Thursday, September 9, 2010

Milk, Medicine and Garbage

LAWKI Day 20

Breakfast: Toast, John had cereal with powdered milk, applesauce
Lunch: kids-school, M – left over enchiladas, S-leftover beans
Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese, Ben soup and sandwiches on hike, M –work, packed dinner

Michael took the powdered Milk today with his lunch, and John is back to his regularly scheduled bowls of cereal in the morning. I guess the Morning Moo brand milk is passing the cooking and drinking tests.

I spent a couple hours at the dentist today. When I am lying there, trying hard to think about anything else but what is going on in my mouth, I often think about strange things. I spent this time wondering what would happen in an emergency if I was left with a huge hole in my teeth. I only hope they would fill the hole with their emergency power before they closed the office and rushed home to check on things. I think anyone who has seen the movie with Tom Hanks where he is stranded on an island in the pacific with a tooth that needs a root canal has shared that thought before.

Michael and I often talk about what might happen to him at work in an emergency. He has talked to his bosses about what he could expect from an earthquake emergency and was very disappointed that there seemed to be no plans. They just said, "Take care of your family first." Nice sentiments, but not very wise or helpful. He spoke to the Utah Pharmacy Association as well, trying to find out if there are guidelines in place for how to dispense in an emergency where computers are off line and people need both regular, life maintaining medications and emergency pain relief. Do you go with your regular customers first, the ones you know by site and know they have standing prescriptions or do you give it to the new prescriptions that can't be verified or billed or even paid for? Is there any hope that it will be done in order or do they just expect looters to take everything? Then we get into the scenarios of pandemic influenza. You would think that after the mess with the swine flu last year that new procedures would be in place. It is frustrating to him and to me. Maybe in such a populated area this kind of planning is done at the warehouse level, not each individual store. Even still, it is disappointing that this element of the medical system is going to be left hanging and unused, and that people will suffer so much because of it.

With that, we have tried to be as prepared as we can for medicine in an emergency. One insider trick that Michael shares with anyone who is interested is how to create an emergency buffer with your prescriptions. If you have a regular medicine (not a narcotic) that you always get a monthly supply of, the he recommends you should get it refilled every 24-25 days. Insurances will let you refill when you have used 80% of the medicine. If you do this consistently, by the end of the year, you should have at least a 2-month supply of your medicine. Be smart in doing this and make sure you are using your oldest medicine first, and make sure you are keeping the extras in a secure, child resistant way. Of courses, some medicines do not have a shelf life that can support building up a year’s supply of medicine, such as insulin. But when it is such a necessity of life, it is critical to have enough to see you through the crazy days that would follow an earthquake or other major emergency.

We also have a supply of over-the-counter meds, such as Tylenol, Advil, antihistamines, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal, etc. I must admit that I am loath to throw out the few narcotics that we have left over from a couple of prescriptions. It is absolutely against the law to use another person’s medicine and I do not suggest you do. However, with my pharmacist around and dispensing information at all hours for me, I do keep them in the event of an emergency. I keep them locked in the safe, because I also have kids in the house and I don’t want to be a supplier for a pharm-party. (Not that I am overly worried about my kids---then again, who is?---, but they have friends who have friends, and if word got around, like some idiot posting this information on a blog on the internet, I would not want to be the target of unscrupulous people.) Gee, have I said too much or would my warnings and bold writing hold up in court? One more then…My husband, an honest and law-abiding pharmacist, knows nothing about any of this. Better? Good.

One more complexly not related observation from LAWKI month is our kitchen garbage is not as full as usual. John came in from taking the cans to the curb happy that there was only one. I think we are generating less garbage from food than usual. Of course, there are a lot more empty cans and boxes in the recycling than usual, so maybe it is a wash. I know that I have been much better about scraping the bottoms of the cans this month. I am certain that if food was low, I would be drinking the liquid from every can and licking the inside as far as I could. Nothing would go to waste.


Jeanne said...

The Hamaans have eggs for which they would probably barter. I traded cream-of-wheat for eggs once. Just a thought if you are desperate for eggs.

Nana J said...

I, too, have wondered how the drug issue could be handled. Good suggestion on the refill timing. I am going to try it out.
I have horrible hip pain right now and am doing physical therapy as best I can, but, darn it, I am frustrated to not be able to find those last two narcotic pills that I didn't use from my last surgery. My darling and efficient daughter probably threw them out when we were moving since they were out of date. :-(