My Love-Hate Relationship With My Medication

Your best friend, and worst enemy; a love-hate relationship. Don’t want to live with them, would probably be dead with out them. Prescription medications. I remember when it started… in high school. One pill here, an inhaler there. I’m not sure when it started to snowball, but there’s no doubt it did. Now I’m in my late 20s and I’m the proud owner of a small, private pharmacy.

I’ve divided it into three departments: everyday use, semi-regular use, and obscure – probably expired, maybe use one to two times per month. Oh, and then there is the organizational system. I currently have two pill boxes – one for morning and one for evening, three inhalers lined up in the medicine cabinet, one pill bottle on the kitchen counter to take before breakfast, gummy calcium to chew before bed. And a travel case with a smattering of department II medications. I can’t get away from it. In a way, these pharmaceuticals control me around the clock. I even have a section in my planner that is solely devoted to tracking what meds I take each day and which ones I forget (sometimes it should be “forget,” because I just don’t take them). But for a 20-something, I take plenty of meds.

I take upwards of 15 pills a day, plus three inhalers two times a day. And that’s on a good day. If I have a migraine, or asthma attack, or need to be on antibiotics for an infection? Add another one to five, or maybe even seven. Perhaps even more if I’m really sick, that’s when I just stop counting.

And when I go to the doctor for a visit and the nurse reviews my medication list I frequently get the comment, “You’re too young to be taking this many medications,” usually followed by an uncomfortable laugh. I’m pretty sure my chronic disease doesn’t discriminate by age, but thanks for pointing out the fact that my medication list can rival that of some geriatric patients.

It’s true! Working in the health care system, I see medication lists all day long, it’s just part of the business. And honestly, there aren’t even that many geriatric patients that could go head to head with me. Certainly not the 20-somethings, which one of my colleagues reminds me on regular basis, “Oh, they’re young. I’m sure they are healthy and spry.” Yes, just like every other 20-something. I’m sure many of you can relate to this stigma.

Medication log.

I don’t want this satire to come across as though I think prescription meds are bad. That is far from the truth! In fact, I don’t know where I would be without them. Miserable at best, dead at the worst. Here’s the love part of the love-hate relationship. I don’t know what I’d do without my 15 pills and three inhalers; I shudder at the thought. To me, no matter how annoying or intrusive, or all-consuming these expensive, powder-filled substances are, they are life-giving. They allow me to function in a world that I would not otherwise be able to. They allow me to interact with the people, make a living, and contribute to society in a positive way.

I don’t always like my two pill boxes, three inhalers, pill bottle on the counter, gummies by the bed, and smattering in my purse, but they are an integral part of me. I make a conscious decision to not let them define me, but they are still a part of who I am. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s got me under it’s thumb, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. Friend or foe, departments I, II, and III will never be too far from reach.

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