How many medication and vitamin pill bottles are in your pill bag?
When it’s time to take meds, and I look in my bag of medication bottles, I always think, do I actually take all of that? Because anyone who would see all of those pill bottles would think, does she actually take all of that? She must be crazy!
If anyone who is reading this that has an “understood” illness, you probably have no idea what im talking about. You are thinking, what is she talking about, how many pills does she take? I guess im not doing too bad, I only take 2 pills a day.
If you are new to the illness club, you probably do not like the idea of taking meds for the first time on a regular basis, especially if its 2 pills, 2 pills are 2 too many for you. You are probably already thinking by next year this time, that you will not be taking those 2 pills a day, that you are going to kick that illness and say good-bye to those pills.
Imagine if there were no medications for your illness, what would you do?
Before I go on…..
this always makes me think about a patient who was a patient on the first floor that I worked on. The first floor that I worked on, 1/2 of the patients were neurosurgery patients.
This particular patient was a patient of a world reknown neurosurgeon named Dr. Bronson Ray, who happened to have been a surgeon in the hospital for many years and was retired. The patient was the first survivor of a particular surgery that was done in 1959, and Dr. Bronson was the surgeon. Everyone was excited that one of Dr. Bronson’s patients was there. This patient was the celebrity because she had been one of Dr. Bronson’s patients.
Well the conversation soon changed, it wasn’t about this patient being one of Dr. Bronson’s patients, it was about how she took her meds.
When it came time to give this patient her meds, she was on so many meds, by the time you finished putting them in the medication cup, there were 27 pills. The 27 pills weren’t just little pills, there were big pills in that bunch, there were capsules that were the size of one of those huge omega 3 fish oil pills. This was everytime she got her meds which was more than once a day.
After all the pills were in the cup, this patient always held out her hand, she wanted all the pills in her hand. As soon as you would put all of those pills in her hand, she would actually toss them in her mouth, and when you would hand her the cup with the water, she would always say, just sit it right there, and she would proceed to read her newspaper. She was able to swallow all of those pills without any water.
So, not only did she not drink any water to take her pills, she was able to toss all of those pills right down, and it didn’t even look like she was swallowing all of those pills. This patient had that down to a science. She did that everytime she got her meds.
I was still a new nurse, just there a few months, and I was absolutely fascinated. I wondered, how did she do that without choking on all of those pills. I thought, I couldn’t even take one motrin at that time without drinking a big glass of water, and here is this patient who could take all of those pills in one shot, with no water.
The first few times I gave her meds, I was a little skeptical. There were 3 other patients in her room, as I gave them their meds, I watched to see if she really did swallow all of those pills.
When I was in the coffee room, I asked the other nurse I worked with if she gave that patient who had been one of Dr. Bronson’s patients medications before. The first thing my co-worker said, yes, she swallows all of those pills with no water.
Talk about a tough as nails patient! That lady was tough as nails! If you think about it, she would have to be tough as nails, to have a surgery at one time, that she didn’t know whether or not she was going to wake up!
Back to medication time!
Imagine being new to the illness club, and there were no medications specific for your illness, what would you do?
Well, all of us who have one of these “misunderstood” illnesses, we are sort of in those shoes. Those of us with M.E., have no specific drugs for our illness that is approved by the FDA at all, NONE!
The doctor can prescribe (if they know what they are doing) some prescription meds for the symptoms, such as pain meds, B12 shots, potassium, magnesium, sleep medication, anti-virals, that’s about it! Those of us who are unable to work because of the illness, are unable to work because there are no specific meds that will make us symptom free and able to go back to work.
There are a few “off label” medications, which are medications that are not approved by the FDA, but you have to pay cash for them, insurance doesn’t cover those meds. Most people do not have a $2000 + a month for off label medications. If we do, eventually we go broke trying to get well. Even the off label drugs do not make you symptom free, maybe reduce some of the symptoms, but not symptom free.
So, what do we do if we have no specific medications?
One of the things we do is, we venture off to the health food store. Usually by that time, most of us have a network of friends with the illness or similar one, and one of the things we talk about, is which supplements are good to take. We try them hoping, the supplement will do something or even work like a medication.
Sometimes or many times we end up with a lot of vitamins such as these that you see in the picture.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, does she actually take all of those vitamin pills??
The answer is YES!
YES, everyday at one time or another, the thought goes through my mind, that I must be insane when I look at all of those pills and pill bottles.
Back to the patient that I just talked about,
26 years before I met her, she went into the operating room, for a surgery that she did not know whether or not she was going to wake up. Some people would think, I wouldn’t do that, that woman must’ve be incredibly brave or incredibly crazy.
Was she insane?
What that patient had, was the will to live. When someone has the will to live, they don’t think about things, they just do them! In her case, surgery was her only option.
Even after 20 years, even when I feel like I am slowly dying, which is about everyday, there has never been a day where I did not think I would not be well the next day. I still believe that one day, I will be well and that includes tomorrow.
Am I insane?
If you say yes, then you are calling most every patient with M.E. insane because we all or most of us do this!
Because we have the will to live like that patient had the will to live!
The will to live includes, never giving up hope, wanting to be well when we wake up tomorrow. The will to live makes us “do what we gotta do” whether its having surgery knowing we may never wake up or as in the case of M.E. patients, trying every supplement under the sun in that health food store, or on that website of our favorite mail order vitamin and supplement company!
“The Other Side Of The Stretcher” (c) 2014
“Fatigue is the wrong word,
Fatigue is a silly word”
~Dr. Elizabeth Dowsett~
This blog is not for medical advice.
For medical advice, you must speak with your physician!