I hate pills!
One of my earliest memories is the taste of a quarter aspirin (or dispirin or possibly a dishwasher tablet) in a teaspoon of raspberry jam. Nothing could prepare my young tastebuds for the acidic bite when the pill would inevitably erupt from the jam and vindictively wedge itself behind a tooth. “Just have the pill” my Mum would plead “it will make you better”. She never did answer my wails of “How?”
So, being a rather determined child I decided to overcome my hatred by learning to swallow pills whole by practicing with raisins. After a bit of trial and error I eventually conquered my inability to swallow a pill.
Did it make me like taking pills any more? Nope, not a chance!
I still hated pills.
This led to a lifetime of avoiding doctors, chemists, drug dealers and health food stores. So you can probably imagine my reaction when I was diagnosed with MS. “I’m not taking any pills” I would mumble to anyone that would listen, including the cat.
5 years later and the average month has me taking over 200 pills and not a teaspoon of jam in sight. When I did the maths it was actually quite a scary amount so let me break it down for you
- Twice a month I take Vitamin D because my Dr said.
- Every morning I have three Fish oil tablets because it is supposed to help with brain and heart health.
- Every night I have two Panadol just before bed to help with the leg tremors I get and so I can get to sleep.
- Every night I have a little blue pill. NOT THAT ONE! There is a less than endearing side effect of my MS is called Nocturia. In other words I go to the toilet before bed, get up and go again, go to bed and then get up and go again. My record is 8 times in 20 minutes. So my Neurologist suggested this little blue pill. It also helps me get to sleep.
- And last but not least is the new addition to the mix and this little pill has been the hardest to adapt to.
Recently I started on one of the new disease modifying treatments that Pharmac has kindly started to fund. And yes it’s a pill. This has been the hardest one to get used to. It might only be a little pill but it’s had a major impact on my life since I started taking it.
The first impact was on my pride. I was fiercely proud of being “drug free”, but if this drug gives me a 50% better chance of being able to walk at my sons 21st, or being in a chair the whole time, then pride be damned, I will take the pill every day.
The second impact has been on my body. Any treatment that starts with a compulsory 8 hour day at the hospital for monitoring your heart has got to be a bit stronger than quarter of an aspirin. I’ve had a range of side effects come and go since I started it. These include, but are not limited to, blocked sinuses, flu like symptoms, exhaustion and a regularly upset stomach.
The third impact has been on my time. Apart from the inevitable regular blood tests, I also now have to have regular eye tests. And then there is the time I’ve lost due to the constant feeling of illness.
I know it’s not a cure for MS but it might slow the progression down and if that makes me “better for longer” then my training with the raisins is time well spent.
So everyday I will fill my sons Smurfs cup up with water and take my medicine. I still hate pills but know I need them.
Written June 2015