Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why I Should Quit My Job and Write for Women's Magazines

I don't chew out my patients much, but this is one thing they get yelled at for: Taking "innocent" overdoses of (especially over-the-counter) meds. By innocent I mean, they don't intend to kill themselves, or even necessarily to get off into some blissful state. They just decide if two Tylenol isn't helping much, then maybe four will do the trick, and maybe every two or three hours instead of every four to six. I march those people right over to the lab--after a brief raking over the coals--to draw their blood STAT and make sure they are not about to die. They act like "What? It's just Tylenol!" which just happens to be the number two (or is it number one now?) cause of acute liver failure/need for liver transplant in the U.S. these days.

Want to knock out your kidneys or bleed to death? Help yourself to extra Advil (ibuprofen) for a few days. Want to see what Reye Syndrome looks like? Give your child Excedrin Migraine, which contains aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine, in flu season. By the way, we're likely to be in a perpetual flu season for the foreseeable future, so please, just don't do it! Read labels, and if you want to depart from their advice in any way, consider taking less, not more. I mean, it, people. You want to see me mad?

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