Fulfilling my duties as the first grandchild prompted my visit to Abeokuta one rainy day. I arrived at my grandmother’s house and retrieved the keys where Nana had kept them for me, prior to her visit to the hospital. Nana is known to be neater than a pin and kinder than an angel, so it was strange o see her house not sparkling clean.
‘Taahhh, that girl!’, I hissed.
Nana’s help had quit without notice, and considering Nana’s health, she couldn’t do much housework. Just when I finished cleaning up the house, Nana arrived, happy to see me but very tired. At exactly seven o’clock, just after dinner, I headed to her room to give her her medication. Nana’s medication was in a medium-sized bag with a large ‘Rx’ sign on it. The bag contained three different drugs and I found no prescription in the bag. ‘Nana, how do you take your drugs?’
‘One is one morning, the white one is two, two, the other one is two at night’, she replied.
None of the drugs was ‘white’ but considering Nana’s poor eyesight, I assumed the faintly yellow pill could pass for white. So, I gave Nana two tablets of each drug. How wrong I was!
A few hours later, Nana vomited a third time and she was trembling violently. I covered her up with a thick blanket but the tremors and vomiting continued. Then, I knew we needed help. By the time our ride arrived and got to the hospital, Nana was hallucinating. She was immediately taken to the emergency ward and an infusion was set up for her. I was beside myself in sorrow but luckily, I had been sober enough to bring along Nana’s medicine bag. The doctor was shocked when I narrated our story and showed him Nana’s medication bag. He wrote a new prescription which I headed to the pharmacy with. Nana’s case was a wild one because there hadn’t been any ‘white one’ in that bag. Nana had run out of the ‘white one’ before my visit and had not refilled it. Of all the drugs I administered, Nana had been asked to discontinue one of them. Thus, Nana suffered an overdose and an adverse reaction from the drug she had been asked to stop taking. Poor Nana! Silly me!
At the pharmacy, I saw a pamphlet on ‘overdose, overdosage and overdosing’ and the pharmacist had gone an extra mile explaining how best to administer Nana’s drugs. I read the pamphlet and saw that I had accidentally overdosed my Nana. I saw that other symptoms of overdose included: drowsiness, agitations, loss of consciousness, and tremors. Management procedures include; the use of activated charcoal, inducing vomiting, and pumping the stomach to expel the drug. Digesting more information from the pamphlet, I was too sure I had gained an indelible lesson on the importance of dosing.
Thus, I say this to you and I say this to all who would listen, flee from drug overdose!
Eze, Oluebubechukwu P.
Writer @ pharmahub