Emma has found it challenging to take her medicines when she is about to have surgery. She has since discussed this with an anaesthetist and now knows what to do with her current medicines.
So I guess when you're like fasting for surgery or having, especially orthopaedic surgery, I might have to stop particular things for a couple of weeks before. So that's mainly anti-inflammatories if you're having joint surgery. I find the hardest thing is when they make you fast before surgery. So I wasn’t actually taking any drugs. Because I've got so many medicines and they like you to have an empty stomach, I wasn’t taking anything before my surgery. So it was actually a problem like when I woke up from the anaesthetic.
So the anaesthetist has told me which ones that I should be taking before my surgery and which ones I can take after. So it took probably maybe until my fourth anaesthetic before I got the guts to ask because I was generally feeling quite lousy after it. Yes, they've sort of sorted it out now. You take this, like the particular ones and which ones aren’t so important. They always make sure you take your painkillers just because you're going to wake up in pain anyway. They do actually make sure that you take reflux medications just in case of nausea.
Emma finds pharmacy opening hours are not always convenient, particularly with her limited mobility and full-time work hours, and they do not always have what she needs in stock.
Sometimes the pharmacy hasn’t had some things I've taken but they've always gone and run to one of the other pharmacies in my suburb to go and find them. So sometimes they don’t just seem to have the stock. Generally I've been okay and have managed to get them. I may have had to drive to another suburb once to kind of get something just because it was late in the day, you know. I've left it a bit too late and gone, oh dear. So, yes, generally it's been fine … I've been lucky. I guess I chose a pharmacy that opened til nine o'clock at night. So it did take me a little while when I first moved to my suburb to find one that I felt comfortable with because I generally leave all my prescriptions with the pharmacist so that they're there. So every time I can go into the chemist, that he's got them in a file.
There has been one time when they lost the prescription. That was a little bit awkward. So, and I think it was for maybe my Lyrica but because it was a private script they were okay. So they actually could supply it to me and just get the script later. I guess with the PBS ones they have to get them within so many days. They did eventually find it so I was very lucky. No, they've been ... I think that's very important that pharmacists can hold onto scripts.
What difference does that make?
I guess, for me, if I come home from work and I don’t want to particularly go back home first and just want to get things when I'm out, I can just go straight to the pharmacy. If I've run out of a script at the pharmacist and I've left the new one at home and I go in there and I don’t have it, I generally have to take it back later which, you know, with arthritis, having to walk up the street, it's quite annoying, like, to have to do that again when you've just been out. I guess I could have gone back within a week and taken it but I like to get things done straight away. So I think that's important just because they're all kept together. I am organised so I probably would manage doing it at home but it's just the convenience of having them all in the one spot.
Emma finds it difficult to take her medicines when she has a gastric illness. She finds it really hard to stop taking them for the time she is sick because of the high number of medicines she takes.
It is really hard. I would probably not take all of my medicines. Like I would probably take, say, the Epilim and the Lyrica and the Durotram because I know that I can't stop them. I may leave out some of the others just because I know that Celebrex and Salazopyrin might upset my stomach being empty but you definitely need to take them slowly. You can't just take them all at once like I normally do, just take the lot and swallow them three or four at a time. Yes, you need to take them over a probably half an hour period just to make sure. Yes, getting sick is not a good thing.
Emma tried generic medicines, but she had reactions to one of them and had difficulty opening the package and swallowing the tablet of another one.
I think the only time I've had a problem with taking medicine, I had an Epilim brand. It was a generic. The packaging was really hard to get the tablets out of, like very hard. I actually had to cut the tablet out because I couldn’t push it out with my thumbs. I just said to the chemist, don’t give me that brand again because I just can't. It's like I don’t have the strength of my thumbs to do it … The tablet seemed to be slightly bigger than the Epilim brand. So that was a bit of a problem. Like, I'm okay like because I tend to swallow a few things at a time. But if they are just that bigger, it's quite, you know, annoying to the throat … I used to take Losec but the colouring in the tablet, for some reason, didn’t agree, was actually giving me reflux just because of my food intolerance. So the doctor has actually suggested breaking open the capsule and throwing the capsule away and swallowing the granules. I just ended up just swallowing the capsule anyway. It's been fine. It was quite funny taking things for reflux that actually give you reflux. So every time they've tried to swap to another brand of omeprazole, I'm just like, no. So, yes, just stick with one that [you know] … it makes you feel okay.
Emma found managing medicines easier when she was living at home. Now she lives on her own and goes out at night, she occasionally forgets her medicines.
I pretty much was probably only on one or two at that stage. So I probably remembered to take them because they were specifically with my meals. I guess Mum was there to remind me. Now that I'm on my own it's kind of like, you must remember. I do sometimes forget. If I do go out with my friends in the evening for dinner and I get home late at night, 11 o'clock, I may forget. I may not take all of them because it's so late in the evening. I guess that's the hardest thing. I get tired.
Emma only takes the complementary medicines her doctors suggest, because many of them trigger her food intolerances.
The only things I would take would be Amcal one a day. It’s a multivitamin. That’s because I've got food intolerance. So a lot of … I can't eat a lot of foods that have got vitamins. The Allergy Clinic has recommended that one just replace things. So probably vitamin B6 as well. They’ve all been recommended by doctors. So I haven't chosen to take anything. A lot of the things I may have tried in my younger days, like alternative kind of things. I can't take, I just found out they're not good for my intolerance. So I stopped all those kind of things and just stuck to what I've been told to take.
Emma does not mind close friends knowing about her medicines as much as she used to, but she prefers to keep her medicines away from people she doesn’t know well.
I guess originally I probably hid the medications if my friends were coming over. I didn’t really want people to see because I'm actually on a large amount of medication, probably over 10. So it doesn't really look good all piled up. Like I've got a small freezer at home so they're all sitting there. I guess with my really good friends, they know I'm on all these things now. So I just leave them there and I don’t bother. So I guess that probably doesn’t worry me now, having them out on show. I guess if someone I didn’t know so well was coming then I might hide them just to keep them away. You don’t really want people to know that you're on so many things, I guess.