Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Amoxicillin for Toothaches?!

The Year Level 5: ICC Year blog posts - stories and anecdotes, patient encounters and hospital drama, and the many colors of UP med school from the perspective of a third year. Here's the very first entry, under our two-week rotation with the Family Medicine section of the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

We had our very first one-on-one with patients today at Tondo's Canossa Health and Social Center, which is affiliated in a way that's not crystal-clear to me (yet) with PGH's Department of Family Medicine. The Center, which is run by the Canossian sisters, is sort of a "last frontier," a few square spaces of peace and relatively fresh air right smack at the heart of the urban-poor communities near the notorious Smoky Mountain. It's mostly an out-patient center, but there are also basic lab facilities, x-ray rooms, and delivery rooms, among others.  

Enter Mary Louise (not her real name), who has had generalized back pain for the past six months because: (a) she sleeps on an uncushioned wooden board of a bed; (b) she does not stretch upon waking in the morning; and (c) she has been unsuccessful in her attempt to finish a certain Zumba workout video featuring Jackie Lou Blanco. In her spare time, which she said she has a lot as a stay-at-home mom, she paints.

We sent her home without meds, just advice on proper stretching. But she also told me that she's been having a sort of toothache for the past week, and that to relieve this, she's been taking a cocktail of amoxicillin and mefenamic acid, and it has so far been a success. Who put her on this regimen? No one, not even a shred of prescription - she just goes to the corner pharmacy and buys the drugs when she feels like it.

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