Counting Pills

I had my second meeting with the Medication Therapy Management Pharmacist (MTM) this morning to go over my meds and talk about how the tweak we made last month was going. It went well, I really like her. I feel like she listens to me and genuinely respects me and what I have going on.

After talking about the difficulty I was having with adapting to the new schedule (3 years of dosing one way is a hard habit to change turns out) we typed up an actual schedule for me to stick to that should help me stay on track. While I am feeling really optimistic about this plan, and the idea of using less medication all around, this appointment has brought up some weird emotions for me.
My “old plan” was to take everything as needed, and find other ways to cope with the pain. This meant by the time I was taking my meds I was way passed tipping point and well on my way into THIS SUCKS forest. This new plan is better in the way that it will (in theory) keep me on a more even level. Instead of starting out at an 8 and dropping to a 6 after taking something I am shooting to stay steady between a 4 and a 5. Then if I flare I can more easily bring myself back down, and keep it down, which makes for a much happier lady.

So I picked up more OTC’s at the pharmacy while I was filling my prescribed items and headed home to get organized. I set alarms on my phone with dosage amounts so that I will know exactly what to take and when. Then I started to sort out my doses into those little green days of the week pill boxes you see hanging in the pharmacy section of Target.
I almost took a picture of the table in front of me, but I couldn’t, it was so unreal. Four green week strips, countless little pills out in front of me, some brown, some white, some orange, some pink. Open bottles lined up behind them all so I could see what I was grabbing. It was a mess.

It took all of me not to drop my face into my hands and cry. There in the kitchen, with my kids fixing themselves lunch I had this pharmacy laid out on my table. A walked by and said “holy piles of pills mom!” She was right, holy piles of pills, and yet it still felt like getting kicked in the stomach. There is no more hiding this from them. There is no more hiding this from me. How did this become my life?

When did I go from having priorities like cooking dinner, playing Twister with my kids, and laundry to making sure my pill boxes have the right amount of NSAIDs in them? At what point did I take the turn that took me from carefree to the girl who has to sit and write out her days’ medications and pain levels. When did my pain become so huge that I have to schedule my life around it?
Even when I’m not counting pills or journaling my day I’m thinking don’t forget to take your next dose soon. Did you remember to send that email to your doctor for a refill? Is my medication spreadsheet up to date? Did I make my next PT appointment yet? Can I get PT and my monthly PCP appointment in on the same day?

What is this life? We spend so much time being told that our pain does not define us, to put it in the back seat, that we can’t let it run our lives and yet? Isn’t it? Isn’t my life completely dictated by my pain? I try to tell myself that I am living as much as the next person, that my life is still full and that I have –indeed- managed to put my pain in it’s place. Yet my pain has owned 6 hours of my day today and we haven’t even made dinner yet.


So. Much. Junk.

And then, I am reminded that this is just today and it is very likely that I will not have to sit and do this for another month or so. I consider that this is a change, and change is often uncomfortable. It forces us to look at the present and make adjustments to be ready for tomorrow. This 6 hours of appointments, pharmacies, and pill sorting at the table mean that for the next few weeks I will only have to do minimal amounts of sorting, counting and writing. And this seems to calm the tightness in my chest and the lump in my throat softens (which is good, because I have good makeup today) and makes this seem a little less stupid.
Now it’s time to put this away and move on to bigger things, like dinner and ice cream cones for dessert.

As always, thanks for reading.


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