When you live with a chronic illness, counting out your meds can be very Zen.
meds croppedIt is Saturday night. Time to make up my pills for the week.

The whole thing’s kind of Zen.

I take down my bin from the pharmacological cupboard in our kitchen. Clear space at the table. Nice to have a drink at hand, on a coaster, to one side. Not in the way, where it might spill. Table’s clear, nothing that a pill might roll behind and get lost, right?

Okay, quit stalling.

I take the prescription bottles from the bin and line them up with the sense of ritual. I add the few over-the-counters, vitamin supplements, the choke-worthy fish oil. There’s such a variety. I could sort them by number or type, or bottle size. That last might be interesting, as there are different shapes as well. But what I do is sort them by time of day, to match my pill case.

It’s a pretty slick case – each day can be removed, and each has it’s own inner sleeve with multiple compartments. I like compact, well designed things, and this is perfectly suited to it’s purpose. Everything fits, everything has its place. It brings some order to what is a crazy way of living, of trying to stay healthy.

So I start counting – this bottle, let’s see: one at 8 am, two at bedtime. This one: two at 8 am, one mid-afternoon. One, two, three, four … big pills, small pills, round, oblong … five, six, seven… done. You know, it’s kind of soothing.

As I finish counting out each medication, I re-cap the bottle and fluidly stow it in the bin. My hands move so automatically, occasionally I have to stop and double-check … did I really do that med already?

I resent them, you know. I don’t like to take meds. I don’t want to take meds. (Who does?) I envy people who don’t have to take meds, little piles of them, every day, just to stay healthy. To stay alive. But there are worse things. So I live with a chronic illness. My husband’s diabetic and anti-rejection meds make my little piles look pitiful. I’m lucky; I’m not wired or tubed to a device, and I can take care of these pills by myself (with a little help from the insurance company).

I need. To stop. Feeling sorry. For. Myself.

Focus, you.

Finally, the last bottle goes into the bin and I sit back. Snapping each compartment shut is immensely satisfying. Snap! Snap! Snap! Why do I feel such a sense of accomplishment for something so small? Maybe because it’s become so essential in my life. No, more likely, by getting the whole week set up in one fell swoop, I can put it from my mind and not dwell on the part the meds play. Ah, is it a control thing? Control the meds or they control you? Hmm.

Snap! The last day and last dose are done, and I’m ready for the week ahead. I smile. I feel I’m waking from a trance … which is sort of what it’s like.

Counting. Caring for myself. Order from chaos. My place in the scheme.

Like I said, a Zen thing.

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  1. risinghawk

     /  August 4, 2014

    I do this on Sunday. I hate it – but it is necessary. It’s not that many pills, I’ve cut back as much as I can, but it’s still too many and I resent it. What can I do . . . carry on, i suppose. Peace to you . . .


    • Me too — I hate it, but I do it. I know how sick I’d be if I didn’t take them. At least counting them out once a week, I just have to remember to take a specific day’s dose, and I don’t think too hard about what they are and why. Just that I’m taking care of myself.

      Don’t know if that helps, but I know how it feels.


  2. :: 🙂 🙂 🙂 ::



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