western medicine

missing doses

So I met some people for dinner last night, and I ended up only taking about a third of the medicine I usually take. Sometimes when I’m being social I don’t really have a great way to take my meds, so I simply don’t. It seems like it should be easy, right? Yet for some reason, unless I’m with people with whom I’m 100% comfortable, I’m going to miss a dose or two.

Last night I did what I always do when I’m leaving the house for at least three hours, I packed my pills in my purse. It just makes good sense to be prepared, but there’s nothing like a purse full of pills to make me feel like a drug addict. If I’m running a little behind and rushing out the door I just throw the bottles in my purse rather than pull out the correct dose of each and store them in a little pillbox. But when I throw those bottles in a purse they make a racket, and if people catch a glimpse of three prescription bottles while I’m standing at a bar or reaching for my wallet they WILL say something. (I’m suddenly wondering how guys handle this problem…unless they have a murse or attending a school fair in 1993 and wearing a fanny pack).

Regardless of how you’re carrying them, there’s no way to slyly knock back a bunch of pills. Anne, just go into the bathroom and take the stupid medicine, I’m sure is what you’re thinking right now. Forget that, I am not about to drink straight out of the sink (potentially in front of others), and Oxycodone tastes way too gross to take without water. And I’m not about to squeeze my S’well bottle into my purse so I have water…it’s too bulky and heavy. I may have more in common with my grandmother than with anyone my age, but I still have standards!

But let’s say I find myself in a sparkling clean single-stall bathroom that offers clean drinking water (I’ve never run into this sort of place, by the way), and I just happen to be in there when it’s medicine time. There are still two other variables to consider: alcohol and driving. If I am driving, I am absolutely not going to take certain medicines (like Oxy); it is a bad idea. You’re welcome, people of New Orleans. And if I’m drinking even just one drink, I’m also not comfortable taking certain medicines. The interaction is just a little too much for me (I’m 5’1″, or roughly the height of a Middle Schooler), and I’m not into it.

So don’t drink, and don’t drive, is what I hear you thinking now. So simple, right? Ok, the not-driving part is pretty much a slam dunk. If I was any good at asking for help, I’m sure most people would readily pick me up, and occasionally I do…like when they are practically passing my house anyway. I could also easily just get an Uber, or in dire circumstances, a cab. And I do dream of one day of having my own driver…but I’m going to stay in reality for the sake of time.

The no-drinking bit, however, is slightly more complex. My family and closest friends have gotten accustomed to me drinking 0-1 drinks when we go out at night, and I think we’re all okay with that. But when I’m out with someone who doesn’t know I don’t drink that much anymore, and my decision to not drink means that they also won’t drink, I don’t want to dictate the night like that. So I order a drink or two, and I don’t take my medicine.

Last night the wait for our table was ninety minutes, and it took every bit of that projected time to be seated. This particular restaurant does not take reservations, but people are willing to wait because the food is delicious and the bar is fun. Needless to say, at 7:45 on a Saturday night there were no available seats at the bar, and I stood the entire time. I didn’t know the people I was with well enough to say “Hey, I need to sit down,” but even if I did, I hate when I’m the only one seated and people are standing around me awkwardly.

These may all seem like trivial reasons / lame excuses to miss two doses of medicine and be in pain for the next 24+ hours, but those sacrifices were more about me and less about those around me. Not worrying about pills when I’m out and drinking with friends makes me feel like being social used to feel. Standing up for a while, although it’s painful, and chatting like nothing is wrong is a fun escape for a few hours. Maybe one day my hips will get to the point where I can no longer pretend that standing at a bar while I’m waiting for my table doesn’t hurt. But last night, I could pretend like I wasn’t in pain, and I was happy to do it.

Then there are times like tonight when as soon as I swallow my muscle relaxer I realize I already took it thirty minutes earlier…yikes.

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