My Diabetes Team—The Pharmacist
In a couple of my earlier posts, I have talked about who was on my diabetes team. Your team may be similar or may include more professionals. I’m pretty lucky so far, my team is small. When I think of my team, I think of the obvious people: the doctors, the registered dietitian, etc. One of the professionals I never read about is the pharmacist. Now for some of you, Big Pharma is, or has been, an issue whether the issue is political or experiential. Since by nature, I’m not a political person, I’m going to talk about my experience. I’ll stick mainly to the experience dealing with my type 2 diabetes.
Importance of the pharmacist in diabetes management
Generally speaking, I love a couple of my pharmacists. I say ‘a couple’ because it just depends on who is on when I need to ask questions. “L” is my favorite. She happens to be the owner of the franchise store, which is part of a big chain. Why do I mention this? Well, because I think it’s important. I think the type of service you receive as a customer tells you a lot about who is at the top, and who they hire. Skill is one thing, ‘people skills’ is another. I have changed pharmacies on more than one occasion if I didn’t feel I got the education I needed from the pharmacist or if I didn’t like some of the practices. I have choice. I exercise that.
Details about medications
I think in order to be a pharmacist you have to be smart, very smart (sure as heck smarter than I am). Many are also Certified Diabetic Educators (CDE). I rely on L and her team to help me with any questions I have about the meds I’m on. For example, when the doctor starts you on meds for the big D, it’s ((understated)) ‘helpful’ to know what the drug is, how it works, side effects, how and when to take it, etc. Many doctors are good at explaining all of this. Many can tell you in detail. Others, not so much. They rely on the pharmacist to inform you of the details of the med. At my pharmacy, if you are put on a new drug, the pharmacy assistants let the pharmacist know it’s new for you. The pharmacist takes you aside and talks to you about the new med before they put it in your hands, giving you the information I just mentioned. Several times I have giggled to myself because the doctor had already told me all of this. But what if the doctor hadn’t, or couldn’t? The importance of the pharmacist can’t be understated.
Understanding medication interactions
Now the picture gets bigger as my diabetes progresses, or ((clearing throat)) as I get older. My D-plan requires perhaps more meds than just my diabetes ones, maybe a cholesterol med or a blood pressure med to protect my heart. I think we all know the impact diabetes can have on our heart so these drugs often go hand in hand. More drugs means potentially more interactions between those drugs. More drugs can also mean more confusion. Some work better in the morning, others at night. Yes, I’m told this at the doctor’s office but sometimes, I forget by the time I’ve hit the parking lot. Too much on my mind. I rely on the pharmacist to reinforce what’s already been taught. I rely on the pharmacist to give me what the doctor hasn’t or can’t.
The pharmacist has an extensive knowledge base and can teach me about my meds. The more you educate me, the better. The more you educate me, the safer I am. And, the more I’m empowered. I trust my pharmacist. I am very pleased to have her on my team.
Have you experienced any complications associated with your diabetes?