I’ve gotta admit it: I HATE filling up my pill minders each week.
The reasons for this are many, not the least of which is being reminded that I take enough meds to need the damned things in the first place. I also feel like I’m about eighty years old—I had to buy color-coded ones for the day and evening meds, because I got the clear ones mixed up a few times and took the nighttime meds in the morning (with predictably embarrassing results).
But the main reason I hate this weekly chore is that it’s simply a pain in the ass. Eleven prescriptions plus three over-the-counters equals a lot of labels that need to be read (with squinty eyes—why can’t they make these things in large print?!) and adult-proof bottles to be opened. Then, because I’m a nurse who’s very OCDish about not touching pills, I have to pour them out into the little boxes one at a time, which is quite a trick when they all want to come rushing out in a flood.
Sometimes, of course, I end up having to touch the pills anyway, which really is OK since I’m not giving them to anybody else. But I’ve been known to cuss a blue streak when they fall on the floor—in my house, there IS no five-second rule: if it hits the floor, it goes in the trash. No exceptions. Except….
Actually, there are two specific meds I will pick up and (ugh) use no matter where they land (other than the toilet, of course). One is Geodon, which is a little less than $4 per pill, and the other is Celexa….or rather, the half-dose of Celexa that I’m allowed. It’s cheap, but my p-doc watches me like a hawk with that one because the standard dose tipped me over into mania once; still, when I fell into a depression last winter, I asked him to increase it anyway.
The response I got was both immediate and vigorous: “I know what you want, and NO!!” He’s never liked prescribing it for me anyway because I’m not the only bipolar who’s ever gotten manic on antidepressants, but we both know what happened when he tried taking me off it last summer and neither of us is willing to chance that again. So he continues to let me have my baby dose, but doles it out to me in 30-day allotments (for awhile he only gave me 15 days’ worth at a time) and I have to cut the tablets in half.
This has caused more consternation, and given rise to more profanity, than any other aspect of my med regimen. First of all, the flippin’ things are tiny and oval-shaped, which makes dividing them evenly with the pill-cutter next to impossible. They also have this slick outer coating whose only function I can figure out is to assist in launching them OUT of the pill-cutter at warp speed, whereupon I clutch frantically at the air trying to catch the tablet before it goes into the toilet or disappears behind the vanity.
One time a few months ago I had the bad luck to knock over the Celexa bottle while I was trying to cut the tablets in half, and those pills went EVERYWHERE. Not only did I have to overcome the “yuck” factor in retrieving, wiping them off, and putting them back in the bottle, I now had to fish several out from under the sink and decide what to do with them.
My nursing instinct told me to flush ’em immediately, but my practical side knew I’d have explain to my p-doc why I needed another refill, and I didn’t want to do that. As it happened, I picked up one tablet that had somehow miraculously landed in my slipper, and it broke in half as I was dusting it off.
So I took another tab, did the same thing, got the same result. A third pill handled in this fashion also broke neatly in half.
And my first thought was You mean to tell me I’ve been sweating over these @#*&ing things for the past year and I could’ve been doing it the easy way this whole time!? ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!
That episode caused a blue streak to issue from the bathroom that was so grand in scale that Will asked me if I was hurt. Sheesh, how do you tell your husband that you’re a total ding-dong who can’t figure out how to divide a simple medicine tablet? “Only my pride,” I said. And we shall leave it at that.