Less fine print please!

January 15, 2016
Yellow syrup being poured from a brown bottle into a plastic spoon.

 

As the father of a soon-to-be four-year-old child, I have become accustomed to the idea that kids get sick a lot. The minute a bug is in the air, they get it. I suppose this is the process by which children build up their immune systems, so that when they get older they are better able to deal with these nasty bugs that go around.

Because my boy occasionally gets ill, I stock up on medication because you never know what you might need. Another truth about kids is that they hardly ever get sick during the daytime, it's almost always at night, late at night. Many parents can relate to stories about taking their kids to hospital in the dead of night. I remember when Chase had dengue and was wailing like a banshee in the middle of the night and I had to take him the Bustamante Hospital for Children. It was raining cats and dogs that night. When I got to the hospital about 3 a.m., there were dozens of parents there with their ailing kids waiting to see the doctor.

 

nightmare experience

 

We opted to return home. We resorted to giving the baby some Panadol, got his temperature down and waited until sunrise before he took him to the University Hospital of the West Indies, which was another nightmare experience, but that is for another time.

So, on any given day or night, I have Children's Panadol, Histatussin, Kids Vitamins, rehydration fluids and other types of medication 'on call' because you never know and it's better to have something than nothing at all. If you call a doctor late at night and he or she happens to answer the phone, they will usually ask if you have this or that type of medication that can work as a 'stop-gap' measure until they can get to see the child.

This is all part of what it takes to be a good and caring parent. But the one thing I wish is that the drug manufacturers could help me out a little bit with the print on the medication boxes and on the plastic measures they give you to dispense their medicines.

Have you ever tried to read the instructions on a the sachets of Panadol or on the box carrying the liquid version? I remember one night trying to read them and I felt like I was blind. I even took my glasses off and cleaned them and still couldn't read the thing. Luckily, I found a magnifying glass and that helped immensely. And if that was not bad enough, the measurements on the little plastic measures are even more difficult to read. You can barely make up what is 5mls, 10mls or 15mls. Sometimes I try to hold the cup up to the light, hoping to get some clarity, but rarely with any luck.

 

conspiracy

 

The thing is in the daytime it is bad enough, but at night it's even worse. Sometimes you feel like it's a conspiracy, like dem want to kill off you pickney. I mean, you are already stressed out about your child being ill, crying and you are worrying about whether what is ailing him or her is life threatening. As such, you want to get some medicine inside them as quickly as possible because it might be the difference between life and death. Yes, that's how parents think when they are tending to sick children.

The last thing you want to be doing then is worrying whether or not you have overdosed your child with medicine that is intended to help.

With all these things in mind, the least these drug companies can do is make your life a little easier by ensuring that you can read the instructions and not have to worry about whether you have just killed your child.

Send comments to levyl1@hotmail.com.

Other Commentary Stories