Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, November 16, 2007

Inquiring minds

So, how do you take your meds? I was just taking mine and for the hundredth time laughing at myself because I am so obsessive with the routine. The routine was something we worked on in therapy for a long time after I was diagnosed because taking pills was so hard for me. I literally learned to swallow pills in the last few years. I owe much of this to a few speech therapist friends who taught me tricks. The thing on tv where you put a whole bunch of water in your mouth, tip your head back, and swallow? That isn't such a wise idea. Swallowing is much safer and easier when you tuck your chin. (There's your public service announcement).

But anyway, for a long time I used a pillbox. For years I had to take each pill individually, no matter how small, and it had to be hidden in something. I used baby food fruits a lot because they didn't run the risk of making me have aversions to real foods like puddings, applesauce, etc. For nearly a year I took 23 pills that way and it took 30-60 minutes every night. After a while we changed things around and I went back to 12-15, which has been more normal. At the moment I'm taking 18 at night, I think, and one in the AM.

Over the last year and a half I started to be able to swallow pills in groups. I think learning that I had actually had lithium toxicity and was vomiting from that for so long rather than thinking I was vomiting because I swallowed the pills wrong led me into feeling more confident.

At first I could only swallow pills of the same kind together. I realize that's not very logical, but it was how it worked. Then I started consolidating some of the smaller pills together.

Now I take my pills in about 10 minutes/night. I swallow 3 handfuls. But I have to be so precise. My first handful is the "random little pills" group: 3 Atarax, 3 1/4 Seroquel, and 1 lithium. Then I eat a few bites of something (tonight cereal, often toast or a sandwich) and drink. Handful #2 is "things that smell bad plus leftover small pills". That includes my vitamins/minerals and Colace. Colace is always opened first, followed by selenium, then my B-complex-plus-assorted-other-stuff. The B complex is large and really smelly so I try to pop it in and get it down fast. After this handful I need several minutes to regroup and so I eat several bites, drink some, and watch TV. TV is an integral part of this routine; I rely on the distraction. Finally I take all 6 of my Depakote ER pills (actually 7 pieces because one is divided to make it immediate release). That's a big mouthful. I still am amazed I learned to do that. But I have and I only have gagged on pills about once in the last year, so I am pretty sure I have mastered it. I'll never win a hotdog or pie eating contest with the gag reflex I've got, and dental visits are always a blast, but I can take pills.

Now, the question: Am I the only obsessive-compulsive pill-taker?????

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