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Sleeping with the enemy

Sleeping with the enemy

By Dr. Misty C. Farr, Pharm.D.

My husband is an amazing man.  He’s loving and has a potpourri of knowledge that would make Alex Trebek smile; it’s like being married to an encyclopedia.  He and I were having a conversation one evening and it came out that he doesn’t check his medications when he gets them. 

“I give you (the pharmacist) what the doctor gave me,” he said. 

He went on to admit that he doesn’t even read his name, unless “there are multiple bottles around,” and has no clue of what he’s taking or why.  I was angry at first, then dumbfounded.  I felt like there was an enemy and he sleeps next to me every night.  This was no ordinary man.  This was the smartest person I know; this is the spouse of a pharmacist and he should know better.  Yet, he, like so many others, takes medicine because it was prescribed and trusts the system to work.

It’s flattering that he trusts his pharmacist (I’m his pharmacist), but it’s not good practice to “blindly” accept any medication.  There are a lot of failsafe procedures that go into the prescription and distribution of medicine, many of which are designed to protect the patient.  At my pharmacy, we counsel every new prescription and have other behind-the-scenes measures to ensure accurate and timely delivery.  However, we (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and technicians) are human.  Given that, it’s okay to ask what it is you’re being prescribed or taking and why.  In fact, you should.  We love our patients and welcome active participation in their overall health outcomes.  There is no question (about your health) that is too unreasonable or unimportant, as long as you have it.  Our primary job is to ensure that you’re safe and healthy; our secondary job is to make sure that you have an understanding and comfort about your medication, so that you’ll actually take it. 

Comfort can sometimes be a trap.  We can get so comfortable with our routines that we become too lax.  We should always be asking questions and actively participating, especially when it comes to our health and health outcomes.

Dr. Misty Collier Farr currently serves as Pharmacy Manager of the Florissant Walmart store.  She was a Gates Millennium Scholar and received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from St. Louis College of Pharmacy (STLCOP).  Dr. Farr is a member of the Missouri Pharmacy Association, she is involved with the Minority Women Pharmacists Association, serves on the Alumni Board of Directors at STLCOP, the Board of Directors of the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce, and is an active supporter and participant in the “Red Shoe Movement,” a grassroots movement of women supporting women for career success. She is a devoted wife and mother of three.  She and her family reside in the Florissant area and are active members of their community. You can follow her on twitter @Pharmisty.