Aging Well in the Gorge June 2nd 2021

How many drug ads can you tolerate during the evening news? Boniva, Celebrex, Fosamax, Lunesta, Nexium, Paxil, Eliquis – all describing how they will improve your health and well-being. And hidden at the end are the possible side effects: nausea and diarrhea; incontinence and constipation, sleeplessness and drowsiness; bad dreams and bad luck. But what do you really know about these wonder drugs?

Before you take any medication be a smart consumer and educate yourself first. Check out the website MedlinePlus hosted by the National Library of Medicine where you can find trusted health related information. But the best option is to ask your primary care provider, dentist, or pharmacist, so you can get the most benefit and prevent dangerous drug interactions.

But what should you ask? Here are ten questions from “Educate before you Medicate” created by the Medication Safety Project.

1) What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do? Basic stuff but often overlooked.

2) When and how do I take it? Make sure you understand the instructions.

3) How long do I take the medicine? Always finish your medicines unless otherwise advised by your healthcare provider.

4) Does this medicine contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction? Don’t forget to describe any pass reactions you have had to medications.

5) Should I avoid alcohol, any other medicines, foods and/or activities? You don’t want any unexpected reactions.

6) Should I expect any side effects from this medicine? Also find out who you should call if you experience any of the symptoms or have questions.

7) What if I forget to take my medicine? For some medicines missing even one day can be important. And never double your medication without consulting your healthcare provider.

8) Is there a generic version of this medicine that can be prescribed? A way to save money when the cost of prescription drugs can be prohibitive.

9) How should I store the medicine? Always keep medicines away from heat, light and moisture.

10) Is it safe to become pregnant or breast feed while taking this medicine? Probably not a problem for anyone reading this column!

No drug is without risk. It is always a balance between the benefits and the side effects. But it is your body, so do not hesitate to learn more about the medications you are taking.

Now how do you pay for these medications? Well, it’s complicated, as Sue Ann Arguelles points out in this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder.” Sue Ann is the area coordinator for the SHIBA program in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam County that provides free Medicare counseling by trained volunteer counselors. For your Medicare questions call 541 288-8341.

The name of the comedian, singer, and pianist who frequently interrupted his performance with the line, “STOP–da music, everybody!” and invariably ended his show with “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” was Jimmy Durante – the Great Schnozzola. (For those who are wondering, the best guess is “Mrs. Calabash” was his late wife Jeanne Olson.)

I received correct answers from Susan Elllis, Clare Zumwalt, Gene Uczen, Rhonda Spies, Mike Carrico, Lana Tepfer, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tina Castanares, Jim Stager, Doug Nelson, Tiiu Vahtel, Margo Dameier, and Kathy Vukelich this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I’ve missed Steve Nybroten.

Actor Jim Backus is probably best known for playing Thurston Howell III on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island,but he was also the voice of a popular cartoon character. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the wealthy, short-statured cartoon character who gets into a series of comical situations because of his extreme near-sightedness and made worse by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of W. C. Fields one of the inspirations for the character.

Well, it has been another week living in the now because I can’t remember the past and the future is too far away. Until we meet again, I’ve found if my wife asks if I could take out the trash, she is just giving me the illusion I have a choice.

“When we age, we shed many skins: ego, arrogance, dominance, pessimism, rudeness, selfish, uncaring … Wow, it’s good to be old!” – Stephen Richards

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