Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lupus Memories - Pill Splitters and Downton Abbey??


Baby Darwin needs a Pillfold. Just after the New Year, my precious pug developed what we think is just a bit of arthritis in his lower back, so the veterinarian prescribed a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory (NSAID). Per doctor’s orders, we’ve weaned him off the muscle relaxer, but I think the NSAID is here to stay. Good news is that he’s doing great, and is back to his old pugly-self. And he definitely looks forward to his peanut butter-covered pill every morning and night. (Wouldn’t we all?!)

In addition to his new NSAID, we’ve just recently added two other medications, albeit temporarily, to help him with his recovery from a doggy dental he had just a week ago. Darwin currently takes the NSAID, a pain killer and an antibiotic morning and night – which is definitely cause for a paw-friendly Pillbag. Several of the pills he takes require that I split them…and that’s definitely taken me back to my early days with lupus. I can’t tell you how many prednisone pills I’ve split over the years. Tapering down from 60 mg at one point gave me ample opportunity to split pills on a regular basis, and I became a pro. I had this little paring knife that had one irregular jagged tooth that stuck out just a bit to allow for the perfect split. Interestingly, I never invested in a pill splitter. I don’t think I ever wanted to really “commit”. The clunky pill box those pills went into was bad enough…but we all know what I’ve done about that unsightly little matter.

So as I split Dar’s pills, I think about how lucky I am that I’m not in that business for myself any longer. I take my 5 mg of prednisone every other day, no splitting required. I plan on keeping it that way.

Another reminder of my old lupus days came when I was watching an early episode of Downton Abbey. (Yes, I’m hooked…but we’re only through the first season…so don’t tell me ANYTHING!). There was a scene depicting a patient in the hospital suffering from dropsy, and fluid around the lining of his heart. Cousin Isobel recommended removing the fluid with a needle, and as the scene progressed, the fluid was extracted via needle and transferred into an IV bag. Watching that scene took me back to the couple of times I had fluid surgically removed from the lining of my lungs, via a big old needle just like the one on television. I remember watching the fluid fill the IV bags in complete disbelief, shocked and bewildered that there could actually be that much errant fluid in my body. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to reckon with pleural effusion, and I hope it stays that way. It didn’t look anymore pleasant or glamorous on TV!


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