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Old 04-21-2012, 02:25 PM   #21
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I do feel sorry for those of us who do not have (or will not have) advocates in our dotage. Doctors and other health professionals really can not be our advocates as they must look out for themselves (defensive medicine for want of a better term).

As far as discontinuing meds, I would remind us that "none of us get out of here alive." What we do with our own lives should be our own business and our own decision for the most part. I would only caution that decisions are usually best when they are "informed" decisions. That is why, as long as I am able, I will attempt to "parter" with my HC providers and participate in the decisions about my care. IOW, for now I am my own advocate and I take the responsibility seriously. YMMV
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:57 PM   #22
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FWIW, I think more than older people are over medicated. DH has a chronic condition with new symptoms of various kinds presenting upon occasion. Generally his doctors prescribe various medicines: sometimes it helps for a while, sometimes the side effects are worse than the symptoms. Over time, he's realized that only a few of his symptoms really need to be medicated, the rest he just manages (like generations did before all of the new meds and their associated commercials over the past decade). And he feels much better overall.

PS I am NOT knocking medications that actually treat a disease, or those that really do help severe symptoms. I just think a lot of symptoms are being treated first with medications rather than considering all the options.
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Old 04-21-2012, 08:42 PM   #23
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In college, I worked as a pharmacy clerk/technician for a large HMO. One of the duties was typing up the labels for the medications from the hand-written prescriptions. I observed that certain doctors would prescribe the same set of drugs, over and over. You could figure out which doctors were on duty just by which drugs you were typing up, before you even saw the doctors' names.

During that same span of time, my grandmother was on a downward spiral, healthwise, and on a very limited fixed income. She died with a very large balance on her credit card. I asked my mother what she had been buying--and learned it was pretty much all for her medications.

So my takeaway from that experience was that I ask my doctors WHY they are prescribing something, what it is supposed to do--how will we know it has worked, and if they think I will be taking it forever. I also ask what effects it has, what the alternatives are, what happens regarding the condition if I choose not to take pills for it, and (if I get a prescription filled) get a copy of the fine-print packet insert.

I agree that seniors (and people in general) are prescribed drugs that may not be improving their quality of life or even extending it. They are being prescribed because the doctor sees certain numbers on a test result and that particular doctor's response is to prescribe a certain dosage of a certain drug. In most cases, the pre-Internet generations are still of the "white-coated doctors are the acolytes of the god of medicine" and take whatever is given to them without any questions--with the expectation that if they do so, they will become symptom free.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:47 PM   #24
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Sorry, but I do not seem to "get" this thread at all. Is it about stopping medication because one is very old and ready to die?
Or is it about unpleasant side-effects that one is no longer willing to tolerate (as with Art Buchwald, who deliberately quit dialysis)?
Or What? ::
I think it's about taking the reins back from the authoritarian physicians, and eating dessert first improving quality of life.

But I agree that it's easily overdone. You need a doctor who's willing to work with you and consider "slow medicine" instead of just countering every symptom with a prescription.

When my father was undergoing chemotherapy he was prescribed an entire drug-dealer's van of painkillers. Dad is the original "Iron Man" and rarely takes painkillers, so the quantities seemed a little excessive. We queried the care facility staff and were told that the prescription were for "as needed" requirements and stashed in order to be readily available.

I occasionally wonder what would happen if we showed up unannounced to conduct an audit of his prescription inventory. But then we'd probably have to find a new care facility.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:39 AM   #25
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I think so many drugs are prescribed to counter the side effects of the original drugs taken for a problem. my brother had a heart attack 20 years ago and was put on some drugs, he then went to the doctors with this or that complaint about how he was feeling. he was taking 17 different medications two years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer of the asophagus and was removed from all medication before being operated on. since the surgery, he is on three medications and doing fine. I think there should be a point where the doctor says, lets wean you from the medications and see how you feel.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:55 AM   #26
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My Mom still takes her medications . She is 95 but she hands back any diagnostic test requests her Physician hands her. No more Mammogram and definetely no more Colonoscopy !

Sounds just like my Mom at 87, she does still take her statins.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:21 AM   #27
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I don't get the not telling the doctor bit. If you don't want to take your pills fine. Tell the doc, "I'm not taking any more pills, and if you don't like it, you can lump it."

And there's the chance that the doc will have a good argument "Fine, but you'll be dead in a week." or "Fine, good luck with crapping."
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:33 AM   #28
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I don't get the not telling the doctor bit. If you don't want to take your pills fine. Tell the doc, "I'm not taking any more pills, and if you don't like it, you can lump it."

And there's the chance that the doc will have a good argument "Fine, but you'll be dead in a week." or "Fine, good luck with crapping."
+1. DW and I dropped statins recently and plan to discuss it with our docs at our next physical. I am interested in hearing what she has to say (and in the impact on our blood work) but I will take her input as only one part of the equation. I have been ignoring the doc's advice to eat vegetables for 60+ years.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:11 PM   #29
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My DW and I have this issue on going with her DA. How should her "sleep just doesn't come" issues be dealt with?
These acronyms are maybe out of control. What in the world is a DA, other than district attorney which I don't think was meant. And as to "dear", judging by the direct comments poeple on here make about their feelings toward their relatives, they are not all "dear".

If it is aunt, how much longer does it take to type "aunt" as compared to DA?

Regarding sleep, I second the idea that it may often be exercise related. I find that since I passed 65 or 67 or so, I must get at least 1.5-2.5 hours of aerobic type exercise- not heavy just pretty steady for an hour or so at a time, or I may wake up in early morning and have trouble going back to sleep. If I do get it, I may sleep through, or may wake up to pee sometime or other but go back to sleep and finish out the 8 hours or so.

It takes committment to get this much activity, but it pays off, at least for me.

Ha
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #30
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These acronyms are maybe out of control. What in the world is a DA, other than district attorney which I don't think was meant. And as to "dear", judging by the direct comments poeple on here make about their feelings toward their relatives, they are not all "dear".

If it is aunt, how much longer does it take to type "aunt" as compared to DA?

Regarding sleep, I second the idea that it may often be exercise related. I find that since I passed 65 or 67 or so, I must get at least 1.5-2.5 hours of aerobic type exercise- not heavy just pretty steady for an hour or so at a time, or I may wake up in early morning and have trouble going back to sleep. If I do get it, I may sleep through, or may wake up to pee sometime or other but go back to sleep and finish out the 8 hours or so.

It takes committment to get this much activity, but it pays off, at least for me.

Ha
Yes, it was indeed Dead Aunt, and it's becoming more and more hip to use acrons in order to fit within the twitter space.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:36 PM   #31
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Yes, it was indeed Dead Aunt, and it's becoming more and more hip to use acrons in order to fit within the twitter space.
And you and your wife have an ongoing issue with said Dead Aunt?
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:36 PM   #32
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And you and your wife have an ongoing issue with said Dead Aunt?
ooops, DEAR aunt, and yeah, she cannot seem to sleep more than 2-3 hours. But, yeah, beats the alternative, I guess.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:31 PM   #33
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I think so many drugs are prescribed to counter the side effects of the original drugs taken for a problem. my brother had a heart attack 20 years ago and was put on some drugs, he then went to the doctors with this or that complaint about how he was feeling. he was taking 17 different medications two years ago, when he was diagnosed with cancer of the asophagus and was removed from all medication before being operated on. since the surgery, he is on three medications and doing fine. I think there should be a point where the doctor says, lets wean you from the medications and see how you feel.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:43 PM   #34
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Reminds me of my MIL who passed away 2 years ago, she was given 2-3 months to live with no chance of doing much better (stage 4 pancreatic cancer), and almost immediately declared "I am not going to bother flossing anymore". She only made it 6 weeks.
Sorry for your loss. That's a funny story in the setting of a bad disease. Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:19 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by haha
These acronyms are maybe out of control. What in the world is a DA, other than district attorney which I don't think was meant. And as to "dear", judging by the direct comments poeple on here make about their feelings toward their relatives, they are not all "dear".

If it is aunt, how much longer does it take to type "aunt" as compared to DA?

Regarding sleep, I second the idea that it may often be exercise related. I find that since I passed 65 or 67 or so, I must get at least 1.5-2.5 hours of aerobic type exercise- not heavy just pretty steady for an hour or so at a time, or I may wake up in early morning and have trouble going back to sleep. If I do get it, I may sleep through, or may wake up to pee sometime or other but go back to sleep and finish out the 8 hours or so.

It takes committment to get this much activity, but it pays off, at least for me.

Ha
The exercise doesn't always work this well for me. Sometimes I'll think "I will sleep really well after this long bike ride" but no.

By the way, you seem a little grumpy lately, Ha.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:53 PM   #36
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I look at my in-laws. They are both doctor phobic. My MIL pays through the nose to have a Cadillac supplemental insurance plan that she doesn't use. (She's not high income nor high net worth - so this is an odd choice.). We tried to get her to go to a clinic this last week because she's got some leg pain. She refused.

She's convinced anything can be fixed with a periodic 1/2 a baby aspirin and by drinking more water. That's her solution for the leg pain. She just looked at me when I talked to her about the doctor and went and got another glass of water and said I should let her try her way first before insisting on a doctor.

I'm not sure she's wrong. She's 85 and FIL is 89. Both have lived longer lives than their parents and are showing no signs of dying soon.

My dad was juggling 5 meds for blood pressure, arrhythmia, etc. And it was always complicated because some of the meds have to be carefully monitored (cumiden for example.) He had to go off all but the cumedin when he got a blood cancer and started treatment for that. It was the steroids that were part of his cancer treatment that caused his death. (Depleted immune system, sniffles->cold->pneumonia->septic pneumonia in less than 24 hours).

I like the no-flossing when you get a terminal dx. And I totally agree with the ending the mammograms and colonoscopies past a certain age.
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:22 PM   #37
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By the way, you seem a little grumpy lately, Ha.
Maybe my Asperger's is acting up?
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:46 PM   #38
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For anyone with sleep issues you might consider cutting out caffeine completely. I used to be able to drink tea or soda all day with no effect on sleep. But in the last several years have found that if I drink any caffeine after about noon, I have trouble going to sleep. Eating chocolate in the evening causes problems as well.

My 72 year old MIL has a terrible time going to sleep and staying asleep. She drinks coffee all day and with dinner as well. I've told her to try cutting out caffeine for years, but she won't listen. She says there is no way coffee is why she can't sleep. Such a simple thing to try...oh well, to each their own.
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