The USA was founded in the name of democracy, equality and individual freedom, but is failing to deliver the fundamental promise of protecting rights for all
~ Amnesty International, 19 Jan 2001
Scrambled eggs, bagel
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POPPING PILLS IN THE DARK
4 July 2004
Pills are a huge topic this weekend. I suppose that this is an inevitable part of aging. There are pills for bone density, pills for heart conditions, pills for thyroid, this pill and that pill and add vitamins, mix in 6 people taking pills and you have enough conversation to keep you going for hours, if not days.
There are pills to take on an empty stomach, pills to take on a full stomach, pills you have to take and then sit up for an hour, pills you have to take right before bed, pills you can't go to bed for an hour after you take.
There are discussions of which pill containers are best, discussions of how to tell pill bottles apart, tricks for how to help Walt's mother, who now, sadly, is nearly blind, to be able to tell which pill is which from among her many bottles. There were pills which spilled and pills which were in the wrong container.
It was like being in a wacky pharmacy.
One thing I've encountered here which takes me back to the days with Dr. G and Women's Health is the resentment, bordering on downright anger, about doctors and pills.
"My arm was really bothering me and the doctor told me to take 3 of these pills, but that's too much; I'm not going to take that much I'm only going to take two."
"The doctor wants me to take this pill, but I already take too many pills, so I told him I'm not going to take it."
Amazing that we pay doctors so much money and then we decide they don't know what they're talking about and we're going to do what we damn well please.
It's like people are angry with the doctor for prescribing something that is going to help them remain functional, pain free, and out of danger of things like heart attack, bone fractures, or thyroid attack.
I guess the anger isn't really at the doctor; it's anger at the conditions ("age," in the case of all of us, I suspect) which cause us to need pills in the first place, but you can't get mad at an aging body; instead you get angry with the people who give you the pills which remind you that your body is aging and that you aren't SuperPerson.
We live in an age where modern technology has developed the tools which allow us to live longer, remain pain free, prevent things like osteoporosis, clogged arteries, avoid migraine headaches, keep diabetes under control, and yet we blame the doctors for "making us take these awful pills."
Another subject which has been discussed is weight. Oh nobody has mentioned MY weight, of course. That would be impolite because it's so obvious that my weight is out of control again. But weight is always a prime topic for all the people for whom weight is not an issue. Our hostess, who might possibly weigh 98 lbs soaking wet, is constantly on a diet. Her refrigerator is full of low fat, low carb, low calorie things, and I have never known her when she was not talking about a diet. I have also never known her when she was not thin. I aspire to be as "fat" as she thinks she is. (And yet she's not anoretic; she just believe she needs to watch what she eats to keep all the fat off.)
One of the first questions she was asked when the pleasantries of arrival had been gotten through was "were you able to stay on your diet during your recent trip?" (One of the first things I was asked then, and consistently throughout the day today was "are you sure you have enough to eat? Can I get you anything else?")
She complained that there was too much food on the trip and how she'd managed to avoid eating breakfast because she knew there would be too much food later on.
This topic boggles my mind. "Too much food" is a concept I can't quite wrap my brain around.
I suppose there's a pill which will help me with all of this, but I'm not going to take any of those damn pills.
I know better.
I am not a nice person. I tend to get very impatient with Walt's 90 year old mother's increasing impatience with everything, her sitting in a room and giving orders to everyone, her demand to know whatever is going on, etc.
But this morning I sat there with my eyes closed and imagined what it must be like to have lived this full life, to have been an avid reader of every political tome known to man, to have been everywhere in the world that you want to travel, to have seen all the wonders of the world and then suddenly to find yourself plunged into virtual darkness (she has macular degeneration and can see--a little--but very little).
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
In just the few minutes I sat with my eyes closed, listening to the hustle and bustle around me, I tried to imagine what it must be like to have one's light spent, to have to identify from among six bottles of pills and remember the complicated schedule of what to take when, which with and which without food, etc., to be in a strange place and not be sure where everything is, to rely on others for just about everything...and to have the frailty of a 90 year old body on top of it.
It was very claustrophobic and I couldn't do it for long. I was glad that for me it was an option. For my mother-in-law it is not.
I'm trying to keep that in mind and be a little more patient this weekend.