Part of me doesn’t quite believe that my pills are what make me feel well. Six little capsules with a special delayed-release coating work their way through my digestive system daily. I have been assured that they keep inflammation down in my swollen colon (forgive me, the opportunity to use the term “swollen colon” has been on of the only redeeming elements of this ordeal). I’m not sure I trust them, but I know that for now they don’t cause any side effects, other than a pain in the right side of my neck that my acupuncturist treats by jamming a needle into it, and the prospect of lifelong blood tests to make sure my kidneys keep kicking.
I should also add that when I first went on the pills I went from a state of semi-permanent nausea to, well, a state of non-nausea, which shouldn’t be so hard to describe. That was a serious improvement to my quality of life.
Yet still I hate taking them, or rather I hate having to take them. A few weeks ago I confessed to my GI doctor that I hadn’t always been taking the full dose of six, trying to dial it down to get rid of the neckache. She was not happy with me and convinced me that six was still a very modest dosage.
“Am I going to be on these pills a long time?” I asked, fearing the answer.
“Oh yes!” Dr. B enthused while my eyes filled with tears. I don’t think she understood my concern. She followed up: “Don’t you want to feel better?”
I turned my head to look out onto the familiar city street, seeing some people hold the door for each other at the bank. “I just thought…” I began, and then stopped so she wouldn’t hear my voice crack.I just thought that someday I might get my old life back.
Alas, that’s not to be, but I guess this new life isn’t that bad. I have a fine little routine that makes it easier for me to remember my pills at mealtimes. I might even be starting to believe that they do something, since last week when I had a few days of pain I was gobbling those drugs down pretty eagerly.
Then there are days like today. The sun is shining and I had a glorious run outside followed by a great yoga class. I sang for 90 minutes. I’m writing. I’m returning phone calls. I’ll cook whatever I want for dinner and expect to keep it down. I feel healthy and strong.
A jumbo bottle of pills sits on the kitchen counter, with some Omega-3s and probiotics next to it for good measure. Like the kid who only talks to God when she needs to get out of a jam, I want to go about my business and not think about that need. As I strive to remember to pray always, I must also strive to remember always that I am more fragile than I like to admit.