Monday, April 8, 2013

What?! Wait! I Have to do Math!?

My biggest concern about moving Robert in with us was the responsibility of his medications.  Will I be able to keep them in stock? Will I remember to give them to him at the right time? Will I be able to organize his refills and keep the Day Program stocked with Robert’s mid-day medications as well?

Robert's Spreadsheet of medications
I worried because if Robert doesn’t get his meds on time or if he misses a dose, the consequences are extreme (increased seizures which result in increased falls which lead to injuries).    

The concern I didn’t think about: I’d have to do math!  Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong – I can do math.  I have a college degree although it is in psychology, not math.  (Other Brother, on the “other” hand, does have a degree in math from a prestigious university.) 

Other Brother is also an actuary and partner in a multi-national actuarial firm.  When we were kids, our dad would randomly give us math problems and Other Brother was always the first one with the correct answer.  (I could eventually answer the question but it took me a while; Robert was usually chasing bugs or frogs and didn’t pay attention long enough to answer).   

So I can do math, I just have to r-e-a-l-l-y think about it when I’m doing it.

I created a medication spreadsheet and was grateful to other caregivers for giving me advice on what information to include.  During move-out day, I carefully counted the medications Old New Home gave me.  Once home, I put this information on my spreadsheet. 

I counted how many days I had left with the medication they transferred to me.  I counted the number of days left until the refill date the new pharmacy had given me.  There are nine medications to keep track of, each one with a different number of pills to be given at various times of the day.  To complicate things, the pharmacy changed one medication from a 1 mg dose to a 2 mg dose (which doesn’t matter since he gets that medication in 2 mg increments but it does mean more math for me).

My plan is to fill his medication containers each Saturday with one week of pills.  The first time I did it, I needed complete silence in the house for concentration and counted, checked, re-checked and then updated my spreadsheet.  I added, subtracted, multiplied, wrote numbers on scraps of paper, consulted the spreadsheet and threw in some calculus and geometry for good measure (okay, I kid about that last part). 

I checked everything again just in case.

It took me close to an hour (in part because it’s impossible to keep this household full of dogs, cats, a husband and Robert quiet for very long). 

This past Saturday went quicker.  The math is getting easier and I’m feeling better about the medication issues (and I don’t insist on quiet).

There are still a few bugs to be worked out – one of Robert’s medications couldn’t be filled at our pharmacy because, for whatever reason, Old New Home had filled it at their pharmacy.  (Um, heads up to Old New Home: Robert doesn’t live there any longer!). 

I checked with Day Program and they have enough medication to last at least two weeks.

Robert doesn’t have his emergency medication (Ativan) because Old New Home realized it was expired so they didn’t give it to me.  Robert sees his neurologist tomorrow so I’ll get a new prescription for that.

Thankfully, my worst fears have not been realized but at least I was prepared for them.  Preparation and asking for help from others who have done this for a while were essential to being ready. 

That and having a calculator . . . 

1 comment:

Kathy Lowrey said...

On the top of each of Hubby's meds, I use a sharpie marker and write the month and date that that particular med need to be renewed. Since I have to order from the VA I allow myself a few days early ordering for mail delivery.
MATH_ Who would have thought we would ever need that in our lives?!!