Forget machismo, give me pills

My husband is having back surgery today. It’s called a laminectomy/discectomy. In my terms, his neurosurgeon will remove disc matter crowding onto a spinal nerve causing pain in his hip and leg.

Chuck hoped to get better without an operation, but he hasn’t been that lucky. He has dealt with pain for several months. His doctor prescribed drugs to help with the discomfort.

He can’t wait to get better after he leaves the hospital and soon get off the meds. I never hesitated to take legal drugs for what ailed me. After my second natural childbirth delivery, I decided that was enough pain to last a lifetime.

When I need a pill, I swallow one. I’ve taken prescription drugs to get rid of acne, to not get pregnant and to put iron in my blood.

I believe there is an evil stigma about folks who like to swallow pills. I know others who go to any length to avoid filling a prescription. I think their reluctance makes them feel strong and pure.

I am weak and susceptible to a quick fix from a bottle.

My problem is I can’t always get my hands on what I think will help.

The last time I had a tooth pulled, it started off as a root canal. The dental professional gave me three squirts of Novocain in such quick succession I nearly bolted off the chair in agony.

When I returned to have the root canal finished, another dental-type pushed a needle toward my quivering mouth.

"Wait a minute," I stalled. "Are you a good number?"

She was. I never felt a thing.

The tooth proved very stubborn. The dentist all but sat on my chest to make the extraction. He brought in so many instruments from around the building to grab that bratty tooth, I finally mumbled he should try a string and a door knob.

When he carved out the last chunks of enamel, he told me this was not a good extraction, and I could expect pain. He gave me a prescription for 15 pills and said to start taking them before the Novocain wore off.

He was right about the agony. When I was still suffering two days after the tooth extraction, I called the dental office for more pain medication.

They gave me the third-degree, like a child being scolded for not scrubbing behind her ears. Had I tried Tylenol? Had I really taken all 15 pills?

I explained that the pharmaceutical directions indicated I could take two pills every four hours.

"You actually took two pills, every four hours, for 24 hours?" the dental person said. "That’s nearly a toxic dose."

I wasn’t glowing. It was worse than tugging a sock from a puppy. I asked again, utterly frustrated, if they could prescribe relief.

What bothers me is I have two friends who see doctors who love to prescribe whatever they need. They leave the physician’s office with bags of pill samples.

I want equal opportunity.

Do you silently suffer with aches and pains? Well, to each his own. Give me a pill.

I have had blocked oil ducts on my eyelids several times. The doctor needed to lance the bulge. They propped open the eye, injected a Novocain substance, then sliced it open. That needle poke so close to the eyeball was not dandy. The second time I got my eye propped open several months later, I asked why they couldn’t dab on some topical Novocain stuff, like a dentist does, before inserting the needle.

Sometimes I think medical folks could go an extra mile for pain relief.

Three weeks ago, I saw a doctor about an ear infection. He prescribed an antibiotic. I know many folks would have toughed out ear pain and not visited a physician. I just slipped down to my neighborhood drive-up pharmacy, handed over the prescription and swallowed the drug.

It cured my problem.

After my husband’s surgery today, I know his doctor will offer pain medicine as needed. Chuck will take as few as necessary. He will be glad when he is free of pharmaceutical helpers.

He’ll still have to take his vitamins, though he moans and groans when I give him a handful. They make me feel good, so I don’t mind swallowing A, B, C and E each morning.

In case they don’t keep away aches and pains, there must be something at the pharmacy.

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