Fair warning: if you don’t like to hear about anybody’s bodily functions, skip this one.
Anybody with half a brain could tell you this, but you need to know the names of the medications you take, even those you only use occasionally – especially if you buy store-brand generics. I thought I remembered the generic name for Immodium (it’s loperamide HCl, btw), so when I was sick with some stomach bug yesterday, I popped two loratadine tablets and waited for the diarrhea to pass. After about 2 hours, I took another one when it hadn’t gone away. Then by 8PM I was suffering a brutal sinus headache, barely able to move my head. If I sneezed or tried to blow my nose, it felt like I was bashing my skull against the wall. When I complained to Jennie that my sinuses were killing me, she asked if I had taken any Sudafed yet. I replied that I hadn’t, and went to see if we had any in the bathroom.
At this point, I finally found the empty box to go with that the blister pack I had been popping pills from that morning. Turns out, loratadine is the generic of Claritin, which has a dosage of 1 tablet per 24 hour period. I don’t generally do well with anti-histamines anyway, since they close everything off and dry you out, and here I was, having taken triple the daily dose. The really scary part is, what if my diarrhea hadn’t gone away after that third dose? I might have won myself a trip to the hospital.
Anyway, the lesson I learned is: don’t ever take it for granted that you remember what the generic term for an over-the-counter medication is, unless you take it all the time (like, in my case, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are not likely to get me confused). Keep your blister-packs with the boxes, so you have a reminder of the trade-name equivalent and the proper dosages.