I have become the Cookie Monster of pills. If it is smallish, oval-shaped and in feel-good colors, I’m taking it. Probably with milk.
There is a pill I take to stay awake. There is also one I take to fall asleep. (Yes, I am aware of the contradiction there.) There is one I take to alleviate numbness. There’s also lots of pain medication. And vitamins. And, ahem, pregnancy preventers. And Benedryl. And I’ll probably be adding a psychotropic to the Rx roster soon. All of this on top of the interferon shot.
It’s getting so out of control, I may need one of those days of the week pill organizers.
I’m feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland, completely out of sorts yet fascinated by the changes. How curious to be able to pinpoint a biological problem and fix it with something as tiny and benign-looking as a TicTac. Medicine can be wondrous and life-saving, but I worry that the alchemy leaves me altered far beyond what it should. Anyone who has listened to the litany of side effects for the latest miracle pill can’t help but wonder the same.
I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle! — Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland”
If I sound like a skeptic about the marvels of modern medicine, it’s because in my adult life, I’m relatively new to it all.
Before MS, I took an allergy pill and aspirin, both sporadically. That’s it. Growing up with a hypochondriac mother, my brother and I were frequent visitors to the doctor’s office. Not a month went by that we weren’t taking some sort of medicine.
Don’t worry – this was not a case Munchausen syndrome by proxy. But we were subjected to plenty of doses of icky liquid medicine and, later, pills for this or that ailment.
One pill makes you larger / And one pill makes you small / And the ones that mother gives you / Don’t do anything at all — Grace Slick, “White Rabbit”
After an accident when I was 15 gave me epilepsy, I took two powerful, mind-altering drugs that left me reeling. And I vowed to never be under the influence like that again, so long as I could help it.
I kept my resolve until recently, when I started getting really fatigued and decided I did need help in a bottle. I took a (doctor-prescribed) pill that treats narcolepsy. I didn’t follow directions exactly and took it around noon, so I was up. And up. And up. Finally, around 4 a.m., I closed my eyes and crashed.
My dreams, however, did not include a white rabbit.