February 15, 2010

pills and other accoutrements

i've been reading the chronic illness experience by cheri register. it's the best, most comprehensive book on living with chronic illness i've read. it skips the psychological fluffery and goes straight to items like how this society perceives control and the body and archetypes of people with illness. because it is full of interviews, it also reads like having a bunch of friends with whom to commiserate. (on the flip side, reading too much of it at once makes a misery party. same with any book on dealing with suffering.)

the chapter "pills and other accoutrements" hit a nerve, because i FUCKING HATE MY PILLS. true, i don't have to be iv-ed into liquids or be at any clinics getting my blood sifted (at this point, knock on wood), but i was always the person who NEVER finished that bottle of antibiotics. i hated vitamins (unless in gummy form), i hated anything you had to swallow with a glass of water and made you avoid excess sunlight or use judgment before operating vehicles or heavy machinery. i hated the dependence - either take this or suffer. i would put off going to the doctor even with major infections and high fevers. and now look:

2000 mg cellcept daily (before eating in the morning, before eating at night)
400 mg plaquenil daily (with a meal in the morning, with a meal at night)
25 mg cozaar (with a meal at night)
10 mg lasix every other day (definitely with a meal or you're asking for it)

and then all the horse-pill sized supplements taken at various times of the day that make me feel like a pumped-up inorganic chicken. before and at each meal, there's at least a handful of crap to be swallowed with various side effects. and now i have to do it, or i feel like shit. count my blessings, i'm off steroids, or there would be at least four more pharmaceutical leashes on that list.

to be fair, i've learned a certain acceptance for this drug-dependent life (not lifestyle - i certainly didn't choose it). but i was, and maybe still retain features of the polar opposite of a hypochondriac.

there are things i've been trying to do to make life easier ... gradually, mind you. as i've always been a mind-over-matter type of person, i've had to, over the course of several years, contradict many of the subconscious habits and tendencies i've learned over my short life up until this point. to name a few, cutting out alcohol almost entirely (egad), more pants and less tights, flats over heels, sleep over parties, home over travel. and the most difficult of all of all grand changes : sticking to a daily routine and going to bed on time (ie the opposite of spontaneity and freedom). indeed, a complete lifestyle change - these former fundamentals of life are now seldom furnished accoutrements. or rather, there's now a heavy cross to bear and it's called control.

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