My Medicine Cabinet

first-aid-800pxYou know you have gotten old when your medicine cabinet is filled with medicine.

My cabinet, which once held no more than a toothbrush, is now home to a bewildering array of orange bottles with white caps and unpronounceable labels.

Some of these bottles I visit regularly. Others are the remnants of some long forgotten illnesses and yet others, I have no idea what they do or how they got there.

Everything in my cabinet is supposed to be good for me yet an uncomfortable number are rather explicit about the horrors they will visit upon me, dare I use them. These I avoid as much as possible.

The truth is, I am a terrible pill taker.

I always forget.

I have one of those days-of-the-week pill boxes and am currently running three days behind. Sometime around Wednesday, I realize that Monday’s compartment is untouched as is Tuesday’s. My wife warns me against playing catch up, so I find myself taking Friday’s pills on Sunday and then forgetting to take Saturday’s dose until Wednesday.

Still I survive.

But much of what occupies my medicine cabinet is not even medicine, it is magical potions.

People give me things.

They say, “You gotta try this stuff.”

Or they say, “You know…. this is good for that.”

I never question their wisdom, I merely take what they give me and with all due reverence, place it untouched onto a back shelf of my medicine cabinet.  I do it because it makes them feel better, so in that sense, the stuff works.

It speaks to how I view the world of things that humans do not understand.

At least in my mind, all the things that we do not understand can be divided into three categories: science, faith and magic.

Science is what someone else understands but we don’t.

Faith is what rely upon to get us through the things no one will ever comprehend.

Magic is a short-cut. It is what we use when we refuse to be bothered with the hard-work of science or the hard-trust of faith.

But the scary thing about magic is that we sprinkle it into both our science and faith to make them sparkle – without realizing that all we have done is add glitter to what should shine by itself.

It is why so much goes unused in my medicine cabinet.

I trust the doctors who write me prescriptions and I accept the potions my friends give me because it makes them happy – but mostly, I have faith that while all might not be well with the world and my health, I am well with it.

Author: Almost Iowa

www.almostiowa.com

48 thoughts on “My Medicine Cabinet”

  1. “But the scary thing about magic is that we sprinkle it into our science and faith to make them sparkle without realizing that all we have done is add glitter to what should shine by itself.” I LOVE that line. I was a little haphazard with my meds (and yes, my medicine cabinet now hold more than just floss and bandaids), unintentionally, until I had another stroke. No I’m a BEAST when it comes to taking my medication on time. Yes, I worry about death and dismemberment, but death is more of a possibility if I don’t take them.

    I miss the days of floss, bandaids, antibiotic cream and out-of-date Tylenol.

  2. I’m still pondering that faith/science/magic triad. I’ve been trying to find a flaw in it, and can’t. It’s like that other Trinity — obvious, until you start thinking too hard about it.

    As for the medication business, I’m out of it now that I’m not riding herd on Mom. All I have to contend with are eye drops for glaucoma — which are working beautifully, and which I (almost) never forget. I still remember what the world looked like with very poor vision, and that’s pretty good motivation to be responsible.

    1. Everything crumbles once you think hard about it. It has to because according to the second law of thermodynamics everything crumbles. A wise person simply accepts this and goes with the things that last the longest.

      Linda, take care of your eyes. There are a lot of us who enjoy your vision.

  3. I really liked your definitions of science, faith and magic! I’ve always thought that science and faith coexist quite well, but the problems arise when magic is thrown into the mix. On a lighter note, my 86-year old mother is in wonderful health, and she is quick to tell you that her good health is the direct result of not being on any medications other than her daily vitamin pill. So maybe your forgetting to take your pills could turn out to be a good thing?

    1. Yes, magic does have an expiry date. You can see the process at work with all the Emily Litella moments which follow every breathless press release of “This is good for you”, “This is bad for you” and “It’s worse than we thought”.

      To properly determine the expiration date, simply gauge how giddy or terrified the public is to hear whatever the media is pushing. Hint, a headline that reads: Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream can make you shed pounds!!! probably will not make it to the end of the day.

  4. Greg you’re awesome! I am going to try to translate the context of this post for my Romanian mother-in-law, who blurs the line between science, faith, and magic in interesting and often frustrating ways, particularly as it relates to taking prescribed medications.

    On an unrelated note, I think my comments on your last (hilarious) post got buried in your spam folder for some reason.

    1. Always love to have my writing translated into Romanian. Coincidentally, my brother is there now. He said it was cold as hell..but he has been living in San Diego and has forgotten what cold is really about.

      You were right. The spam folder ate a few of your comments. Odd.

    1. John, you just made my day. I was thinking about something witty to say regarding my own medicine requirements, my OCD/perfectionist personality and my increasing senior moments. And, on top of that, I have a beloved Shih Tzu on allergy, heart, and thyroid meds besides the regular things pets require and a very intrusive Cigna/HealthSpring insurance company minding my business with their “helpful” calls regarding my medications. Your comment pretty much nails it.

    2. I replied under John’s comment but don’t see my reply so will try again:

      John’s comment made my day. I was trying to think of something witty to say regarding my extensive medicine requirements, my OCD/perfectionist personality, my increasing “senior moments”. I also have to manage my beloved Shih Tzu’s allergy, heart, and thyroid meds (plus all the regular preventative pets require). Add to that, Cigna HealthSpring is a very “helpful” (intrusive!) insurance company who outsources telephoning “seniors” regarding our medication management, even inquiring why we haven’t yet refilled a scrip for blood pressure or cholesterol meds and offering to do it for us. (Jeez, I am only 72 and a retired medical technologist, y’all!) John nailed it for me.

      Great piece, Greg.

      1. Thank you. I am 75 so i feel your pain. I have Silverscript and got a call about one med that the doctor had advised to take every other day. The tech asked if I had trouble with every other day and I said “no.” She then said, “how many times do you miss taking your medicine?” I said “never.” She said, “how do you know?”I said, “I have an app that reminds me.” She had no idea what I was talking about.

  5. I’m actually 147-years-old and have never taken a pill nor drunk a potion in my life. I put my longevity down to constant prayer, abstinence from strong liquor and tobacco and good old fashioned square dancing.
    I also gain vigour and joi de vivre through constant lying.

  6. Reblogged this on HemmingPlay and commented:
    At least in my mind, all the things that we do not understand can be divided into three categories: science, faith and magic.
    “…Science is what we do not understand but understand that someone else does.

    Faith is what we do not understand yet understand that we can rely upon it to get us through the things we will never comprehend.

    Magic is a short-cut. It is what we use when we refuse to be bothered with the hard-work of science or the hard-trust of faith.

    But the scary thing about magic is that we sprinkle it into our science and faith to make them sparkle without realizing that all we have done is add glitter to what should shine by itself.”

  7. I’m lousy with pills, too. In fact, as I was reading this, I remembered to take two – so thanks for that. You can now say that your blog provides a necessary public service. How does it feel to be part of the solution?

    I’m curious. You didn’t mention the first aid supplies. With all that equipment, those possessed appliances and friends like Stan, I was sure you’d have a healthy supply of 4×4 gauze pads, adhesive tape, band-aids and expired weak-potency peroxide.

    1. You are telling me, I did something useful? I guess there is a first time for everything.

      As for all those emergency supplies for people like Stan, he can fix anything but himself.

  8. good job. Sounds like my medicine cabinet. My daughters tell me that the doctor gives me a prescription for a reason and it’s in my best interest to follow her directions. But, I don’t like to take pills or potions or, or, or…. Yet, they have a point. Though sometimes I think the point is you’re old so you need pills.

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