I took R to the doc on Monday after he was sent home from school for coughing too much. Short version of the sickness, he’s had a cough for 3-4 weeks and has been 2 x to our doc, who says it’s just his annual winter asthma. But at this second visit he decides, reluctantly, to put him on an antibiotic to clear up a mild sinus infection that’s ‘driving the asthma’ – although it’s very mild, no fever etc.
So we head to the pharmacy and R580 later (this on top of the R200 doctor’s fee) we emerge with 5 different medicines, two of which are to combat side effects from other meds, and I start R off on the first batch that night, and the next morning, and again he has some at lunchtime, going on the doses the pharmacy has put on the lables.
My dad is a retired GP. He’s old school, and old. He also has Parkinson’s, and his memory is going fast, to the point where it won’t be much longer when he can no longer go out alone without getting lost.
So when he comments, mildly, from the couch last night when I go to have dinner with him and mom and pick up R, that the dose of the penicillin seems rather high, my first instinct is, I’m afraid to say, to ignore him. Not rudely, just not to pay close attention.
But something prompts me, this time, to ask what he means. He says that in his day they used to give Adults 250 mg of the penicillin 3 x a day, whereas R is on 2 x 500mg, 3 times a day. And he’s only 11.
Meaning he’s on 3 GRAMS a day, whereas an adult, according to my dad, would only be on 750 mg…
So I ask Dr Google, and he agrees with my dad. It’s now 10 to 8 in the evening and R is sitting with 2 more of the capsules in his hand, waiting to take them. I stall him and call the emergency pharmacy that’s open till 8.
The pharmacist asks lots of questions about R’s height, weight, other meds and how severe the infection is. I tell him, not severe at all, in fact the doc’s own words were that he doesn’t REALLY need it and is only being put on it to help clear up the asthma. That he was actually reluctant to put him on it at all…
Pharmacist says the dose is WAY too high and not to give him any more till later on today, then make it 1 x 500mg a day, and mentions that’s still high.
So: do I blame our doctor, who has been our doc for 10 years, knows our whole family, is still young enough to be ‘with it’ – in fact his kids are younger than mine – but isn’t straight out of med school, and who I would trust with my life?
Was he tired because we saw him at the end of a long day?
Or was it the pharmacist who gave us the pills that got the script wrong?
And how could he have?
I’ve emailed my doctor with an un-accusing, mild, ‘is this definitely the correct dose?’ query, still waiting to hear back.
But I am freaked out – IF my dad hadn’t noticed the dosage, IF he hadn’t said anything, IF I’d ignored him – in fact IF I, like so many other parents, didn’t have a medical person in my family to bring this to my attention – my boy would have been on a hefty dose of medicine for 7 days!
I’m also extremely greatful to God and my dad that we found out before too long.