From the monthly archives:

February 2012

Here’s the scene. You’re at the doctor’s office or the ER and the nurse asks what medications you’re taking.

You can say, umm, well, a yellow pill, a brown pill, a purple capsule, and there’s something I squirt into my nose.

Maybe it’s time for a list!

It may sound obsessive, but it really does help. And it’s not so hard. A list can be just a three-by-five index card, or a sheet detailing the medication, what it’s for, when you take it, the dosage and who prescribed it.

Either way, your nurse will love you! And so will the doctor who might have to take care of you if you’re temporarily out of commission.

Do a list for anybody who needs more than one or two prescriptions. It’s so easy to get confused. Then a new generic comes along and you’re even more lost.

Tell you what, if you make a list, you don’t have to get me a gift this year.

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What is this plague that causes numerous visits to the emergency department for young and old alike? One word: falls. And three-quarters of them happen at home. And unless your home is built out of bubble wrap, that could cause an injury–sometimes a devastating one.

The best way to reduce the risk of falls is to keep our bodies in shape and our minds alert. But there are many practical things we can do to help prevent them around the house as well.

For the younger set, here are some simple rules:

Don’t leave babies unattended on beds, tables, or couches. Get rid of sharp corners. Block stairs. Secure area rugs, or get rid of them.

For older folks:

Remove area rugs. Eliminate electric wires and other trip hazards. Get rid of step stools and ladders so we are not tempted to get on them and fall. Use non-slip mats in bathrooms. Make sure the home is well lit. Install handrails. No loose-fitting slippers. And know whether medication can cause dizziness.

Watch your step out there!