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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Take a (or Many) Pills Easily

My Pills in May of 2011
In September of 2009, as a way to steadily infuse medicine into my body, I was fitted with a PICC Line, which pumped the medicine once a minute into my system via a permanently-attached tube in my arm. It was a nightmare to keep myself clean with this device on (and sleeping was no picnic either), but I eventually figured out a method that worked. I was so proud of this invention (inventions are not usually the sort of thing I’m good at, but I spent many an hour thinking about this one), that I published “How To Shower With a PICC Line” on the advice website eHow. I also published some other efforts on eHow: “How To Place Smart Bets at Craps,” How to Speak in Public Without Making a Fool of Yourself,” and “How To Make Ethical Decisions.” Authors get paid small amounts for these things (so far I’ve earned the stupefying amount of almost $10.00), but the pleasure comes from thinking about how much you may have helped others. As of this writing the PICC Line article has been viewed 1,631 times! My latest article has the title of this post, and what follows is its text.

Taking a pill is a tremendous task for a great number of people. “I can’t swallow pills!” they’ll tell you, almost as if proud of this failing. That’s a shame, since it’s really quite easy to accomplish this mundane task. If you’re one of these people, how can you conquer your pill aversion? 
The usual adversion most people have is a combination of the mental and physical. The first difficulty comes from the word “can’t.” Very bad mindset comes from the word “can’t”; it always annoys me when I hear it said. If you “can’t” do something (speak in public, ask someone out on a date, stop eating), then you really can’t. Try saying this aloud instead: “I find taking pills difficult, and I’m bad at it, but perhaps I can learn how to do it so it’s no big deal.” Much better.

The physical part is mostly mechanical. You put the pill on your tongue, and instantly that bad mindset kicks in. Ugh! Well, stop that! The pill is tiny. You’ve often put huge objects in your mouth without gagging or worrying. Calm yourself. Think of it as a mint or, better yet, don’t think of it at all. Just put the pill in your mouth on the front to middle part of your tongue (not the tip). Now take a drink of water. Don’t swallow the pill, swallow the water. The pill will go where the water goes. Concentrate only on the water; forget the pill entirely.

If it doesn’t go down, simply drink more water. Stop worrying about the pill. It’s a tiny object, much smaller than many things you routinely consume without thought. Treat it like that and you’ll be fine.

Mindset is all here (as in many things). I myself can take up to fifteen pills of various sizes at one gulp. I’m proud of that, but that’s because it’s my mindset to be able to do this, and, frankly, I’m showing off. But, having had a heart transplant in November of 2009, I’d better be able to take large numbers of pills easily or my life would be hell.

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