Saturday, February 9, 2013
Report from Pillville: Pills
We drove to the endoscopy in the dark. My mother couldn't have coffee or breakfast before the procedure, so, in solidarity, I had neither coffee nor breakfast. There were forms. There was waiting. Then I walked to Starbucks while she swallowed a camera. Or something like that. I am not curious about medical procedures. I don't really want to know the details or to see what is being done. Afterwards, she was cheery and remembered nothing. Afterwards, I was relieved, but not so much so that I didn't remember my worry. When does relatively non-invasive cross the line into invasive? When you are 88 and somewhat frail, that line is not so much a line, but a hair's breadth, a microscopic filament, a razor's edge.
And now there is the pill to take on an empty stomach. And the pill to be taken with food. And the "poison"powder, which must not be consumed within three hours of other medications, that I mix in the blender with orange juice and banana and serve with a straw in order to bypass at least a few taste buds. There are all the other pills taken in handfuls three times daily. And there is willingness, and a martini, and talk, and work, and reading and crocheting, and pure amazement at herons and pelicans, and waiting and waiting for the little songbirds to discover our new bird feeder.
I sometimes feel that I am living with someone who knows well that narrow corridor that leads to a door with a spiked threshold and a sign that says, "Do Not Back Up!" And sometimes I think she is right there reading the sign, and thinking, well, who cares?--who needs to worry once you've passed through that door? And sometimes I think her eyes are so keen, she sees the sign from the far end of the hallway and has no intention of approaching that doorway. But still, she and I, we know that threshold is there. And once you cross it, there is no coming back.