Wednesday, October 06, 2010

no, i didn't lose all my hair.....

i woke up saturday morning at 9:21 to the abrupt ringing of the telephone. i still felt drunk on sleep so my attempt to roll out of bed and answer was comical at best. like fumbling in the dark--only, it wasn't dark. a lovely side effect of the prescription blend that gives me pain relief. robbing peter, to pay paul, i suppose.

where was i? oh, riiiight. the phone ringing.

sure enough, just as i pushed talk to say hello, i heard nothing but a dial tone unappologetically blaring in my ear. ugh. i never seem to get to the phone in time. i'm not balanced and coordinated enough to leap out of bed, dance around the toys scattering the path, and grab the phone to push talk all before it rings Beethoven's 9th symphony for a total of 10 seconds. once again, i make a mental note to look into changing the length of music before voicemail picks up---once i come out of my drug induced stupor. only, i forget just as quickly as the mental note was made.

i crawled back in bed, phone in hand, to check caller ID, (what would we ever do without caller ID), and realized it was my better half. i was confused seeing his cell phone number pop up. afterall, i thought it was saturday. was. he had already slipped out of bed and made his way to the allergist with that sweet brown eyed girl of ours for her weekly immunotherapy injection. all, to make my life a little easier. gosh, i love that man. the little things, really are the big things.

phone in hand, still half asleep, i redialed the last call. he answered, and after hear the groggy in my voice, appologed for waking me. then asked, "so, did you lose all your hair?" his voice was thick with sarcasm. oh, to have his humor and quick wit.

for a second, i couldn't for the life of me figure out what he was referring to. mornings and me, don't get along. it takes me a while to come out of my drug-induced morning stupor. it was far too early to make sense of why i would have lost all my hair overnight.

a few quick words triggered my memory and the anxiety of it all came rushing back to me. i question how i had forgotten already. short-term memory loss is no longer a laughing matter.

just the night before, he had retired to bed early with that sweet brown-eyed girl. afterall, he is up before the roosters crow, half past 4am, every week day. his eyes are heavy by 9pm at week's end. i, however, stayed awake with the princess to craft & watch repeats of her favorite television shows...we also snuck in a late night icecream date. after returning home, we lounged ourselves on the davenport and faded in and out of sugar-induced oblivion while watching Duff work his magic with icing on Ace of Cakes. he's my tv husband, yet doesn't know it.

the princess girl had long fallen into a deep slumber, while i kept fading in and out. suddenly the loudness of the television woke me enough to realize i had yet to take my nightly prescriptions, yet i wasn't awake enough to have the patience to find the storage strip of them already sorted to the proper doseage. a weekly ritual of mine--sorting them, that is.

so, at 12:35am, i fumbled through the basket of prescription bottles in a dimly lit kitchen, grabbing all four. easy enough to find as they are all in a different color or sized container. one over the counter, one mail order, two from the pharmacy. one pill removed from each. pink, green, white and one pill cut in half. i make my way to the cabinet for a small glass, and placed the pink pill in my mouth as i'm filling the cup with water. then begin my nightly regimen, swallowing one pill at a time.

i've taken some of these medications for 2 years now, with another just added a month ago. i know how they feel in my mouth, if they start to disolve or not, how they taste going down. they're like an old friend. i know them well.

even though i was half asleep, i still found it slightly odd that the pink pill didn't 'feel' the same and even more odd that it started to disolve as i swallowed it. i *almost* took it out to look at it before swallowing, but didn't. then, as i swallowed the green one i had an overwhleming nagging feeling that something just wasn't right. adrenaline surged through my body.

i frozen in my tracks. panicked. oh, no....i didn't, I thought to myself. please Lord, tell me, i didn't. i quickly shuffled myself over to the counter where i had taken the pills out of the basket and confirmed my worst nightmare. when i took the pink pill, i had accidentally taken the wrong prescription---a prescription for my daughter.

instead of taking my heart medication Metoprolol, i had taken her chemo medication Methotrexate. needless to say, i was no longer half asleep as the adrenaline was rushing through my veins.

the panic was two-fold. i wasn't panicked so much because i had taken her medication--as i knew the dosage alone wasn't something that would end my life. but, i had no idea how this would react with the other medications i was taking--the combination could be potentially lethal. two-fold because, now she doesn't have the proper dosage she's going to need.

i quickly grabbed the laptop and searched for the 24-hour pharmacy number thinking the pharmacist will tell me exactly what to expect. after quicly explaining my predicament, he said nothing other than "hang up and call Poison Control immediately. 1-800-222-1222." the urgency in his voice made the adrenaline surge through my body once again.

i quickly grabbed a marker from the floor and scribbled the number as fast as i could on the newspaper, forgetting all along that i have a Poison Control sticker on the back of the very phone i was calling from.

i thanked him, hung up and quickly dialed. 1-800-222-1222. the phone was answered immediately by a kind, calm voice. i, again, explained the mishap and asked what i needed to do, the panic very evident in my shakey voice. she calmly asked the name of the medication, then asked for the name and dosage of all other medications i take. then asked how much time had elapsed from ingestion to the time of my call. her calmness didn't help the quiver in my voice.

she put me on hold and after what seemed like an eternity---i'm sure it was only minutes---she returned and reassured me that i may experience an upset stomach, but i would in fact be okay. relief swept over me knowing i didn't have to wake my oblivious husband and children to rush me to the emergency room for treatment. she suggested i stay awake another hour before taking the medication that i should have taken in the first place.

before hanging up the phone, i thanked her, then proceeded to fall apart emotionally. two opposite extremes of emotion gripped me. i was freaked out that my worst nightmare had come true (misdosing medication) and enormously thankful that it was me and not my children.

i stayed up not only another hour, but another 3 hours. until my husband woke up asking why in the world i was still awake. i casually told him, i took chemo instead of heart medication. he causually responded with a "that's not good, you should get some rest."

so, i did. i went to bed at 3:45am and was startled awake at 9:21........

i assure you, i can laugh about it now, but i'm pretty sure i have several more streaks of silver flowing among all the brunette. i seriously could have done without this story to tell.....and the extra silver hairs.

side note: we take every precaution we know of to make sure there are not medication mishaps in our household. having two children on daily medication and myself, there are lots of opportunities for error.

it happened this time, because i was too tired/lazy/cozy to go out to the car to get my strip of pre-sorted medicine that had fallen out of my purse. and i was half asleep while digging out the bottles. i deserve and epic fail stamped on my forehead.

we're open to suggestions if you have a fail-proof method/suggestion.....

1. i only get into my medicine bottles on sunday to sort them into a weekly pill strip. the bottles stay together in one basket, the strip goes everywhere with me in my purse.

2. our pharmacy puts pink lids on bottles during breast cancer month----last year, i asked for a few extras to keep around. the medication bottles we have for the girls are the ONLY prescriptions with pink lids. we just swap out the white lid on each refill and replace with the pink lid.

3. my prescriptions have ONLY white lids.

4. the kids bottles stay together on a shelf....not in the basket of my pills.

5. when we dose the kids, we check the label, take the medicine out and prior to giving it to them, recheck the label again.


  1. I hate it when I know 'something is not right' but I am too tired to 'really care' ... I am almost always right! Which then is more time consuming or mentally exhausting than to correct in the first place. (does that even make sense?... anyhoo....)
    Go with your intuition next time that something isn't right!
    How did you get her meds though if you don't put hers in with yours in the basket?
    Just wondering and so glad you are okay!

  2. melanie....i wondered the same thing myself. when i went back to check the strength of the medicine for Poison Control, i realized her bottle had a white lid, not pink. we had filled it a few days prior and not changed the lid to pink. so it was in with my medicines. :(

    again, EPIC FAIL. :(

    but, yes. i'm okay and no longer feel sick to my stomach over it.

  3. Oh, Tania. I am so glad everything is okay, but sorry you had this mis-hap - talk about anxiety producing - which you don't need for certain. Accidents happen - it's all part of life. Glad to hear you are feeling better about it. :)

  4. HOW SCARY! I am so glad everyone is ok from the med mishap. I just wish you all didn't need so many. That would be even better!

    Lots of hugs!


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