authorization

Does Meds MASH make a difference? On average in an initial review- 

  • We make 4.5 interventions
  • A recommendation is made to improve two medications
  • A recommendation is made to change a medication for 82% of clients
  • Over 98% of the time a significant suggestion about medication is made!

Questions frequently asked

Doesn’t my doctor already do this?

  • Rarely does your doctor know absolutely every medication you take and how you actually take it.
    • Meds MASH specializes in obtaining this before reviewing the medications.
  • Only a small percentage of people over 60 have a doctor board certified in geriatrics.
    • Meds MASH provides a board certified geriatric expert.
  • Most people have 7-15 minutes with their doctor.
    • Most Meds MASH initial visits are 45 minutes.
  • Rarely are people fully prepared for their doctor visit.
    • Part of a Meds MASH review includes specific strategies to get the most out of each medical visit with your doctors.

Doesn’t my pharmacist already review all of my medications?

  • Rarely does your pharmacist know all of the medications you take.
    • They know the prescriptions only, even if you only use one pharmacy.
      • You absolutely should use only one pharmacy!
    • Your pharmacist has a limited time to carefully review your medicines.
    • There are not many geriatric board certified pharmacists in the country.

Contact us today for a free consultation! Meds MASH 410-472-5078 or e-mail michelle@medsmash.com or on the website www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

There is a lot of talk about and emphasis on being ‘transparent’ today in our society. It has taken me months to clearly, succinctly state what we do at Meds MASH. I am still honing the message so that it really makes sense to people. We need to be able to put things in someone’s own perspective to help them really understand.

If an alien from Mars came to visit and talked to you about places, customs, and politics on Mars, it is unlikely you would understand very much of it. You would have no perspective of how things look or operate on that planet.

I had this same thought this week as I was reading the Psalms, especially the ones written by David. David was the king. He was responsible for all of the people. His perspectives were oriented around keeping people safe and alive.

He frequently talks about enemies and God’s protection in wars. I’m sure they were attacked, or at risk of being attacked, most of the time. God made it clear that when the people of Israel went into battle with God’s protection, then they would prevail.

Deuteronomy 28:7 ESV

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

When they went into battle on their own, the outcomes were not so good.

Numbers 14:39-45 ESV

Israel Defeated in Battle

When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly.  And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.”  But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the Lord, when that will not succeed?  Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies.  For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”  But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed out of the camp.  Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.

Our personal battles aren’t with swords, but they are still battles. And if God is for us and leading us, then our outcomes are infinitely better than when we do battle on our own without Him.

David also makes frequently reference to rain, crops, vineyards, and grain. We don’t tend to spend our days focused on those things. Our grocery stores and markets are filled with all we need.

But what are the daily struggles in your life that mean just as much to you as ability to grow crops meant in David’s time? Is it your finances, your job, career opportunities, relationships, finding your meaning in life? Our daily struggles are no less important that David’s. Our world and our perspectives are just different.

So, whatever your battles, lay them before the Lord. Honestly lay it all out there. Be completely transparent and clear in your requests before God. He already knows. He loves the trust you place in Him as you bring it all to Him.

Psalm 71:14-17 ESV

But I will hope continually

    and will praise you yet more and more.

My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,

    of your deeds of salvation all the day,

    for their number is past my knowledge.

With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;

    I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.

O God, from my youth you have taught me,

    and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

If you’re ever at a loss for what to pray, consider the Psalms. They are the prayers and songs of praise of David. Put it in today’s perspective, and you’ll find they are completely relevant to your needs today.

Blessings,

Michelle

Newer diabetes options

Are You TOO Sweet? Newer Options for Diabetes

Newer diabetes options
Newer diabetes medications to consider if you’re too sweet.

Do you remember when the treatment options for your type 2 diabetes were medicines that could make your blood sugar too low – oral medicine or insulin? The available options would also make you gain weight.

Those treatments are still available, and now there are improved versions of each. So, if you and your doctor and your healthcare team haven’t talked about options recently, now might be the time. The experts in the field, using the information from the latest studies, release guidelines. The latest guidelines from the American Diabetes Association have tables that provide comparisons between the options. These tables make a nice display to help you have a conversation with your doctor about which options might work best for you.

Those early medication options mentioned before would either help your pancreas release more insulin or would be an extra source of insulin.

Newer diabetes medication options

Here are ways other, newer medicines help control your diabetes:

  • control how your liver stores extra glucose (sugar) and when and how it lets it back out
  • control how your kidneys let your glucose out in your urine
  • impact how sugar is absorbed from the food you eat
  • mimic hormones that control how your body responds to sugar and insulin
  • slow down the rate food moves through your body keeping you feeling full longer
  • increasing how a cell responds to insulin

The body has many different steps in the way it handles the food you eat and how that food is turned from sugar into energy for your cells. Now, with these newer options, your diabetes can be treated with medicines that address more than one of those steps.

Combinations of medications can help control your diabetes more than one way at a time. Also, when you use combinations of medicines, you can usually use a lower dose. This helps cut down on side effects.

New insulin options

If a combination of medicines you take by mouth don’t help you reach your diabetes control goals, there are new insulins. The old insulins were dosed either around meals or twice a day. There are now basal insulins. These are dosed just once per day. They then provide some support to control your blood sugar all day and all night. Then, when you eat, your blood sugar does not climb as high.

Often, people who have been taking higher and higher doses of oral medicines find they can be on lower doses. The basal insulin helps decrease the need for so much oral medicine.

And, like we said before, using several different medicines helps you use lower doses of each. This is often easier to tolerate than high doses of one or two medicines.

NOTE, this information is all for type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1 you need insulin therapy only because your pancreas has quit working. The insulin is absolutely required. The oral medicines mentioned above won’t control your diabetes.

We have much more we can tell you about diabetes and treatment options. For more information, please contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact or call at 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Diabetes (and other medical conditions) can be best treated with medication using different mechanisms. Treat different parts of the condition from all directions for the most comprehensive care.

I have been embarking on some new (to me) techniques for Bible study. Wow, there are so many ideas and methods out there! I am intrigued by all of the different ways we can approach the same scripture. And, as only God could do, I learn something different every time. Part of the reason I keep learning new things from the same scripture is that I am different every time I read it. The things happening in my life, the things that are exciting me, the things that are concerning me, the things happening with my friends and family are different. This changes my perspective. Also, my moods change. That can definitely impact how I approach anything I read or hear.

Then, there are all of these techniques and approaches I have been reading about. Some are obvious, and some, to me, seem really innovative. Here are some that I have been trying to incorporate:

  • When reading a small bit of scripture, read it over and over emphasizing a different word each time to see how that changes the meaning.
  • Research the history at the time it was written. Historical context helps to understand the culture and surrounding events.
  • Write down in a journal (or I write in the margins) insights, events, or ideas you get from that verse or chapter. (Date it so you can see it later. Often I find it strikes me a completely different way the next time I read it because I’m in a different frame of mind in different circumstances.)
  • Consider how the scripture you’re reading could be incorporated into your life today.
    • Sometimes this is an action, sometimes an new idea, sometimes a reflection on how great is our God, sometimes a prayer, sometimes a question to ponder.
  • Put yourself in the scripture. Try to imagine being there at that time. How did it probably look, sound, feel. How might you have gotten there? What are you probably wearing? Who else is there?
  • Read about the author of that chapter of the Bible. What do we know about that person? What was their perspective?
    • I like the Life Application Bible. It has information at the start of each chapter to start answering these questions. It has helped me dig a lot deeper and understand more concepts. There are application tidbits on each page.
  • Where else is this theme, story, or concept in the Bible?
  • Listen to the Bible being read to you. There are many online apps that include an audio version. Especially if you like to learn through hearing, this is a great method.
  • Read the same scripture as a friend and talk about it. Or better yet, talk about it in a Bible study group. I am always amazed at how we can read the very same thing and have completely different insights.

No doubt, there are many more.

God gave us his Word to be an integral part of our life.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

God’s Word can be a huge source of answers when you’re feeling lost, alone, hurt, confused.

Psalm 119:105 ESV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

There’s not just one right way to study scripture. Like a combination of meds approach to diabetes, try a combination approach to reading your Bible.

Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG

 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

My prayer is you’ll find it exciting and refreshing to try all sorts of new ways to get into your Bible. There is a never-ending amount of great information in there. It is always pertinent.

Blessings,

Michelle

Memory, Falls, and Function – Oh Meds!

ID-10093880
Medications can make function difficult and lead to memory and falls issues.

If your memory is slipping, do you have dementia? If you fall are you just clumsy? If you need help doing some of your daily tasks, are you just lazy? Or, are these things just a normal part of aging?

I suggest that MANY TIMES, these memory and falls changes are because of medication. Medications can cause these types of issues in a few different ways:

  1. The dose is too high for you.
  2. Your body has trouble getting rid of that medication.
  3. You are on several medications with these types of effects.
  4. Your medications are interacting with each other.
  5. Your medications are interacting with your diet or your other medical conditions.

Medications and Memory and Falls

There are several types of medicines that can fog your thinking. They relax you, make you sleepy, and/or slow your thinking processes. Sometimes you use them for this effect. But know, in making you feel that way, they make it harder to think as quickly and clearly as you normally think.

And by slowing your thinking and response time, they increase your risk of falling, too.

It would be a very long blog to list them all. So, here are some of the more common culprits to impair memory and falls.

  • Anxiety/nerve medications
    • Benzodiazepines (e.g. alprazolam, lorazepam, diazepam)
    • Buspirone (Buspar)
  • Depression medications
    • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline, nortriptyline)
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) (e.g. escitalopram, sertraline, fluoxeting)
    • Wellbutrin
    • Buspirone
  • Sleep medications
    • Zolpidem (Ambien)
    • Ramelteon (Rozerem)
    • Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
    • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Aleve PM)
  • Pain medications
    • Oxycodone
    • Hydrocodone
    • Morphine
    • Hydromorphone
    • Tramadol
  • Anticholinergic medications
    • Incontinence
      • Oxybutynin
      • Darifenacin (Enablex)
      • Solfenacin (Vesicare)
      • Trospium (Sanctura)
      • Tolterodine (Detrol)
    • Parkinson’s Disease (e.g. benztropine, trihexyphenydil)
    • Allergy medications – sedating
      • Diphenhydramine (brand Benadryl)
      • Chlorpheniramine
      • Hydroxyzine
    • Antispasmodic agents (e.g. chlordiazepoxide, belladonna)
    • Diarrhea treatments
    • Muscle relaxants (e.g. cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine)
    • Dizziness, sea sickness medication (e.g. meclizine, scopolamine)
    • Nausea/vomiting medication (e.g. prochlorperazine, promethazine)
    • Antipsychotic (e.g. thioridazine, chlorpromazine, clozapine, olanzapine)
  • Seizure medication
    • Carbamazepine
    • Valproic acid
    • Several others
  • Nerve pain medication
    • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
    • Pregabalin (Lyrica)

Medications and Function

I have worked with many people who were planning to move to assisted living. They just couldn’t do some of the daily tasks they had done before. These tasks might be cleaning, keeping up with finances, remembering to take medicines, or ability to cook healthy meals.

In many cases, some medication adjustments made a big difference. Assisted living could be delayed.

How do you decrease your risk?

Please NEVER change any medications without first checking with your doctor.

If you take medication that you think could be impacting your clear thinking or make you feel unsteady, talk with your doctor.

If the types of medications mentioned in the blog are going to be changed, make the changes one at a time gradually. Fast changes can be dangerous. Making too many changes at once can make it hard to determine which change works and which doesn’t. So, making these changes should be a slow, careful process.

If you want help –

  • talking with your doctors,
  • coordinating between your doctors, or
  • want to better understand this information

please call us at 410-472-5078 or e-mail at michelle@medsmash.com.

Our website is www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

One of the key ways to prevent falls, medication-induced memory issues, and functional decline is to make sure your primary care physician knows exactly what medications you take and how you take them. Other physicians might contribute to your regimen, but your primary care physician is one who can analyze and control it all.

Similarly, Jesus is your primary spiritual care provider. You have a pastor, teachers, books, TV evangelists, friends, family, and more who contribute to your spiritual care. But, it is Jesus who is at the center.

The best-intentioned specialist medical provider can make a harmful decision because he/she is treating the specialty and less familiar with all of the other aspects of your care.

Similarly, the best-intentioned teacher/friend/colleague can distort the truth of Jesus. This is rarely done intentionally. We can all make mistakes, misinterpret, or be misled.

So, rather than take any teaching by a human at face value, compare it to the TRUTH of God’s Word, the Bible.

John recorded Jesus referring to God’s truth:

John 16:13 ESV

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 17:17 ESV

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

Truth is not something we acquire passively. Just listening to your pastor on Sunday or listening to programs on the radio or TV won’t help you fully understand the truth. Your own reading and studying will give God a chance to talk to you directly. That private time in the Bible can help you recognize truths, understand information, and apply information in a very personal way.

Let your personal Primary Care Spiritual Physician, Jesus Christ, be your primary source of truth. Compare all other teaching to this truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Blessings,

Michelle

Falls – Steps you can take now to prevent them

fallenman
Be proactive to prevent falls that could change your future.

I have been talking with a lot of groups and individuals about ways to prevent falls. Falls come out of nowhere most of the time. You don’t even think about them until they happen.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 2.8 million older adults seen in the emergency department for falls every year! Yes, 2.8 million!!!   And these are not always the obvious people who can just look at and tell they could easily fall. Many would consider themselves health, active, and not at risk.

You CAN determine your risks and take action now to lower them.

So, how do you determine if you have this falls risk?

The Center for Disease Control tackled that question and developed the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries. They created a toolkit with several resources. Some of the resources are for your doctor or other healthcare provider. Others are for YOU to help find and minimize your personal risks.

You can find access to these tools on our Meds MASH website. Or you can follow this link: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. You will find information about falls, how often they happen, and many of the risk factors. You will also find tools to help you assess yourself and your home.

I especially encourage you to complete the Check for Safety checklist. It has you walk room to room through your house looking for specific risk factors. It also has several tips to help you avoid falls.

Next, I encourage you to complete the Stay Independent checklist. This will ask you a series of 12 questions. You will answer each with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. Then, take this list with you to your next doctor’s appointment. This will help you to have a very focused talk with your doctor about ways to minimize your falls risk.

Finally, read the What You Can Do to Prevent Falls brochure. This will give you even more tips to help you avoid a fall.

What can you do to lower your falls risk?

There are four different assessments in the toolkit that your doctor can use to better understand how to help you decrease your risks. One of these you can do yourself.

It is called a Chair Rise Exercise. It can help you gain strength in your thighs and buttocks. This will help you be more stable when you walk. Here are the instructions from the CDC STEADI guide:

How to do it: 

  1. Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair with your knees bent & feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Rest your hands lightly on the seat on either side of you, keeping your back & neck straight & chest slightly forward.
  3. Breathe in slowly. Lean forward & feel your weight on the front of your feet.
  4. Breathe out & slowly stand up, using your hands as little as possible.
  5. Pause for a full breath in & out.
  6. Breathe in as you slowly sit down. Do not let yourself collapse back down into the chair. Rather, control your lowering as much as possible.
  7. Breathe out.

What about medications?

There are so many medications that can increase your risk for falls. That’s one of our specialties at Meds MASH. We can take a thorough look at all of your prescribed medicines, your over-the-counter medicines, your vitamins, your herbal medicines, and any other substances. Even the doses you take, your kidney function, and your liver function will be assessed. We will also look at the timing of your medicines and your diet. All of these things work together to impact your falls risk.

For more information contact us at www.medsmash.com and 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

One of the best ways to avoid falls is to know your risks and take steps to minimize them. You need to do some work, and usually get some professional input, to fully analyze those risks. Then, it takes personal motivation to do the exercises, change the shoes, use the assistive device, or work with your healthcare team to make the medication changes to lower your risks.

What are your risks to fall off the path of Christ? I’m thinking of the parable of the seeds found in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:8 NLT

Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

How do we avoid the thorns, the rocks, the birds, the hot sun, and the shallow soil that kept the other seeds from growing?

Jesus explains the parable later in the chapter.

Matthew 13:23 NLT

The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

God’s Word and the value of our studying, understanding, and applying it are found throughout the Bible. It is throughout the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs, Psalms, and throughout the New Testament.

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

Isaiah 40:8 ESV

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Psalm 119:105 ESV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John 14:21 MSG

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”

What is your grasp of the Word of God? If that is the key to ‘letting our seed grow’, what is your growing potential? I know I have rocks and thorns and birds that try to snatch my seeds away in my life.

It takes motivation and discipline to stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. It takes discussion and study with others to really understand it from varying perspectives. And, it takes talking about it with other people to apply it.

People, instructors, pastors, mature Christians can help you gain the self-insight needed to really determine where your stumbling blocks are. Sharing and accountability help us stay focused and commit to the spiritual exercise, assistive devices, and work required to maintain ‘fertile soil.’

Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

Blessed is the man

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

    nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree

    planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

    and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Break the Circle of Self

Depression, Pain, Anxiety – the Circle of Self

Break the Circle of Self
The Circle of Self can lead you into a dark self-absorbed place with pain, depression, and anxiety.

I was teaching health profession students this week about mental health and pain. The Circle of Self was a good visual way to capture a current phenomenon. One of the very important things we talked about was the LIMITS of MEDICATION! The students were very insightful about the reasons so many people are struggling with depression, anxiety, and pain. And, the more we talked, the more it made sense that this is a common pattern.

STRESS

We made a list of reasons why the incidence of depression, pain, and anxiety are so common. I would love to hear what you would add to this list. Current themes in our society that contribute are:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Decreased coping skills
  • Social media – most posts are either deceptively positive to look good or very negative
  • News, especially so much bad news
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Expectation of instant gratification
  • Reliance of medications or techniques to ‘just fix it’

THE CIRCLE OF SELF

When someone experiences depression, anxiety, and/or pain, several things tend to happen:

  • Less movement – more sitting or lying around
  • Decreased social activities – stay home more, reject offers to get out
  • Nod off or purposefully take a nap during the day
  • Have interrupted sleep at night
  • Experience pain – either pain when there was none or worsening pain

These changes lead to more and more focus on self. How do I feel? What is happening to me? Why me? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I sleep? Why can’t I get motivated? Woe is me…

This common pattern of self can also impact heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.

The role of SLEEP

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. As we age, more and more things seem to interrupt this sleep. You might need to go to the bathroom more often during the night.   Pain can wake you up or keep you awake. Napping during the day can mess with your nighttime sleep.

Too little sleep can increase your risk of depression. It can also make your recovery from depression most difficulty.

Too little sleep can limit your ability to manage with pain. Pain can feel worse, be more frustrating, and limit your activities more when you’re extra tired. Also, the more you hurt, the hard it is to sleep, and a vicious cycle is started.

The role of MEDICATION

Low amounts of key neurotransmitters in the brain can lead to depression and/or anxiety. There are medications that can help increase the amounts of those neurotransmitters. Note, this process takes about 8 weeks, so starting medicine doesn’t make you feel better right away. Usually your energy gets better before your depressed or anxious thoughts.

In the studies that showed that these medications can help, counseling was also a key part of therapy. The medications by themselves don’t help as much as they do when you also have counseling. It is the counseling that can help you find some different ways to think, stop the negative thoughts, and help you focus on more positive aspects of your life.

For pain, some medications block some of the pain signals going between the site of the pain and your brain. Others decrease the intensity of those signals. The pain medication should match the type and intensity of the pain. This means the same pain medication is not the best option for all types of pain. There have been huge issues in our society of overuse of pain medicine, especially opiate medications. These have a role in some types of pain. Once the pain starts to decline, the medication should be decreased and stopped. In another blog, I’ll review all of the many types of pain medications and when/how to use each.

Breaking the Cycle

Breaking the circle of self
Think of others to break the circle of self.

Medications are part of breaking the cycle for many people. Note, medication is often helpful to start the process. It might not be needed long term. Ask you doctor about how long it will be helpful for you.

Counseling is part of breaking the cycle. Learning to change your thinking patterns is key. Having support is also key.

Then, I want to share something that has repeatedly been shown to effectively break this cycle. Do something for someone else! Focus on self leads into the negative circle that gets tighter and tighter, isolating you from others. To purposefully think about others can help you out of this dark place. Call to check on a friend. Help someone with a project. Visit an older relative or friend. Take a meal to a new parent or someone who is sick. Make a donation. Write a letter to a soldier. Plan a special outing with a friend. Join a club that works on a social issue.

There are many options! The point is to find someone else you can think about and help. Distraction is helpful for pain tolerance, anxiety reduction, and depression treatment. Thinking about someone else helps you out of the dark focus on self.

For more information about breaking the circle of self, contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact or 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

I believe the circle of self can and does impact all of us. It is one of Satan’s best weapons. How distracted do you get when you are in pain? How about when you are feeling down or anxious? Even a common cold can be very distracting. And, once you are distracted, how hard is it to pull back out of the negative cycle?

Peter encourages us to recognize all of this and to learn to think more like Jesus.

1 Peter 4:1-2 MSG

Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.

In these complex times, we are bombarded with information that can keep us stressed, anxious, and/or depressed. Paul tells us to not focus on these things. He encourages us to focus instead on what comes next. How much time do you spend thinking about your future in Heaven?

2 Corinthians 4:14-18 MSG

 We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Thinking about others, loving others as much and in ways we love ourselves, and putting others before ourselves are common themes in the Bible.

Philippians 2:3 ESV

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Romans 12:10 ESV

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

1 Peter 3:8 ESV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

I’m praying we can all keep our focus outside of ourselves. Love others and keep your eyes on the future – eternity in Heaven!

Blessings,

Michelle

Problem Medications sending people to the ER

emergency
Don’t let problem medications send you to the emergency room

Problem medications are leading to an increasing number of emergency department visits. And more and more of those are ending up being admitted to the hospital. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2016 revealed these findings. The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.

For every 1,000 emergency department visits, four are for people over the age of 65 with problem medications. In the last decade the number of people going to the emergency departments with problems with their medicines has gone up at least 10%.

The types of medications most often involved are opioid pain medicines, diabetes medicines that lower the blood sugar, blood thinners (anticoagulants), and antibiotics. There is still a significant use of medicines that have been long-recognized as a poor choice in people over 65. [I am still seeing that in my patients as well. Pain medication, anxiety and mood therapy, and anticholinergic (drying) medication use have been issues in nearly all of my referrals in the past 2 months.]

Why are there more medication-related emergency visits?

Part of the reason for this increase in emergencies could be the growing number of people over 65. But, that can’t be the only explanation.

Speed – Healthcare is moving and being provided at a very fast pace. The time your doctor gets to spend with you is very limited. Often the reason for your visit takes all of the time. This doesn’t allow for a thorough review of all of the rest of your health and your medicines.

Fragmentation – Your doctors, pharmacists, nurses, therapists don’t have enough time to talk to each other. When one doctor doesn’t know what the other one is doing, problem medications can be prescribed.

Incomplete information – Your doctors don’t often know what you REALLY do at home with your medicine. I have identified thousands of instances where medication is taken differently than prescribed. This can be for many reasons. Sometimes medications are stopped without telling the doctor. Sometimes extra doses are taken. Sometimes medications get confused such that each is taken incorrectly. Other times vitamins, herbal supplements, over-the-counter medications, and other substances are taken without the knowledge of the doctor or pharmacist. These are just a few of the examples of how medication can be different than what your doctor thinks it is.

Specialized knowledge – Only a small percentage of people aged 65 plus receives care from a specialist in healthcare for people in this age group. There are not nearly enough geriatricians and board certified geriatric pharmacists to oversee the prescribing for these adults.

Don’t let this statistic apply to you

What can you do to avoid being one of these people in the emergency department because of problem medications?

First, make sure your doctors (all of them) and your pharmacist know absolutely EVERY medication you take AND how you actually take them.

Second, ask your primary care doctor AND your pharmacist to carefully review all of those medications for:

  • Interactions
  • Lowest possible doses
  • Continued need for each medication
  • Safer options available
  • Removal/replacement of any medication known to be problem medications in people over 65
  • Assurance each is working as planned

Third, contact the board certified geriatric pharmacist at Meds MASH for a thorough medication review today. All findings will be shared with your healthcare providers so all can work together to keep your medication regimen safe. You can reach Michelle at www.medsmash.com/contact or by calling 410-472-5078.

Mistakes, oversights, misinformation, incomplete information, misunderstandings occur in all aspects of life. They certainly exist in healthcare. NO healthcare provider wants imperfect care, but it certainly happens. This is why a multi-check system where several people work together in your care is superior to independent practice. Different providers with varying backgrounds and perspectives can catch and fix issues before they ever reach you.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Is healthcare the only place where mistakes, oversights, misinformation, incomplete information, or misunderstandings happen? Of course not.

Can this happen in the church? Oh, yes! I’ll bet we could all share several stories.

Pastors, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, professional speakers, authors, and media personalities are all fallible. We are all human. Jesus makes it very clear we are far from perfect. No matter how hard we try, we will never be perfect.

Romans 3:23 (ESV)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Does this mean you should consider all spiritual teaching as wrong? No!

It does mean you should check what you see, hear, and read and compare it with the absolute truth – the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Remember playing communication games in elementary school?   Games like telephone showed us how easily we can misconstrue information. Now, remember any class from your school days. Did you capture absolutely every word you teacher said? Did you ever miss important information because you weren’t paying attention – even for a second? Did you ever get an exam question wrong because you misunderstood the information?

I like this version from The Message:

Romans 3:23-24 (MSG)

God Has Set Things Right

But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

These issues continue in healthcare and in spiritual teaching. Just like in healthcare, studying and learning from several spiritual sources will help you identify misinformation and reinforce the truths found in scripture.

John 8:32 ESV

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 16:13 ESV

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 17:17 ESV

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

The trust does exist, and you can find it.

John 14:6 ESV

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (emphasis mine)

Blessings,

Michelle

Emergencies and Medications – Are You Prepared?

ready-emergency-supply-list
Remember medications and medical equipment in emergencies.

Hurricane Matthew has wreaked havoc on the Caribbean and now part of the southeastern US. Millions of people evacuated while millions more ‘weathered out’ the storm in shelters and secure buildings. In all of those scenarios, daily life was drastically altered.

When you take chronic medications, they are a part of your daily routine. When that routine is upset, medications can be missed. Or, in the excitement, they can be taken more than once.

In emergencies, you might forget to grab them as you evacuate. Or, the emergency can take place right as you are taking your last dose. Then what?

Preparing for Emergencies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a program called Ready. You can find it at www.ready.gov. One of the many valuable resources is a list of items to include in an Emergency Supply Kit. You can get the full list here. The items that I want to emphasize are:

  • Prescription medications – at least 3 days; more depending on the emergency
    • Include inhalers, eye drops, and patches
    • Include the medications you only take when you need them
    • Include any ‘just in case’ medications such as an epinephrine injectable or migraine therapy injectable if one has been prescribed for you
    • Supplies such as syringes for insulin
  • Glasses
    • Take your glasses even if you usually wear contacts
    • Take the supplies for your contacts
    • Take your reading glasses if you just wear those as needed
  • Feminine supplies
  • Urinary incontinence supplies
  • Ambulation devices – such as a cane
  • Sturdy shoes – you might be in a situation where you are not walking on an even surface
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Warm, dry change of clothes and a blanket (in a water proof bag if in wet conditions)
  • Written list of:
    • medications
    • allergies, including what happens if you take that medication or eat that food
    • medical conditions

The available lists provide step-by-step guidance on what and how to prepare for emergencies. There is another good one available through the Centers for Disease Control found here. Note, if you live in an area where natural events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, or wildfires are not uncommon, it will help to pack these emergency kits before the danger season. You will save yourself tremendous time and stress.

Prescription Medications

I have one more important fact about your prescriptions and associated medical supplies to share. When the threat of the emergency is known ahead of time, and you are nearly out of medication, make getting your refills a priority. You will not be alone trying to get more medication. Your pharmacist and their staff will appreciate the advanced notice. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration waiting in long lines to get medication when you need to be doing so many other things to prepare. In the high-risk seasons, be extra vigilant about dwindling medication supplies.

I do want to share that I hear heroic stories of pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and others assuring their patients have what they need in the worst of circumstances. I am grateful for such dedication!

For more information about emergency preparedness, contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

I have had two songs going through my head this week as I’ve prayed for the people in the path of Hurricane Matthew. One is ‘Eye of the Storm’ by Ryan Stevenson. You can find a link here. The other is a song that is frequently sung by the Maryland State Boychoir, ‘The Storm is Crossing Over’. One of the moms posted this recording.

It’s interesting how often STORMS are found in the Bible. In nature they can be ferocious and devastating. And wow, isn’t the same true of the storms that brew up inside of us?

Remember in Matthew (and in Mark 4) when Jesus was taking a nap in the boat?

Matthew 8:23-27 ESV

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Do you often feel weak and helpless in these storms? There’s no doubt we will face them. Again, you find reference to them all through the Bible. So, how do we prepare for them, survive them, and move on from them?

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Besides Hurricane Matthew, one of the ‘storms’ weighing heavy on my mind right now is all of the war, turmoil, and conflict in the world. A dear friend is active duty as of this weekend and will be deployed this week. He has a loving wife and young children. And we all know he is not alone in this situation. I am holding in prayer those deployed, those in all layers of leadership, and those on the ‘other side’ who don’t want to be doing this and are caught in an ugly situation.

Psalm 46:10 ESV

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Nahum 1:7 ESV

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Praise be to God, our strength in the storm.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: http://www.ready.gov    

 

 

 

 

Your amazing liver

Your Amazing Liver – what does it do exactly?

Your amazing liver
Your liver breaks down medication and many other functions.

You have a liver. Do you have any idea what it does? I would venture a guess that most people don’t.

The liver sits in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen. When your doctor presses on your abdomen and puts fingers up under your ribs, that is what is being checked. Usually they won’t feel it or maybe just feel the very edge.

The liver has several functions:

  • Clotting factors in your blood are produced
  • Proteins in your blood are produced
  • Triglycerides and cholesterol are made
  • Stores vitamins
  • Removes toxins, such as ammonia, from the blood
  • Processes nutrients from our food
  • Regulates sugar in the blood
  • Metabolizes (breaks down) alcohol and medications

Of course it is the medication part that I am anxious to talk about.

What does the liver do to medication?

There are several types of enzymes in the liver.

These enzymes change the form of medications. They usually break medications down to a less active form. This also allows the medication to be processed and then to leave the body. If this slows down, then the medication stays in active form longer giving the medication a bigger effect and making it last longer.

Different medicines are broken down by different enzymes. Most of these enzymes are cytochrome P450 (CYP450)enzymes. There are several different CYP450 enzymes, each impacting different medications.

Some people have genetic differences that change those enzymes. For instance, a particular enzyme can be less active in some people based on their genes. This will make that medication more active, sometimes even toxic, for that person. It is becoming more common for people to be tested for any genetic changes that can help guide best medication use.

When there is more than one medication that is metabolized by the same enzyme that can change how those medications are broken down. This is where it really gets complicated. Some medications will induce the enzyme, or make it more effective. Others will inhibit the enzyme making it less effective. While others compete for the activity of the enzyme. These actions and interactions impact how well the medicine works and the amount of side effects it will have.

Even tobacco, some food, and herbs can impact the enzymes.

So, when your pharmacist is filling your prescription, there is SO MUCH more they are looking at than just getting the right number of tablets in to the bottle. The potential interactions need to be carefully screened each time any of your medicines are changed.

AND, this screening can only be complete if your pharmacist also knows what herbs, vitamins, over-the-counter, and other substances you take.

Pay attention to the extra instructions on your medicine label. These liver enzymes are often the reason for special instructions such as ‘avoid grapefruit’ or take at particular times of the day (to separate from other medications).

If you would like to know more about the liver and how liver enzymes impact medications, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Just as the liver has a very specific function within the body, each element of the armor of God has a specific function.

Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

To take advantage of the full protection available to you, put on each piece of armor. Keep each functioning in its most complete and efficient form through prayer and reading the Bible.

If you’ve so much as glanced at the news in the last few weeks, you know that the ‘power of this dark world’ seems to be out in full force. People are hurting people all over the place.

Go out into this hurting world with your truth, righteousness, faith, assurance of salvation, and the Word securely in place.

Now is the time to have some scripture memorized or in your phone where you can reinforce your own understanding or reach out to others in an instant. That sword of the Spirit might be just what someone needs.

I’m praying for the hurt, the evil, the grief, the biases, the fear that separates us from each other and from turning to the love of God. May you be a light in this darkness.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services