©Jeanne E Webster
I had a problem with my right ear last week so the doctor called in a prescription for my infection. I faithfully picked it up and drove home. The medicine was a small bottle of an antibiotic, with directions to install 2 drops of it into the ear canal three times a day for a week. So I henceforth began my treatment. While lying on my side waiting for those 2 drops to slowly creep down into the depths, unknown but to a doctor, I grabbed that multipage leaflet of “Patient Information” that was attached. Attached to what I don’t really know. I think I would have proofread it and edited that verb, as the leaflet was not attached to anything; it merely lay in the box. Also, while on the subject of editing, the pharmaceutical company termed the paper as a “leaflet,” which it certainly was not. I reworded it—“booklet!”
I’m happy I majored in English. Little did I know as a little girl how much I would need a good handle on that subject. It has seen me through many a misunderstanding and debate. Of course, I must admit, it has also instigated many a misunderstanding and/or debate also. Within this petite aging body is a little being that cannot function well until all the “t”s are dotted and the “i”s are crossed—oh, you know what I mean! I need to know every detail of whatever force I’m dealing with in order to understand exactly what is going on. Got it? You know . . . all the why’s, where’s, what’s, who’s, and when’s. It is my nature to pickle my brain in semantics.
Anyway, where was I? Yes, I was reading the “Patient Information Leaflet” that was attached. It was about the size of a road map, with several folds included, all in English. (I think a few words in italics and parentheses were foreign) Anyway, I read about the prescribing information, what it used for, the dosage and strengths it comes in. Next came the greater part of the thesis, dealing with the contraindications. I almost took a nap during this exercise.
Then the text shortened up to a few final topics: warnings, precautions, adverse reactions and use in specific populations. The last one peaked my natural curiosity.
First was Nursing Mothers. I slid out of that easily enough. Not applicable anymore. Second was Pediatric Use. Long gone. I was over 65 now. Then staring me in the face in bold print was Geriatric Use. Hmm. Pondering this term I at once realized I had grown out of the General Population , Nursing Mothers, Pediatric groups into new unfamiliar territory—Geriatrics. Studies had been performed on the elderly (geriatric) and results were still up for grabs due to insufficient numbers of subjects 65 or over. Now I’m all in a quandary.
Does that mean many of us geriatrics aren’t living long enough to test study?
Is the medicine not strong enough to combat the problem?
Is the medicine too strong and doing us geriatrics in?
Where were these eardrops manufactured? Are they going to make me deaf?
Is the doctor really aware that………….
Hmm. So I’m a geriatric, huh? I’m going to have to look into that. What happened to “senior citizen”?