Editorial: Take your pills with plenty of water


400-MG-HOSPITAL-BEDBy the time you reach your late 50’s, you are supposed to have learned most of life’s lessons and have probably taught a few of them to those coming up in your family; but, apparently, I am still learning.

Couple of “busy news days” on Monday and Tuesday for me; so I planned my day accordingly — early to rise, shower, shave, dress and out-the-door. Almost as an afterthought, I remember that I forgot to take my blood pressure pill.

I don’t like taking a daily pill for anything, but I am not willing to accept the alternative if I don’t, so, off to the medicine cabinet I trot. I usually keep a bottle of Aquafina nearby to wash the little buggers down, and I saw a bottle out of the corner of my eye, so I popped the big oval pill into my mouth.

When I reached for the water bottle, I realized it was empty. Damn. Now I’ve got this pill, that melts in your mouth not in your hands, and it’s in my mouth, tasting nasty, and I tried to swallow it dry. Big mistake.

By the time the pill made it halfway down my throat, it stuck. So here’s this pill, dissolving in my esophagus, almost directly over my heart, and it starts burning like hell. Not good.

My sainted wife, who has saved my life at least once before, tells me to drink a mouthful of coffee — thinking the hot beverage will make the pill release itself from the lining of my throat and hurry its way into my stomach, or wherever it is supposed to be by now. Needless to say, no relief — but, she was willing to drive me to the hospital.

I’ve only been admitted to a hospital as an adult once before to have my appendix removed. I hate hospitals … sick people go there. But the pain in my chest was getting worse and my blood pressure had shot up to about 178 over 113, or something, so into the emergency department we go.

I didn’t think I was having a heart attack, even though that’s exactly where the pain was centered. One of the lessons I learned was that if you come into the ER with pain in your chest, you won’t waste a lot of time getting inside to see someone — you’ll be pushed to the front of the line and have everyone’s attention.

You’ll also be given meds by an emergency physician right away, have your blood pressure taken every ten minutes, be hooked to an EKG monitor, they will draw blood, and there will generally be a lot of buzz before you are introduced to an anesthesiologist and the gastroenterologist that is getting ready to stick a long tube down your throat with a camera.

They gave me some kind of Michael Jackson medicine that knocked me out, so I don’t remember anything about the procedure, but about 45 minutes later, I was being discharged to come home and sleep off the narcotics, benzodiazepines, and whatever else they poked into me.

Today I’m feeling back to normal. Thank God for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and, of course, my guardian angel. Now I know to drink a couple of ounces of water before and after taking pills. Somewhere along the road you would have thought that I would have known that. Go figure.