Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best Way to Self Medicate

Some days my life seems to revolve around medication schedules, either for myself or one of my children or several of us.  This weekend it's pain meds and heavy-duty antibiotic eye drops for my son, Thing 1, who had eye surgery on Friday.  In the past we've had days and sometimes weeks and even a few months were it's been round-the-clock medication for a plethora of illnesses: asthma, eczema, pneumonia, swine flu, tonsil/adnoidectomies (we've done 4 for these in the past 5 years or so), ear infections, fungal infections (on the skin, so much fun), allergies, back injuries, and countless other surgeries... not to mention the other things like depression, anxiety and ADHD.  Anyone else feeling exhausted?  (and people wonder why I homeschool... imagine packing up half this cabinet to send to the school... and actually this is less medicine than my children required when they were in public school, so...  also, I really love to use ellipses when writing...  see?)

Our medicine cabinet.  It's a mess, I know... that's what happens when we have to dig in it multiple times a day.
See my little baskets?  I do try and keep it organized, but I am also trying to teach my kids to be responsible and accountable for their own medicine... so, we end up with this most of the time.

You know, as exhausting as it is to keep up with the various medication schedules, the most exhausting things is when you mess up a schedule or miss a dose and have to deal with the aftermath of a medication lapse.  Like an entire day of crying uncontrollably from a 14 year old boy when his anti-depressant ran out and he'd been without it for 2 days waiting for the refill to come in.  Or an unconsolable baby crying with ear pain in the middle of the night because you didn't want to wake them to give them tylenol and they really needed it.  Or when you run out of asthma meds on the day you take your kids to the zoo and spend half the night in the ER with your son that cannot breath.   Luckily, Thing 1's surgery actually went really well and managing his meds has been super easy.  For two reasons mostly: 1) he's getting older and can tell me when he needs the meds--thank goodness someone can speak up and everything isn't left to my terrible memory.  2) The doc did such a great job.  Two days after my boy's surgery and he is no longer needing any pain meds :)  We love Dr Moody!  

My sweet Thing 1 just out of surgery.  There's only one patch, but he did have surgery on both eyes.

Most of us use daily meds, it's kind of a package deal with our Western diet, at least in part.  And they are a pain and expensive, but we can't live without them.  Even when we choose to forgo them we usually end up self-medicating anyway.  So might as well stick to prescriptions, right?

As a mother, I have struggled over the years, not wanting to 'medicate' my children.  I came to a point when I realized they were self-medicating anyway.... zoning out to video games, eating too much or too little, breaking things or cleaning things, refusing to play, hurting themselves, etc. all as a way to control or manage themselves--both physically and emotionally--and the world around them.  I wish it wasn't so, I wish there were some magical cure for all that ails.  So far there isn't.  These imperfect bodies we are given are simply that: imperfect.  They are mortal, prey to sickness and disease, prone to emotional overloads and mental failings.  They are impatient and distracted.  They are impulsive and have a need to control.  They are stubborn and don't always listen to the spirit within them... or to their mothers!  All that aside, we can simply say, they require a lot of upkeep.  There are a multitude of things we must do for our bodies to keep them going everyday, to keep them running like they should, or at least, to the best of their ability.  We all have short comings and weaknesses and imperfections (there's that word again).  

But what about our spirits?  Do we realize we aren't our bodies--this thing that constantly gets in our way in one form or another?  Do we know and understand that we are not defined by our body?  We are responsible for our body's upkeep and maintenance, yes.  We are responsible and accountable for what we do with our body, most definitely.  But should be define ourselves by our bodies alone?  Most emphatically, we should not.

It is an eternal truth, whether you buy into it or not, that we are more than just our body.  There is a spirit in us.  A spirit that is eternal, that will never die.  And while we are taking care to manage, medicate, and control our bodies, we must also remember to maintain and nourish our spirits too.  The question, maybe, is how?

I know what works for me.  I have truths I hold dear about who my spirit is, where I came from, and where I'm going.  But I am a strong believer in people finding out truths for themselves, so I don't want to preach or push my views.  If you want to find out more, feel free to check out  I will say this though, prayer, fasting and spiritual learning are the things my spirit needs.  That is what nourishes me.  What nourishes you?  That eternal part of you that, if you let it, understands there is more to existence then the here and now.  How do you care for it?

Here is what I offer, an universal medication that does every soul good--the soul being the combined unit of the spirit and the body.  Scientifically, we know there is prove and truth that this medicine cures our physical ills.  Spiritually, there is no doubt that we call it 'lifting our spirits' for a reason.  So what's the magic pill?     Laughter.  Every now and again, we are too serious, too uptight and too controlling.  We need to lighten the load and the best way to do that is laughter.

It's like letting a little air out of a balloon.  That funny farty, splirty noise releases the tension in the balloon and makes us smile.  A little self-deprecation does the body good.  Check out what I mean by that statement on this blog- The Weed.  Very good for lightening your mood for the day and an excellent example of laughing through all of life's many messes.

Here's a case in point from my own life:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I decided we'd stay home today and give Thing 1 a little more rest and another day out of the bright sun of Texas.  I awoke at 8:20-ish--I  love sleeping in--the house was quiet, so I decided to settle down in my amazing bed and finish reading a book a friend of mine is writing.  Cut to 10:30--my kids are rock stars at sleeping in!--there's someone it the kitchen rummaging for breakfast, so I decide to get up.  Thing 1, Bruncle and Big Brother are up.  It's time to give Thing 1 his eye drops, so I grab his hand and pull him into the dark half-bath so he can take off his sunglasses and it won't hurt his eyes.  The smell hits me first.  It's like a port-a-potty on a hot muggy day.  I tried not the breath and just get the drops over with quickly, figuring it was a gift left by Bruncle or Big Brother this morning.  We do the drops and I'm still dying, the smell isn't dissipating at all from having the door open and the fan on.  To my joy I discover that the toilet is clogged, has been for long enough that the poop is actually dried to the toilet bowl, seat and lid... and down the back right side too.  Someone tried to plunge it and there was a mixture of wet and dried poop on the floor, the plunger and a little on the wall right above the base boards.  I didn't laugh at this point, I was having a hard time not vomiting from the smell.  

I asked around, trying to get to the bottom of it.  Who did this?  Who left it?  Who tried to plunge it?  Who knew about it and didn't tell me, letting it sit and rot and dry?  Who? Who? WHO?

Of course, no one would fess up to a thing.  Eight hours later, they still won't.  And you know what?  I wouldn't either!  Like anyone wants to admit: Uh, mom, I was taking a dump and uh... I plugged up the toilet.  I tried to fix it, but just ended up flinging poop everywhere and making a mess.  Sorry.

So I put on my trusty latex gloves, grabbed some disinfectant spray, Ajax, Soft Scrub (yes, the one day I am out of toilet bowl cleaner this happens) and paper towels.  Took me a while to clean it all up all the while I thought about the fact that in a house with four boys, four special needs boys, this was not the first, nor would it be the last time I cleaned up this kind of mess.... and then I thought of my boys' future wives.  That's when I started laughing.  

See, even in elbow-deep poop, life is funny.  I mean, if you can't laugh about poop, what else is there to laugh about.

Smile.  Enjoy all that's good in life.  Laugh at the rest and move on.  

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