Why it’s important to ALWAYS check your medication

This post is a public-service announcement about medication.  It is always important to check your medication, people. I should know this because my sister is a pharmacist, but even I am bad about checking my meds as I leave the pharmacy.

Thankfully, this wasn’t a life-threatening situation for me, but this really could have affected my treatment plan.

As you know, I was on 1/4 of the pig for a couple of months.  My doctor gave me two months of prescription for this when I saw him in October, so I actually had a little left over when I saw him a couple of weeks ago and he upped my dosage.

I had been taking the pig in the morning, literally as soon as I woke up.  My mornings go like this now:

  • Alarm goes off.  Spoon Mr Hall.  Detach Athena from my mouth and roll on my back.  
  • Ask Mr Hall for my basal thermometer.  Take my temp while Athena attempts to sleep on my neck.  Why does she want to lay on my face?
  • Note temperature and get out of bed, repeating the number over and over as I go to the bathroom.
  • Turn on one of the lights and open pill container.  Take one out, place in mouth, chew, drink water and swallow.   
  • Shuffle out to hallway, scoop litter, record temperature in iPhone app.

This has been my routine for two months.  Until yesterday, when I made a scary discovery.  This week, I am trying a “split dose” plan where I take 1/4 pig before breakfast and 1/4 pig after lunch.  The idea is that it gives you a more consistent dose of T3 during the day, which is a very quickly absorbed hormone.  Some people swear by this, but I wonder if it’s going to be a pain in my butt to eat lunch, set a timer for two hours and then take my medication in the middle of a meeting at work.

But I digress.

So I was filling up a pill container yesterday morning before leaving the house and I went to get the prescription bottle from the bathroom.  I had just picked up my new prescription for two 1/4 pigs a day and had dumped the other bottle into the new one, since it was all 1/4 grain tablets.

As I’m standing in the kitchen, I pour out a few into my hand and realize, huh, there are a few pills that are bigger than the others.  I wonder why.

So I examine them more closely.  I notice that the big ones say N on one side and 050 on the other.  The small pills say N and 025, respectively.

Now, I’m no pharmacist, but I realize at this point that I’ve got a few 1/2 grain tabs in my bottle.  How could this be?  And then I figure it out.  I have been taking 1/2 a pig for the past few weeks.  I had no idea because I was just taking it in the morning and not actually looking at the pills.

Crap!  Now what?  I just supposedly got “increased” to 1/2 a pig last week.  I check the old bottle and it says it’s a 1/4 grain.  Pharmacy error!

I called my doctor and spoke to his nurse this morning to ask what I should do.  Am I supposed to take one full grain now?  3/4 a pig?  Help!

Of course, this turned into a large comedy of errors on the phone as I tried to explain this.  Yes, Dr. Gent put me on 1/4 grain.  Yes, he wanted me to up it to 1/2 grain.  I’ve already been taking 1/2 grain but I’m not sure for how long.  No, the pharmacy did not label the bottle wrong.  They put the wrong pills in there.  No, I didn’t bother to look.  I know.

I finally got a call back and he wants me to up to 3/4 a pig daily. I can either take it all at once or three times a day.  Or two.  A new prescription has been called in to CVS, so I need to pick it up tonight.  Now I have both 1/2 pig and 1/4 pig pills.

You’d better believe I will be checking them very carefully before I walk out of the store.

Lesson learned- always check your medication at the counter!

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