The Pill

Nothing defines being a senior more than the Pill Routine. When we were younger it was probably only the odd vitamin pill or some antibiotics for an ear infection or a severe chest cold, or maybe a stepped on rusty nail. But as the years roll on there seems to be an ever growing list of pills.

First it’s probably a water pill and something for the high blood pressure… too much stress, kids and a mortgage. Then the cholesterol is too high. After all, don’t want to die of an unexpected heart attack at 45 like poor, old Uncle Bill.

Next your elbow reflex needs to be addressed…that’s the one where every time your elbow bends your mouth flies open and down the gullet goes another 500 calories… It’s Type II Diabetes time. The diet and exercise routine doesn’t quite cut it, the pounds build up and it’s time for another regiment of pills to beat down that blood sugar.

Then the Doc informs you on your next regular check up that the old prostate is about as big as a grapefruit and puts you on a pill to stop those midnight, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. trips to the john. That will only stop when the surgeon says it’s time to harvest the grapefruit with a roto-rooter… Now no trips to the john but no equipment working in the sex department either, so time for the little blue pill.

Finished right? Nope! Seems all that new abuse and strain on the heart has brought to light a slight case of A-Fib so a beta blocker to control your racing heart and a blood thinner to prevent a blood clot and a stoke are added to the prescription.

So what are we up to now about 6 or 10 pills spread out over the day at specific times? No way are you going to remember which pills or when to take them. Even with the nagging… er I mean helpful coaching from your spouse no way you can keep the schedule straight. A reminder on your smart phone would be great if you could figure out how to run it. Not a chance. You still haven’t figured out how to run the ArriveCan app, let alone keep the phone charged or remember where you left it.

Time to turn to the old standby… Grandpa’s pill dispenser… seven days with four compartments for each day. It becomes a memory exercise to be carried out weekly. You only have to look at the see through compartments to see if you have taken your noontime dose, because let’s face it you have no recollection what you have put down you gullet five minutes earlier. If only you could remember what day of the week it is!

But even filling that pill dispenser weekly has its challenges. First you have to find the hoard of pills, sort them, and get the individual containers open. No small challenge!

Then the little, itsy, bitsy, beta blocker has to be cut in two. You complain to the pharmacist, “Why can’t you give me one the proper dosage?”: “Because they don’t make them that size and if they are still too strong we may have to cut the dose to a quarter pill.” You are informed.

After a five minute struggle you manage to pop open the pill bottle and all thirty of the little suckers, a full two month supply, scatter on the floor. A two hour search with flashlight and the Swiffer manages to round up 29 of them. Your friend’s dog you were sitting dashes in finds the last one and gulps it down in spite of your desperate attempts to out maneuver it. Oh well, he should be okay I guess.

The cutting only takes ½ hour and another ½ to double check everything is right and the pharmacy bag is closed up for the week. You are snoozing comfortably in your easy chair when your friend returns to pick up her dog which is also snoozing peacefully by the fireplace.

“What’s the matter with Chester? You been giving him beer?” she asks as the groggy mutt staggers to its feet sleepily wags its tail and heads for the door.

“Naw, just a little R&R wore him out. Doesn’t seem so hyper now. Maybe he needs a pill.”