Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Bitter Pill to Swallow



Last week I got into the poison ivy again. Now, I have it for the second time in my life. The first time was about this time last year during the fall yard cleanup.

My husband, self confessed as never having had the itchy breaking out, told me I’d get over it if I’d quit scratching. He read up on the internet about several remedies. I tried cortisone cream, cortisone cooling gel, aloe gel, etc, etc. Anyway, before I broke out the baking soda/vinegar paste, in desperation I called my doctor’s office. The rash had stayed a week and I wanted it to be gone.

“Any questions about the prescriptions?” the girl at the counter politely asked.

“No,” I answered as I swiped my HSA card and rubbed my arms trying to relieve the itch.

Back in my car, I read the complicated directions: Take four pills today…blah, blah, blah. I hadn’t eaten much so I downed two pills and figured I’d take the other two after real food.

I seemed fine throughout the day. Toward evening, my tummy was a little upset, and I went to bed early because I was so tired. Being tired doesn’t equate falling asleep so I read until about eleven o’clock. At one o’clock, I awakened with an acidic burning in my throat and made a dash to throw up. It seemed to be my old nemesis acid reflux on steroids.

Since I couldn’t possibly lie down with the burning, I read the paperwork that came with the prescription. Golly gee, some folks have nausea and vomiting with this medication. Aren’t I the lucky one?

After breakfast this morning, I took today’s pills. I immediately noticed a bitter taste. “Wow, that was a bitter pill to swallow,” I said. I hadn’t even noticed the bitterness the other time.

Talking about bitter pills to swallow, I thought about it figuratively as well as literally. The expression “A bitter pill to swallow” means something unpleasant or painful but has to be accepted. I thought about bitter pills that I’ve had to swallow in my lifetime. The bitterest of all was when Jim was diagnosed with dementia. Oh, neither of us accepted it at first, and that’s not such a bad thing. We explored all the other possibilities—a stroke, blood sugar, vitamin deficiencies, depression, heart problems—through an endless cycle of testing.

The rollercoaster of emotions came to a screeching halt when an MRI revealed brain shrinkage consistent with irreversible, unstoppable dementia. Big bitter pill to swallow.

We all have our own bitter pills. Some of us have broken relationships, undeniable mistakes, failures, heartache, illness, pain, suicidal thoughts, stress, bitterness, self-loathing, or many other human emotions.

Emotional victims can be emotional survivors with the correct resources or support. Life throws pills at all of us, and full bottles at some. It is so important not to lose our way or give up. Fortitude is the antidote for the poison of adversity.

When going through difficult times, I have always been thankful that I’m not famous. Just think of the stress on movie personalities, politicians, famous athletes, and others in the public eye. Not only do they have to deal with their own doubts and embarrassing moments, all the armchair pundits worldwide have to throw in their holier-than-thou tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, op-eds.

We are creating an unhealthy virtual environment. People used to do their rants and raves in the privacy of their homes where only family and close friends knew how bizarre they were. Now, the internet explodes with conspiracy theories, blatant lies, and innuendos.

Friends and family use expletives in angry, small-minded conversations with others who aren’t of the same political persuasion, religion, ethnic group, or were born with a different color skin. It’s disturbing that we feel that rudeness and hatefulness are acceptable.    

As for my bitter pills, I remembered that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. What kind of sugar do I have in my house this time of year? Candy corn! Two pieces of candy corn wiped the bitter taste from my mouth. I’ve solved the literal bitter pill problem. Even a semi-load of candy corn won’t help the hurting people of the world to figuratively swallow a single bitter pill.

Copyright © September 2016 by L.S. Fisher

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