Thursday, February 09, 2006
Good advice: Keep a list of all medications handy

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital,
Medical director

Some things are easy to remember. Some are hard.
Your home phone number is pretty easy. Your family home numbers are relatively easy. You don't know the numbers of many of your friends by heart. The more complicated something is, the harder it is to remember. A good example of this is the list of medications that we take. If we take only one medication, it is usually easy to remember the name. It is also relatively easy to remember the number of times a day to take it. It is a little harder to remember how many milligrams the dose is. If we take more than one medication, it becomes harder. When an individual takes many medications, it is close to impossible to remember all of the details. We might know the names. We might know how often to take them. However, it is pretty likely that we will not know all the doses. Doses mean the amount in milligrams. They do not mean the little green pill. They do not mean the big purple pill. It doesn't matter if Nexium advertises the purple pill. That is not the way to remember a dose. Most medications come in different sizes. That means there is a variation in milligram doses. I take synthroid. My dose is 0.125 milligrams per day. However, pill sizes vary from as low as 0.025 milligrams to as high as 0.3 milligrams. There are 12 different sizes. The highest dose is 12 times the amount of the lowest dose. It is important to know the correct dose. A few weeks ago I wrote about keeping a Go Bag for use when you have an emergency. One of the things to put in that Go Bag was a list of medications that you take. If you are on more than one or two medications, a list is necessary. This list should be carried in your wallet or purse. The time you most likely will need the list is when you least expect it. That is why you should prepare it in advance. The list should have the name of the medication. It should have the times you take the medication. It should have the number of milligrams of the pills. It should also include the reason that you take the medication. There are some medications that have multiple uses. That list will allow treating physicians to know what kind of illnesses or conditions you have. It will allow them to select a medication that will be less likely to cross react with the ones you are on. It will allow them to know if your problem may be a side effect from one of your medications. We should not rely on our memory for something as serious as this. A list is the way to go. You should take this as the stimulus to go and create your own list right now. You never know when it will be a help to your memory.

Library to host breast health program
The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition will hold a breast health program Monday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Public Library. This program will use a multi-media approach to educate women about the risk factors of breast cancer, early detection, how to survive breast cancer and where to seek more information. A question and answer period will be incorporated into the program. The library is on the corner of Market and Mill streets. Registration is required by calling the Greenwood Public Library at 349-5309. The program is open to the public at no charge.

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Dr. David Crooks
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital has added another physician to its active medical staff. Dr. David Crooks, specializing in general surgery, has joined Nanticoke Surgical Associates, 543 N. Shipley St., Suite A, Seaford. He is accepting new patients. Crooks earned his medical degree in Dublin, Ireland, and served as chief resident in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University Hospital. He did his surgical residency and research training in pediatric urology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Crooks comes to Seaford from Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Coudersport, Pa., where he was president of the medical staff, chair of four key medical committees and vice-chair of the department of surgery. He is married and has three children. His interests include antique cars, reading, soccer and ice hockey. Nanticoke Memorial now has more than 90 members on its active medical staff, representing 35 specialties. To find out more, call Nanticoke's Physician Referral Services at 1-877-NHS-4DOCS.

CHEER Community Center to hold health fair on March 31
The CHEER Community Center, 20520 Sand Hill Road, Georgetown, is hosting a health fair on March 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The health fair will focus on health screenings and senior issues. Any service-oriented businesses that cater to the senior community are invited to set up displays. Some of the venders participating are Apple Discount Drugs, Diabetes Supply Service Inc., CHEER Home Services (diabetes screening), Harbor Health Care & Rehab Center, Office of the state bank commissioner, Rockford Center, Beebe Medical Center (osteoporosis screening), Berlin Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Mercantile Mortgage, Peninsula Home Care (blood pressure), Delaware Hospice, Sussex Eye Care (visual acuity and intraocular pressure checks), CHEER caregiver resources, CHEER Nutrition (nutrition screenings) and CHEER marketing. Admission to the health fair is free. Any organization or businesses interested in exhibiting may call Nicole McCready at 854-9500.