Monday, July 7, 2008

Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals

I start every day with a cocktail of prescriptions. Many people in my age bracket do - it is part of the aging process I believe. I just take them, and go about my day. Lately, I have begun to really try and understand what it is I'm taking, and what the side effects are. It is all part of our desire to experience "conscious living". Whether it be food or pharmaceuticals, I have the desire of late to really examine what it is that goes into my body, and make the informed decision regarding its intake. Tylenol has passed the test, and I take it routinely. Now I realize that taking acetominophin in large quantities can be harmful to your stomach, but the truth is, Tylenol is keeping me functional. I have so many aches and pains and our retirement has brought about some lifestyle changes that are remarkable. I absolutely am more physical than I used to be. I am moving furniture and shuffling wallboard. Every day we have another project and it requires me to be participating. Jerry can't do it alone, and I am the other half of us, so. . . However, I am not doing this without my share of consequences. I have become quite adept at working through the pain. Which means essentially ignoring it and paying the price later. Which explains the Tylenol. I take a Bayer a day for my heart, but that doesn't do the trik for pain management. I take Tylenol for my whole body. Often.
I watched the Today show this morning (as I do every day) and saw the swimmer Dara Torres, who is 41 years old and just qualified for her fifth olympics as a swimmer. My question is this - what the heck is SHE taking? She has pledged to be clean throughout the whole olympic process, and I find that inspiring. But really, how does she do it? Now, of course 41 is just youth personified. She is still a youngster as far as I'm concerned. But there is a huge difference between being a youngster at 41 and being olympic quality athlete. At 41 I exercised and maintained a healthy lifestyle. But I was not olympic quality. The grueling training of an olympian was not realistic for me at that point of my life. I am agag that this woman has a two year old baby and is "back in the swim". wow. She must be exhausted. We spend each evening before bedtime guageing the level of pain against the level of tolerance. Can we get through a night without Tylenol PM? Does it hurt that bad? Inevitably the answer is yes, it hurts that bad. One of us will get the bottle and dole out our doses. We share a nice cold glass of water and lay back thinking, aaaaahhhh, in twenty minutes or so, the pain will go away. and it does. In the olympics we would be disqualified. We are not clean. The tylenol would show up in the blood and mark us as cheaters. Thankfully, in the olympics of life, we are not going to be tested. No one is looking to see whether we are doing this without the aid of pain killers. We are not. We do what we have to do. I am glad that I am not an olympian. I would not be smiling in triumph, but grimacing in pain. It is not my dream. I just want to get through the day. I am in awe of her perserverance. Her glorious victories. It must be thrilling. My victories are smaller. I just try not to hurt myself. So I wish this olympian no pain with gain. Go USA. Go Tylenol.

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