• Megan Rose

Spoonful of Sugar

I take nine pills in the morning and seven pills at night. I hate taking them. I hate having to wake up at a certain time every morning to make sure I swallow a mouthful of meds before it gets too late and my day gets completely thrown off. I always take my pills - both in the morning and at night - before I brush my teeth. Sometimes a powdery tablet scrapes down your esophagus leaving a trail of sandy sludge behind and you retch and gag until you find something to wash it down with - usually water doesn't work for me; I have to find a piece of chocolate or something to choke down to get the taste of medicated crumbs off of my tongue.

It's safe to say if I had a choice between taking pills or not taking them, I wouldn't. If I didn't have to dole out all of my pills every week, counting the pills that are in each section to make sure there are no mistakes, checking to see what prescriptions need refilling or if I need a doctor appointment, and trying to twist the CVS pharmacy pill bottle caps off of the bottle without getting a hand cramp; if I didn't have to swallow a colorful assortment of chemicals every morning, gulping them down barely after I open my eyes, counting them in my hand before I place them under my tongue and chugging half a bottle of water; if I didn't have to see a psychiatrist every three months just to get the tools I need to live a semi-normal semi-healthy life, I would feel so free.

I never understood the big deal people would make if they learned they had to take a pill for the rest of their life - what's the big deal? You just have to take a pill every day and it'll solve your problems.

I still don't understand that complaint. You keep a bottle of pills out on the counter and in the morning when you wake up, you take it. When you start to run out you call the pharmacy. I don't know why that's such a struggle or hindrance or even inconvenience. If all I had to do to feel normal was take one pill every morning, I would jump for joy.

I did begin to understand why some people get frustrated taking medications when I graduated from a pill case with a single row to a pill case with four rows. Suddenly it's not about a single pill or even two pills changing the very structure of your biology so that you're healthier, it's about the constant reminder that you'll never be "normal."

Maybe that's how the people who take one pill a day too. I don't know. But I know a lot of people who take medication, and it's much more normal to take one or two pills a day for a thyroid issue or a metabolism problem or an allergy than taking 16 pills a day to regulate your mood and sleep cycle and prevent you from having a seizure. If I forget or skip just a single pill, my entire week can come crashing down as my mood and sleep schedule get completely out-of-whack. I could suddenly develop side effects from a medication I've been taking for years and have to stop something that's pivotal in my treatment. I can develop long-term problems from the medication I'm on, but my doctor and I have decided that the benefits of what I'm taking outweigh the risks. I fully expect to develop long-term effects and dangerous illnesses from the very medication that is saving my life. I've gained almost 50 pounds over the years, and I know most of it is because of the medication.

I put all of that in the back of my mind, though, when I wake up every morning and force the pills down my throat. I put all that in the back of my mind when I taste the toxic tablet excess that disintegrates on my tongue. I put that in the back of my mind when I talk to my doctor and tell her what I need refilled. I put that in the back of my mind when I refill my pill case and count each capsule. I push that all into the far recesses of my mind when I go to the store and pick up five prescriptions at once, because I know that for me, the closest to normal I will ever get is how I feel when I am fully medicated. My normal is my old self at 50% at most, and my medication makes that possible. I hate taking my pills. But I am so grateful for them.

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