The idea that one can pop a pill (or two or three) and cure what ails you, reset us to our base configuration, is a beautiful one. Like when we were kids and had a fever and mom would find the bottle of that orange flavored St Joseph’s Aspirin for Children (before anyone knew what Reye’s Syndrome was) and we would feel better or if it was an ear infection we would be cured by some horrible tasting anti-biotic that turned our poop into something resembling well over –cooked spinach barfed up by our cat . Take a pill and get yourself cured or at least far along the way. And the weird poop corrected itself in time. Always.
I take five pills a day now, presuming that I do not get a headache from them. The side effects of one are symptoms already in place that another is supposed to help and that one has its own side effects as well . The silver-lining? There are far worse medicines I could have been put on. Instead of gaining weight, I am losing it, for example. For that I am grateful.
The pills. None of them will ever cure me. They manage symptoms. Some of the symptoms. Trouble is by managing some symptoms and causing side effects that include some of the symptoms that other medicines are managing I grow weary trying to figure out if my illnesses are growing worse or better or even exist. So I try not to think about it (much). It boggles the mind.
The mind. Several of the medicines are at work there, too. Lowering anxiety and adjusting levels of obscure brain chemicals to prevent deep slides into darkness. I hope high school biology becomes more concerned with teaching such things rather than the anatomy of ugly green formaldehyde preserved earthworms. It would be far more practical; all of those kids saying to themselves: Is that why dad (or mom) gets so quiet and withdrawn or weirdly happy or arranges the dishes by size and shape and color?
The medicines manage me. Smooth out my moods. Protect my organs from the ravages of lupus and ease the pain in my joints. I think at times that I should be more upset by things unfolding before me. The old me would have been. But I am not the old me now.
“Do you like the new me?” I asked my wife. [Trust me, never ever ask this question].
Back in the day it took something like watching Les Miserables being performed on stage (it was with that magical original London cast) to make me cry. Heck, it made everyone cry. Then when those brain chemicals got out of whack I could watch a show like Parenthood and cry through every episode. Now I don’t know what it would take to make my cry and I am willing to forego using the scientific method to find out. So which “me” am I now? Are the pills rolling me back to an earlier version of myself or moving me forward to the neurological version of IOS 8? Who am I, now? Today?
I just don’t know.