Tag Archives: seniors health

Only Child does more consumer advocacy

Only child ready to confront companies who mess up life her way

Only child ready to confront companies who mess up

Businesses, government and utilities screwing up keep me on my toes. I like to pick my battles because you can’t deal with everything. However, lately, the screw-ups have been coming too fast and furious and I’ve had to take action for my own benefit.

Here’s the scoop on one of them.

The company?  Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Formerly Swiss Herbal, but taken over a few years ago by that drug company (Swiss Herbal is a division of Valeant). That should say it all. After the big takeover, many natural supplements (including one that I was taking) disappeared off their roster. When I contacted the company about it, the response was anything but helpful until I pushed.

Last week I had another confrontation with Valeant This time the natural supplement Micro-Lactin which I take to keep the osteo-arthritis in my neck and joint pain in my right hand (and yes, I am right-handed) at bay, seemed to be gone from the usual retail outlets where I purchase it. The Big Carrot had ordered more in March 21 and when I was in their dispensary, it was March 29 – even the clerk there thought that was too long. Healthy Planet had none in and when I followed up to put in a special order the next day (by phone), and they tried to do so, they couldn’t. The nutritionist there called me back and told me there was a problem at Valeant as they were temporarily out of stock and didn’t know when the item would be back in stock. She advised me to find a place that still has some and to stock up.

I did that and one better.

First, I let Mr. Google help here.

A check with the Healthy Planet chain website showed that the product Micro Lactin was “out of stock.” Big sign under the product picture and caption. But when I went to Valeant, nothing about the product being out of stock. Just the product picture and caption. But they even had the nerve to put the company history upfront (under About US)  – back when it wasn’t owned by a drug company and was just Swiss Herbal in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

I was out for blood, so to speak. But first to get my supplements.

Mr. Google helped me out again and I found a pharmacy not far from me that carried it (even with a $10. online coupon – but for in-store purchase only). So I phoned them and the fellow I talked to said they could order it in and it would be in the next day. I told him about the out of stock business but he seemed to think they could get it in. I decided to do a “wait and see.”

Meantime I went after Valeant. After much pressing and getting transferred to their complaint department,I tried to get some answers. The reason it was out of stock was vague -something to do with manufacturers – yeah, pass the buck. I did find out they would have more in stock April 4 and with enough pushing about the pharmacy that was ordering it in – I gave them the pharmacy name Pharma Choice, and she said she would put a rush on the order there. I also launched a formal complaint about no notice on their website about the product being temporarily out of stock and that I had to find this out from going to the Healthy Planet website.

So, complaint went in.

Today, April 4, I checked the company product website. And they have temporarily out of stock posted with the product.

And when I phoned the pharmacy back on the Friday I planned to pick it up, the lady who answered the phone said it was in. I said I’d be down there that day before their closing at 5.30 p.m. but unfortunately with bus problems and the fellow I had previously talked to at the pharmacy giving me a wrong location (don’t they know where they are?) I couldn’t make it on time. But after an apology phone call to them on Saturday and getting correct location, I headed out there yesterday and got my Micro Lactin with the $10. off.

Lesson to be learned.

Businesses etc. need to be more open to customers. Sure, problems can occur with products, but if you don’t let people know right away right upfront, that creates bad business, no goodwill and bad reputation for the company. It also wastes consumers` time.

I will still buy Swiss Micro Lactin – my arthritis needs it.

How do you handle screw-ups with businesses, utilities and government. Let`s get a dialogue going here about this. We can all learn from each other.

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Consumer action, Health, Life demands, Only child, Problems

Only Child on Seniors and Falls

Only Child and Mom before the arthritis took its toll on Mom

Only Child and Mom before the arthritis took its toll on Mom

My late mother had a few scary falls as she neared senior’s age and the short time after when she was still alive. I remember her falling going up the basement stairs. She was watching a TV show and they were offering a prize. You had to phone in right away to win. So Mom charged up the stairs.

Shortly after she had a phone extension put in downstairs.

But the really bad falls came after she got arthritis, particularly the last year of her life. She fell on the three steps at the entrance to her sister’s farmhouse. This was a new house, not some rambling old structure. The killing fall came a few months before her death. I was out with friends and when I came home she told me she had fallen off the vanity bench in her bedroom and banged her head.

Flash forward almost four months. One Saturday morning I got up – not early – and found no coffee on and Mom not even up. She was still in her bed and as we later learned in a coma. I called the family doctor who rushed over. He figured she’d had a stroke and called an ambulance. By that time my fiance had arrived and the two of us rode in the ambulance with Mom. The doctor followed.

Mom had a brain aneurysm so the doctors operated on her brain. She never came out of the coma and died five days later.

The official cause of death was brain aneurysm, but I know her falls from arthritis killed her.

Apparently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees with my falls assessment. According to them, 2.5 million get treated in hospital emergency because they fell. Hip fractures aren’t just from old arthritic bones but 95 per cent of the time it’s a fall that causes the hip fracture.

Scary stuff. And I’m well on the way in the falling down department – even going back to soon after I moved back to Toronto. It seemed that every winter I fell outside – in slush, on ice. And I was in my early 50s then. Of course I complained to the city, to the Mayor, about the city workers not doing their job cleaning the streets and sidewalks property (one was at a major intersection).

Now, I’m falling in the summer. Tripping over paper hanging wire left by some careless jerk on the sidewalk. Even tripping over the large black walnuts dumped by squirrels in my lawn. For the latter I landed on soft grass and in a bed of black-eyed susans. But both the squirrels and the unknown jerk got cursed.

Inside the house I’ve fallen a few times, missing a step – on carpeted stairs. Then there is the bathtub. When I finally got my main handyman Mike here on Friday, I had him install two hand bars on the tub wall. And I will continue my practice of holding onto railings when going up and down stairs at home and in subway stations. Particularly the latter as my son fell down a few subway stairs and broke his ankle earlier in the summer. He is 37.

The CDC offers several tips to help prevent falls. Besides the bathroom bars, they also include getting your eyes tested annually (which I do), check for carpets you could trip over; check with your pharmacist for any medications you are taking that could make you sleepy or dizzy. And take extra Vitamin D. We don’t get enough in the nearly sunless winter months. I know that for a fact as three years ago I suffered from Vitamin D deficiency. Some days the pain in my bones was so bad I could hardly walk. I knew it wasn’t arthritis as the pain wasn’t in my joints but in my calf bones. Upping the Vitamin D dose a lot fixed that one.

So, you need to be vigilant about falls and possible causes. That won’t cover the weird like picture  hanging wire. Maybe the action here is to make sure you don’t just leave loose or carelessly throw something that someone could trip over.

God won’t necessarily have your back. That 95 per cent statistic proves that.

Read more of the CDC article at

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Balance, Falls prevention, God, Health, Health Seniors, Mother, Old Age, Only child, Seniors, Seniors and falls, Vitamin D Deficiency, winter falls

Only Child looks at distraction causes

Only Child literally got a wake up call this morning

Only Child literally got a wake up call this morning

Lately I have moments of sudden distraction with upsetting results. My mind will run around in circles or be over-focused on a problem or an item on my to-do list. Then I go to do something you usually would do automatically. And I mess up.

The scary part is I am not aware of doing the automatic function incorrectly. Until it is done.

The latest was preparing to cook rice in my rice cooker. I had removed the inside pot to fill it with the rice and water. Instead I poured the rice and water into the main cooker. That is the part the instructions tell you not to immerse in water.

I discovered the mistake right away and dumped everything out. I dried the outside and inside of the rice cooker, scooped up what I could of the rice from its dumping point, washed it yet again. This time I put it and the water into the actual pot. Placed the pot into the rice cooker, put the lid on and plugged it in.

Some people would not take this chance of getting electrocuted or having the whole thing explode or burn. I was willing to do that because I was angry that this had happened and I didn’t want the hassle etc. of replacing the rice cooker. The cooker was also a gift a few years ago from my son. And being of “a certain age” I sometimes don’t care about consequences and just act.

I was also very hungry. And there may lie the problem. Hunger plus not enough sleep. Throw in too much to concern myself with and you have a cognitive behaviour alert. Not dementia – not yet anyway.

My late mother had a few of these “senior moments.” The one that sticks in my mind is when she hauled the bacon instead of the steak out of the freezer. She might have been heading for Alzheimer’s. It certainly runs on her side of the family – those with Strauss blood in their veins. But Mom died at 63 of a brain aneurysm so it was too soon to tell.

I have a lot of malnutrition problems cause by IBS and just getting older. As you age your digestive system can’t digest food as well as when you are younger. And don’t tell me to take digestive tablets. Tried that and while some may work for a few weeks, after that they register nil. So I have to eat small snacks in between meals. Often I forget or what sometimes happens I am running necessary errands which go into the supper time, mainly because of time and the time part often has to do with when the stores close. If a store closes at 7 p.m. you have to get their before and when you are working all day (albeit it from a home office) you tend to dash off doing those errands – some business related – before dinner. I also don’t like early evening meetings either unless they include dinner or large amounts of snack food that I can eat. (Gluten-free). I also haven’t been getting enough sleep because of too much to do and sleep can also play havoc with your cognitive abilities. I got my wake-up call (literally) on that one this morning when I woke up 45 minutes late because I had forgotten to set the alarm. Obviously that is the length of time I need to sleep (although I felt groggy when I first got up until after a couple cups of java). When I got up this morning is too late for workdays, so I will have to go from the other end – get to bed sooner, which means something has to be done about that end of the “to do” list.

As for the rice cooker, I kept my attention on it and the cooker seemed to work fine and cooked my rice. Of course it was less rice and I hadn’t put the right amount of water in it. But when I added the steamer of vegetables that part also worked.

Now excuse me while I tackle more of the work part of my “to do” list. This afternoon I’m teaching a crafting a short story workshop at the library and I need time to eat lunch after I do a couple more things.

Any of you have similar experiences? What caused them? And what did you do?

Please comment.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Digestive disorder, Health Seniors, Malabsorption, Mother, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Time, Time management

Only Child on health of women living alone

Only Child and her parents when they were still alive and together

It is happening frequently. I find yet another woman, 60 and over, living alone who has escalating health issues. Last week, it was a writing colleague just diagnosed with Diabetes 2. She’s had some scary “nearly dying” experiences. Another writing colleague has food allergies and a thyroid condition.  Yet another has thyroid and eye problems. Still another has had many eye problems. Then there is my friend with the back problem who was mentioned in a recent post. And me –maybe I have some nerve complaining of my health issues compared to what other women have to contend with. For what it’s worth I have a lot of foot problems, IBS, osteoarthritis, and allergies. Mind you I’ve had the allergies for over 20 years, so that isn’t a seniors’ health issue.

These women and their health issues are only the tipping point of the list.

Does something about older women living alone bring on these health problems? Is it hereditary? Is it age?

All of the above, I think. I also believe that living alone can aggravate these conditions. When you have to cope alone and there is no one to lean on/to give support, the coping mechanisms go down, down, down. The “hope factor” also can take a big dive.

In the journal article “Perceptions of Living Alone Among Older Women” written by Elaine M. Eshbaugh of the University of Northern Iowa, 30  per cent of the women interviewed (there were only 53, so not a wide variety)  were afraid of falling or getting hurt. Eshbaugh also cites previous studies which found a couple of horrors – older women living alone are more likely to suffer from falls and other injuries, infections, and dehydration. When the medical services finally arrive they often find the women already dead. It’s not a case of who you going to call but who is going to call?  The article also cites a study of a group of older women with deteriorating health who lived alone in Baltimore. These women’s health became worse than their counterparts who lived with someone. The article was published in the Journal of Community Health Nursing in 2008 and can be viewed online at http://www.uni.edu/csbs/sites/default/files/u27/perceptions%20of%20living%20alone.pdf and also goes into the cultural aspects of why more women live alone now than in the past.

I find it interesting that the article’s title uses the word “perceptions.” This conjures up more questions: how much of ill health is related to our perception? If we always had a positive attitude about our health would that keep the health and injury issues away? Remember the 1960 movie Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills? Pollyanna fell when climbing down a tree and became paralyzed. But…Pollyanna had close family and friends (including the stern aunt she lived with) for support. Maybe “support” is the crucial factor. “Support” as in living with someone who is at least there if you fall, have a heart attack or suffer the side effects of chemo treatment for cancer. Just someone for the moral support can lessen the worry burden of going through the illness journey alone, although if my late mother were still alive she might disagree. After Dad died, Mom’s health deteriorated – arthritis and scleroderma appeared – she landed in the hospital several times, had to quit her job and was constantly in a negative complaining state. I lived with her and while I listened, I was in my late teens and early 20s, and definitely not my father. Or maybe after years of dealing with Dad’s cancer and other illnesses, once he was gone, she just gave up.

I’m also not sure my yo-yo attitude is the right one. I jump from worrying about the current health issue flaring up to being defiant. I will go for my walks and garden despite my foot problems. I will eat well and healthy despite my food allergies…but I am persistent in making sure I don’t get what I can’t eat when dining out. I’ve come a long way from when first diagnosed and I attended a meeting of volunteers. The only snacks available were baked goods (I’m allergic to wheat, barley and rye for starters). I remember the hostess, an elderly woman who lived alone, asking me “Well, what can you eat?” I’m not sure if her living alone is connected in any way to her take on food allergies. But this was 22 years ago when food allergies weren’t all that well known. However, today, despite all the publicity and change in gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. food available, there are still some people, particularly in the restaurant business, who are clueless. I won’t eat in some restaurants because of this attitude. Thank goodness many restaurants do go that extra mile to make sure that I, and others like me, don’t eat something that will make us sick or in some cases, kill us, especially if we live alone. We might not make it to the phone to call 911.

I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe it is partly something I mentioned in an earlier post. We need to connect more with our friends, particularly the older women living alone, to make sure they are all right. I’ve been guilty of not doing this because of the time factor. Perhaps this whole issue needs a slight switch in mindset – both on the part of the women living alone, their friends and family and yes the healthcare systems. Dumping sick and old women in a nursing home isn’t always the answer, although sometimes it is necessary, unfortunately.

I’m also wondering if in finding keys to living longer, we (the collective “we”) have not made it more difficult in some ways for older women living alone to enjoy life as much as possible.

Comments?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

1 Comment

Filed under Aloneness, Family and Friends, Health, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Living alone, Mom and Dad, Old Age, Older Women living alone and health, Only child, Seniors, Single women statistics