Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Wonder Pill

A glance at our stash of medications would undoubtedly cause one to wonder if this is a house of hypochondriacs. There are easily 30+ vials of prescription drugs in our linen/medicine closet (yes, we have to have a closet for our drugs, there isn't a medicine cabinet in the country large enough to hold them all). Of course, I don't take all these medications currently; most of the vials are half full of pills that didn't have the expected therapeutic benefits or had,a slew of side effects that easily outweighed any therapeutic benefits. I seem to specialize in being among the <1% of patients that experience the "rare side effects" you hear about on the commercials for different drugs.

Prior to developing scleroderma, I rarely took medicine. This was largely due to the fact that I was rarely sick. Whenever I developed a fever, I was a big believer in sweating it out. I climbed into bed underneath every blanket I owned and sweat all night. Usually by morning I was fine. Of course, I might have been fine without the blanket torture, but I held fast to my cure-all approach to fevers.

The only other drug I remember taking with any frequency was Motrin. I began taking Motrin in high school. A fellow student was the daughter of a pharmacist and she had these "wonder pills" for menstrual cramps. If you were having a rough day you just needed to find her and ask for one and she handed it over, free of charge. I have no idea why she didn't charge us, I was have easily forked over my lunch money for one of those pills on a bad day. All this was occurring about the time the Motrin became available over the counter in 200 mg tables (1984), but since none of us knew what drug we were taking, we just kept going to our friend. None of us was going to own up to our parents that we had a drug supplier at school so we remained pretty ill-informed about the identity of the "wonder drug." I finally figured in out that it was Motrin in my college pharmacology class, four years later.

This paints a picture of how innocent we were. Yes, there was a drug dealer on campus who gave out medicine for free to her friends with cramps. That was as hard core as we ever got with drugs. Looking back, it was still pretty stupid of us. We could have unwittingly taken something harmful. But I still think the story is kind of cute.

Of all the meds I have taken over the years, Motrin is still my favorite: it works for fevers and aches and pains. That covers a lot of ground in the world of symptom management. My kids are already hooked on it for their fevers and growing pains (which Amelia has a lot of these days). I suppose it's not too bad as far as addictions go.


Unknown said...

I've been reading your blog on a regular basis since running into it a few months ago. You are easily young enough to be my daughter, so this is spoken with a mother's heart. Whenever someone young is facing death, we immediately shout, "That's not fair!" And it isn't, but I think everyone who has reached adulthood knows that life itself doesn't seem fair. It is this seeming unfairness that points us to the cross, where we don't necessarily find answers, but solace and peace instead. You speak of a strong faith in your blog, and I commend you for clinging to that faith. I want to assure you that there is a heaven, and it is for those who call Jesus Lord and Savior and who know that His precious spilled blood is the only covering for our sin, and that covering allows us to enter into the presence of the Lord when we pass from this life to the next. Faith must go beyond rote practice to grasping the full meaning of the work of the cross and complete belief in and reliance on God who created us in His image. That is the portal to heaven! When someone has that assurance, fear of the life beyond evaporates. Jesus will greet you at heaven's door and will hold you in His arms. There will be no more pain and no more suffering, only glorious life far beyond what we are capable of understanding on this earth. I can only imagine how excruciating this process has been and still is for you; I wish I could wrap my arms around you, even though I've never met you. All of us will one day die, but most of us will pass quickly without any warning. To know that the end is almost near is unfathomable loss and pain, parting from loved ones and precious children and husband. Be assured that, with your soul in God's hands, He will meet you on the other side, and from there, you'll be able to see your children and cheer them on through life. You will be one of a great cloud of witnesses. I encourage you to rest in Jesus, dear child, and trust Him, for He died for you. There is a local radio station, His Radio, that will speak to your soul and bless you. Log onto, and you can listen on-line. You will find peace and rest in God, the peace that passes all understanding. I look forward to meeting you on the other side, which shouldn't be too long for me, since I'm an old lady! Blessings, dear Michelle, and my prayers are for you and your precious, precious children and faithful husband.

Anonymous said...

We just had a few postings on our online scleroderma group about hoarding drugs. We all seem to have major stashes - baskets, cupboards... personally, I have a big plastic bin with a lid! :-)

Sharon Sulecki said...


I literally laughed out loud on this one. We thought we were being so bad...meanwhile we were dealing in Motrin. Ha.

Thinking of you...

Ann Marie Cinque said...

Hey, I didn't know about this secret supplier. Always out of the loop...


terry said...

Motrin the miracle drug--oh how true! Since my children were babies, it has taken care of every fever they have had as well as those that I just knew were coming. Even now when they complain of vague sports-related aches, I quickly respond, "take a motrin." I know that many will think that I am a terrible mother, risking liver injury and other untoward effects (I never overdose), but it works. However, in addition to making me laugh, your post made me that maybe I am the one whom it works the most for!
I pray you sleep well tonight!

albischof said...

I was out of the loop as well!


Redwood Serenity said...

I can surely relate to your stash of meds and the <1% thing too! I have something like RA and luckily it is slowed to almost imperceptible by a simple med once a week. But the journey to find that med was horrendous and involved a ride in an ambulance with me in paranoia and palpitations. Whoo Hoo!

Blessings for your journey,

Diane said...

Like Ann, I too was left come I didn't know about the Motrin Maven?? Love this post!! :)

Linda Summerfield Crispell said...

Have you thought about a craft project with all of the leftover pills? Remember making pictures using dried beans and noodles?

DawnF said...

Michelle...i remember our Motrin supplier..too funny. Always remember those days with a smile. Thinking of you.

Kristin Carley Resinski said...

I was up very late last night reading your posts start to finish.
My heart breaks for you and your family, but I'm sure they will be okay having had you as their role model.

Clearly, you still possess the same strength, wisdom, grace and sense of humor you had at NA.

You are in my prayers.

All my best good thoughts to you!

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