Medication Administration Records (MAR)s

Springtime in the South. I call it “Sneezin’ Season” because the pollen drives my allergies into hyperactive overdrive.

I take one sinus pill at 5:30 in the morning and a different medicine before I go to bed. These are the only medicines I take and they are different colors, different shapes, are in different packages and are dispensed differently. One is in a bottle, the other is sealed in individual packs. No way I could get them confused.

Last evening, I did.

And before I was through, I wasn’t sure if I had taken the proper nighttime medicine or had taken my morning medicine at night. I wasn’t even certain I had taken anything at all!

After scratching my head over what I had actually done, to avoid an overdose, I decided to take nothing (even though I thought I might not have had anything).

I was right. I really had taken nothing. I woke up sniffly and sneezy this morning. I simply confused myself into not taking my nighttime sinus medicine.

I told my wife about my self-inflicted confusion and she laughed. “Imagine how difficult it is to keep it straight when you take all the medicines I take!” She continued, “Sometimes I know I miss taking a medicine because I can’t remember if I’ve taken it or not. So I don’t because I don’t want to take too much. And I wind up taking nothing!”

I got no sympathy from her. Me talking to her about medication confusion is like talking to Noah about too much rain.

But she’s correct. It’s easy to lose track of what medicines one has taken. And the more there are to take, the more opportunities one has for confusion.

I’ve worked for more than 20 years at a children’s home. Our nurses monitor medication administration with documents called MARs (Medication Administration Records). Each time a child receives a medicine, he or she initials the MAR in the proper medicine/date/time location. It’s a record of exactly what was taken and when.

I have no doubt that a personalized Medication Administration Record book will be needed at my house in the future. But after last night, I’m not sure which of us will need it first!

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