Too Many Pills

By Doug Mayberry

September 17, 2018 5 min read

Q: This week, I found out that I had a skin infection and went to the doctor. He prescribed me an antibiotic.

My infection cleared up, but I still have a few pills left in the bottle. I don't like the side effects and think I'm OK to stop taking them. I'm taking enough pills already — and as they say, medicine is still a practice!

When I mentioned this, my son gave me the third degree and told me to follow the directions. But in this case, I think the medicine is worse than the problem.

What should I do?

A: Talk directly and honestly about this with your doctor. Call the office with your concerns before acting blindly.

Without the years of medical training, we don't have the necessary information to know how different vitamins and medications interact. You may be experiencing stronger side effects than intended.

Your son has a point about listening to doctors' instructions. Stopping in the middle of a regimen could leave you more vulnerable to infection. This is true even after you stop seeing physical symptoms.

As seniors, it can feel like we're having dozens of pills shoved at us. We often don't see the doctor as much as we'd like and are usually in a room with the physician for only a few minutes per appointment.

It's on you to be proactive in addressing your concerns — you know more about your lifestyle and can notice how your health changes over time. If you think something is off, you should bring it up.

Your doctor sees you infrequently and may not have all the information he needs to suggest the best plans. And sometimes your doctor doesn't ask the right questions to the right patient.

In the future, go into your office visits with a plan. It never hurts to write a list down and bring it with you.

Brainstorm any questions you have. Offer information if you think it's relevant — don't wait to be asked for it. Remember to mention any vitamins or supplements you're taking, as they might affect your other medicines.

Taking these steps will help you feel more in control of your own health. Work with your doctor, not against him. — Doug


Q: My granddaughter recently found out that she and her husband will be having a baby in the spring. We are all overjoyed, especially me. This will be my first great-grandchild.

I have a beautiful wooden bassinet somewhere in my attic and offered it to them. Babies can be expensive, and I want to help by giving them some necessities. But they don't seem interested.

Our family is close, and I'm surprised at this. Why wouldn't they want it?

A: There are many potential reasons, but none of them should be a cause to be upset. This is a happy occasion.

Wooden furniture has fallen out of fashion in the last few years. It's often heavy, dark and fragile. It's also extremely hard to transport.

Old items run the risk of being damaged by termites or other causes. With it being hidden somewhere in your attic, they might worry about its safety for the baby.

They could have different plans in mind. They may have bought a crib already or been gifted one. Another side of the family may have gotten to them first!

They could be afraid of ruining a family heirloom. Babies are unpredictable, and they might not want to put themselves in a delicate situation.

They could not be prepared to accept your offer just yet. Their news is recent, and they might have other things to deal with beforehand.

On the bright side, you now have a reason to pull the bassinet out from the attic. You can clean it up and use it as an incentive for babysitting! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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