This is a case of miscommunication regarding taking medication. I had a patient who just had hemorrhoid surgery, and the surgeon ordered pain medication for him. During the patient’s first return visit to my office, I was discussing the outcome with him. He said, “Terri, I still have much anal pain. I am taking my pain medication, but it doesn’t work.” I asked if he was taking the medication 3 times per day as ordered. He said, “Yes, I put them in with the cream on my finger. But they don’t work.” Of course, he was taking the medication incorrectly, but I did not want to add anything to his embarrassment, so I told him to try taking the medication orally and I would see him in 1 week. Next visit, he shyly said to me, “I was taking them wrong, wasn’t I?” I said, “Well, yes, but you didn’t know and your surgery was anal, so anyone could have made that mistake.” He felt much better.

All patients do not know HOW to take medications. We assume they know, but here is one patient who did not know. —TERRI JORDAN, ARNP, Daytona Beach, Fla. (212-4)


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