Well, it seems that a spoonful of medicine makes the world go down a whole lot better.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of pill popping. I’m one of those proud, stubborn creatures who would rather endure something than surrender to a drug ((wo)man up as the Americans apparently say and take the pain is my view, especially if the alternative is needle-pointed). Besides then what would I do if it got worse once I’ve given up and taken something? Exactly. And if it’s just about to get better than it really wasn’t worth being a sissy and taking something anyway.
I’m stubborn. And the jury is still out as to whether that’s a good or bad thing.
I’ve had to rethink my attitude towards medicine lately.
Firstly, there’s the matter of ‘supplements’, which as far as I’m concerned is medicine with a small m, it’s fairly natural stuff after all. A lot of the American ME patients take supplements and the Hummingbird Foundation presents quite a lot of evidence in favour of supplementing in chronic illness. Like good teeth, taking vitamin pills is something that the Americans are much more au fait with. The grin and bear your lot, stiff upper lip and all that school of thought isn’t so keen. Besides, surely if you can eat a good enough diet then what’s the need?
I hate to break it to you all but there’s less and less good in even the healthiest aspects of our modern diet. In 1940 McCane and Widdowson published their first study into the nutritional content of food. In 1991 when the fifth study was published, a scientist chap compared the findings between that latest study and the original 1940 one. It’s not good news. Whilst we associate boring, unattractive vegetables with the 1940s, they seem to have been much healthier in terms of nutritional value than our modern superfoods (with a price tag to match). For example, the humble spud had 30% more magnesium, 35% more calcium, 45% more iron and 47% more copper back then. Scared?
(Actually, I’ve just checked for you. Potato still outranks blueberry on minerals and vitamins, except Vitamin K. I’d keep playing top trumps with the groceries but I’m a little tired).
There are also two other factors involved in this supplementing decision, both involving that simple aphorism to ‘just eat a good diet’. (I’m getting a little suspicious of any phrase that’s preceded by ‘just’). I can’t afford to. It’s embarrassing to admit that. Fruit and vegetables are luxuries on my budget, as are proteins. They’re all essential but expensive. I get what I can reduced. Then there is my health. It takes a great deal of ingenuity to make our very limited budget tasty (or just plain edible) and ingenuity requires energy. I don’t have it. Some days I don’t have the energy to even make plain, boring, simple pasta with commercial sauce. I don’t have the energy to prepare fruits and vegetables. Isn’t that shocking? It drives me mad, I find it embarrassing and shameful. But that’s the truth. It isn’t easy to ‘just eat a good diet’. Not for me.
But the problem with supplements is the cost. To start a whole new regimen is a serious investment. A relative kindly helped me out and I’m slowly starting to take some supplements as recommended on the Budget Plan, I’m introducing a new one every two weeks to minimise reactions (and to work out what I’m reacting to). I can’t say for sure whether they’re helping me, my health is so variable that I’d have to live a day with and without in parallel to tell the difference and that isn’t apparently possible. Fortunately, actually. Because I’d just be seriously confused. And having to live each day twice is got to be too much energy. And stress.
The ladies in the vitamin shop (it’s one of those chain shops rather than a proper health food shop, I’m afraid) were astoundingly helpful. I don’t make a lot of sense at the best of times and I kind of make for an awkward customer sometimes. I found it very amusing that in the end, the closest multivitamin combo to the Plan was the Senior. Yep, my body has OAP needs. Great. I’m also glad that one of them warned me about the um, consequences of taking B vitamins because otherwise I would have freaked. (You can do your own research there).
So I’m a pill popper now.
My new doctor (I may tell you all about that another day) recommended that I take a Medicine (with a capital M) for the pain. I was sceptical. unsurprisingly. But it seems that I’m secretly a sucker for magic bullets after all so I acquiesced. They’re tiny tablets unlike most of the vitamin pills and taste of Refreshers. I’m quite happy to take those. I took it for a couple of days then realised that there was something odd happening. It was really weird. I didn’t know what it was. I spent two days wondering what on earth was wrong with me. Then I clicked. I wasn’t hurting.
I’ve had serious chronic pain for months. I can’t remember when I last didn’t. Last year? On a good day, I’m a 6 or a 7. On the chronic scale, acute pain has a different scale. 8 is bad. Very bad. 9 is screaming out loud and giving in to painkillers. The painkillers don’t really touch it. There is no 10. 10 is a nightmare not yet discovered. It could always get worse after all.
My pain is 5 and below. I’m going to have to rediscover all the different lower stages again. I don’t remember them. I still have some pain when I do more physically, the odd specific symptom with pain but I’m not hurting all over constantly.
It’s weird. Seriously weird.
But I think I could get used to it.
So I’m a pill popper now.
As I was taking all these pills already, I decided that I really needed to get back to my happy pills. You know what I mean. Only mine is technically liquid not pills. I am really struggling, there’s a lot of stress and stuff going on again in my life and well, my chemicals don’t usually work in my favour anyway. I hadn’t been taking it again because the birds stole my syringe (well, maybe not technically) and then I was on antibiotics for my second tooth (or un-tooth seeing as it had been ripped out) that stated no alcohol. (What is it about medicines that say ‘no alcohol’ that suddenly make you want to have a drink?!) They were really nasty antibiotics anyway. But the liquid has alcohol in (don’t get your hopes up, it’s not worth counting unless you’re already puking on another medicine and it tastes totally vile besides). So I had to wait.
Once all these barriers had been sorted, there was still the psychological to cross. One, I don’t like to take medicines. (That was the original theme of this post, if you vaguely remember). Two, it tastes so vile that I cannot actually bring myself to make myself take it. It is the kind of thing that an evil doctor or parent would ram in your gob for you. You don’t do it to yourself. Yuck. It makes my toes cringe.
So I did it. I took another Medicine with a capital M.
Admittedly, it doesn’t taste quite so bad when served up in a dosing syringe because it kind of hits the back of throat immediately rather than sits in your mouth as you reluctantly suck it off the spoon. (Toes cringing at memory).
I’ve been using an online mood testing thing which sounds a bit of a gimmick but I thought I’d give it a try. It’s been interesting, I thought my mood was fairly constant (albeit low) but apparently not. And when I thought I was having a bad day, I scored my highest score (22%). Crazy.
So I took one dose of the happy pills (in liquid form) and by the following afternoon I was feeling really weird. Properly weird. I couldn’t place what the matter was with me. I don’t normally feel like that at all. By late bedtime (my circadian rhythm is up the creek again partying with the grasshoppers), I had this gut feeling that I should retest my mood. I hit 47%. (I’d been averaging 11% for most of the week before). Woah. No wonder I felt weird.
So I’m a pill popper now.
In liquid form.
It’s amazing what a spoonful of medicine can do. It certainly makes the world go down a little better.
- A Visit to the Dentist
- The Hummingbirds’ Foundation for M.E. (external link)
- What’s in this Stuff? (external link)
- Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Potato, Baked (external link)
- Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Blueberries, Raw (external link)
- Trying Solves Everything
- Moodscope (external link)
- Progress and Happiness