Medication Adherence - or more simply put - following your doctor’s instructions.
In a previous post I mentioned that I had knee surgery. My personal experience with this procedure was very enlightening. At first, I was very worried about the surgery. How long would it take me to recover? Would it affect other conditions that I currently live with? Was it even worth doing at my age?
Eventually the pain became intolerable and really started to impact my lifestyle. I noticed that I couldn’t see my grandkids as often because I simply couldn’t keep up. I began avoiding venues with lots of stairs, like my beloved opera. I wasn’t ready to give up having fun with my family and doing the things that give me joy. The pain forced me to face all of my worries and talk to my doctor about my options. Together we decided that knee surgery was the best way forward.
My doctor referred me to a specialist who to took the time to educate and prepare me for the operation. I was glad for this, it answered many of my questions, eased my anxiety, and helped me understand aftercare and recovery. The surgeon emphasized that the length of my recovery and the amount of pain I would experience were directly dependent on how well I followed the recovery instructions. Simply put - it will work, if you do the work.
Don’t go it alone…
This message holds true for prescriptions and all general care instructions from your primary care physician too. In fact, I’ve learned that not following doctors’ orders as prescribed when talking about medications accounts for up to 50% of treatment failures, around 125,000 deaths, and up to 25% of hospitalizations each year in the United States.* Those numbers are shocking!
Set realistic expectations about your progress. Ask your doctor how quickly you should notice results of a particular medication and what side effects you should look out for. And, if it doesn’t feel like it’s working the way you expected, don’t just quit cold turkey. Call your doctor or nurse practitioner and let them know. They’ll work together with you to develop a new course of care.
I was surprised to learn that the day after my surgery I would be standing on my new knee! That day, and every day after, I had a new exercise to do. Once I was discharged from the hospital, there were physiotherapy appointments and more challenging exercises. It took almost a year to learn to readjust, and then some more time to learn my new limits. While I am not doing cartwheels down the hallways, I can tell you that I am back on the sidelines at my grandkids soccer games and I am taking the stairs to my seat at the opera once again.
Your friend in health.
P.S. Remember, if you have any comments, suggestions, or, if you have any health-related questions, others probably do too. Please send me an email. I’ll get you connected to someone with the right answers and, it just might be the topic of my next blog post too.
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