Helen was no stranger to the use of medicines, having been diagnosed with asthma, eczema and hay fever in her childhood and teenage years. After moving from the country to the city, she benefited from an improvement in her medical management though she admits that she was not always a compliant patient and her symptoms were not always well controlled. While still in her 40s, she was diagnosed with hypertension and said that she felt she was getting old before her time. It seemed she was far too young to be on long-term medications for a chronic illness. Nevertheless, she was still not motivated to make any dramatic lifestyle changes.
With the onset of some new aches and pains, she started on a number of over-the-counter medications including glucosamine, chondroitin, Crampeze and krill oil, eventually taking nine a day of the latter when she discovered the dose she was taking was far too low. She says that she sometimes feels like a walking bottle of pills. The relatively recent diagnosis of arthritis has introduced further medications for ongoing pain and she is aware that this will be a chronic and worsening condition. She has also become aware of the rising costs of her medicines and wonders how she will manage in retirement on a reduced income.
As new medications have been added, she has decided to dispense with some of the over-the-counter medications as she was not really sure about their level of contribution to her overall wellbeing and it was hard enough to manage the essential ones. She also admits to a somewhat cynical view of complementary medicines and puts more faith in prescribed medication.
One of the things that Helen has struggled with is remembering to take her medications at the correct time, with or without food, especially when work is competing for her attention. It has also made her favourite pastime of travelling quite complex as she has to educate herself as to the requirements of each country she visits, customs regulations, the need for supporting documentation and ensuring that she has adequate supplies of her medication. On one holiday, she realised she did not have enough and lowered the dose to make it last. This resulted in considerable anxiety for the last two weeks as she was not sure what effect this would have. There is also the difficulty of trying to maintain the timings of her medications when travelling through changing time zones, but she is finding ways to manage this so that she will not forget.
While relying primarily on the advice of her doctor and other health professionals, Helen tries to improve her knowledge about her illnesses and medications by checking reputable sites on the internet such as those authored by government agencies or academic sites. It was here that she discovered a high concentrate product which enabled her to return to just one krill oil tablet a day.
Overall, Helen is a bit disappointed that her medications have not alleviated all of her symptoms, but is grateful that they have allowed her to continue to work and travel and is glad that they are readily available.