Many of us take medications every day. Do you know what yours look like? If you were admitted to the hospital, could you tell them what and how much you currently take? The next morning, when they brought it to you in a little cup, would you recognize it and now that it was, indeed, yours?

Some years ago my friend’s Mom was living in an assisted living facility. When the little cup containing her medications was delivered, she refused to take them and said that they weren’t hers. A back-and-forth discussion ensued, with her claiming the medications weren’t hers and the staff worker insisting that they were.

Do you know what your medications look like? If someone else brings them, do you look at them before taking them? Would you have the nerve to resist if they didn’t look correct to you? Would you persist and insist that they be checked? This is important.

The nurse was eventually called, and the resident continued to insist that the medications be checked, because they weren’t hers. Finally that is exactly what happened. The medications weren’t hers. The correct medications were brought; she checked again; and she took them.

You must safeguard your own health more than anyone else does! That medication error wasn’t made deliberately, but the consequences could have been dangerous, or even fatal, for the patient who took the wrong medication.

What steps can you take today to ensure that you can recognize your medications and know if you’re given the wrong ones? Here are a couple of suggestions: 1) Count them–know how many pills or capsules there should be and 2) Look closely at them. Know what color each one is, what shape, how big or small.

Never take medication that isn’t yours!