Sooner or later we all must pay a visit to our friendly neighborhood druggist, and for seniors, that time is sooner. Years ago the slang term for these professionals was: “pill pusher” and they were also part of the soda shop scene. In more modern times however, a pharmacist is much more than that.
Thanks to this computer age, a druggist is able to dispense a wide variety of the newest medications available. Keeping up-to-date on various chemicals and their side effects must be a never ending job, as well as learning the availability of generic substitutions.
In addition to the standard services offered by drugstores, customized prescriptions can be filled by compounding pharmacies. At these locations the old mortar and pestle come into use, as specific amounts of drugs ordered by your doctor are combined. No wonder then, in England, they refer to the pharmacist as “the chemist”.
For over the counter items, I find that the store brand is always less expensive and normally contains the same ingredients as the brand with the big red letters that is advertised on television. Take a minute to compare the labels and I think you will agree.
Secondly, be sure to look for the expiration date on the bottle or box, sometimes a store will offer an attractive “sale” price on items that are so old they are no longer effective. So unless you want to polish-off a full bottle of B12 capsules by next Tuesday in order to beat the expiration date, I suggest you choose a bottle with a later date, to give yourself more time.
Speaking of tricks, we all have our own method of remembering to take our medications. I leave mine in the kitchen by the coffee pot. My husband prefers to carry his pills in a plastic container with divided compartments.
My dad, and some retired cronies from his old Navy days, made a game out of pill-taking. They would get together from time to time and compare notes regarding their health issues. These oldsters handled their senior years with humor and common sense. During the meeting they would offer a small prize for the member with the lowest blood pressure, or a coupon for free coffee at the 50’s Café for the man who passed his blood test. The best part of this meeting was when the topic came around to the number of pills each person was taking. They seemed to pride themselves on who had the largest number of prescriptions.
This lighthearted approach to health care was their way of dealing with survival, and maintaining a standard of living, as well as a quality of life. For those of us who prefer a more serious tone, we need only follow the regimen laid out by our physician regarding medications and supplements.
While we may resent being a slave to those pills and capsules, often times they contain lifesaving ingredients, so we really have no other choice. Perhaps if they were candy we would be more apt to remember to take them, how could we forget a prescription that read: “take two butterscotch at bedtime?”
Nevada resident Carolyn Schneider is the author of the book, “Bing: On the Road to Elko”, about her uncle Bing Crosby, and his 15 years as a Nevada cattle rancher. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.