Heart made of pills

© Nataliya Vaitkevich, Pexels.com

Bizarre—and humdrum—as it may sound, I am here to tell you about the myriad of drugs I now take on a daily basis. Why? Because I woke up this morning and, to my surprise, found myself adding drug-makers to the list of people and things I give thanks for.

That list always starts with appreciating my late husband of 50 years. So I’d like to understand how drug manufacturers have joined my beloved Trond, who totally eschewed drugs, near the beginning of my daily so-called gratitude practice.

As a progressive who would surely be dubbed a “woke socialist” by the Maga crowd—and maybe even by some of my liberal friends—I’m not exactly a fan of Big Pharma. What’s more, for the better part of my life, I’ve prided myself on not taking so much as an aspirin from one year to the next. I was downright glib about it.

Well, that has certainly changed, and I realized this morning that I am beyond grateful to the people who developed the drugs that keep me functioning into my old age, more or less. Truly! There are four such drugs, without which I would be a diarrhea-riddled, immobilized and fallen woman. (“Fallen” in the sense that I would have literally fallen on my face a lot more than I so far fortunately have.) And, okay, I’d also be more sad.

So what do I take and for what exactly? At the risk my life-savers story boring you to death, here we go.

Budesonide put a sudden, hugely welcome end to a near lifetime of severe diarrhea. Turns out I had a form of colitis that wasn’t identified until my last colonoscopy. Thank God (and whomever) for that helpful procedure and the drug that now allows me to go out and about without fear of…oops, a nasty accident and a shitload of embarrassment.

And then there’s Midodrine. After my last knee replacement surgery, I found I was getting pretty dizzy whenever I stood up quickly. I was sometimes almost fainting. Seems I have a condition called orthostatic hypotension, where blood pressure drops dramatically when the body changes position from sitting to standing. Thanks to Midodrine, I have less fear, and less likelihood, of falling. You gotta like that.

But my most recent, and by far most consequential drug is called Sinemet. It’s a combination of two elements called carbidopa and levodopa, which together mitigate the immobilizing symptoms of my recently diagnosed Parkinsonism. By replacing the dopamine my brain isn’t making enough of, it helps me move almost normally, which was decidedly not the case for a year or so before the drug. Thank you, Big Pharma!

Okay, and now there’s the drug I’m a little ashamed about taking but want to confess to. It’s called Tramadol, and you may have heard of it because it’s an opioid that makes you feel so good it can become addictive. I started taking it because of back pain, which truth be told is no longer an issue.

What *is* an issue is that when I wake up in the morning, I am regularly assaulted by a sense of dread so pervasive I am not able to shake it on my own. Two 50 mg tablets of Tramadol do the trick, taking the sharp edge off what, without them, is an almost unbearable psychic pain.

I don’t pretend to understand why I feel so dreadful in the morning or how those two little tablets can me help me quickly feel more like myself again. But they do, and I am hugely grateful to the drug company that figured that one out.

I know, I know… You worry that I might become addicted and be tempted to take lots more of them. It’s true that the effects wear off quickly and that over time the dosage doesn’t produce as powerful an effect as it did in the beginning. But the good news is I’ve been taking the drug for four or five years and I have managed never once to take even one extra pill. Yes, I’ve been tempted, but I’ve never succumbed, for which I am also grateful. So there you have it.

I’m not sure why I needed to write this or whether my little drug tale could be of use to anyone. But here it is anyway, and I would dearly love to know how it lands with you. Do you take prescription drugs? Are you OK with it? Do you think less of me or anyone else for buying into Big Pharma? Let us know, as we all benefit from your thoughtful comments.

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.

18 Comments

  1. Marian September 30, 2023 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    All I can say Deary, Is I wouldn’t be alive, or I’d be stroke ridden, brain addled mess, without the drugs I take. And there are days I wish our docs or lawyers, weren’t so afraid of addiction or I’d have access to more than Tylenol for pain.

    • Suzanne Grenager September 30, 2023 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Marian, for your take on the drug habit we both count on. Who knew…?

  2. Sharon October 5, 2023 at 11:39 am - Reply

    Dear Suzanne ~ Perhaps it is not Big Pharma that you are aligned with, but with the scientists that have learned from the plant kingdom how to create substances aka Medicines that help others create harmony and balance – or even to live to see another day. I am grateful that I am not on one single drug, yet who knows what my future holds? Feeling grateful for Blessings of every kind lifts our hearts, and yours is so worthy of the vast Lightness of Being.

    • Suzanne Grenager February 24, 2024 at 9:14 am - Reply

      What a beautiful thing to say, dear Sharon! Thank you from the bottom of this heart that you so graciously appreciate. May the vast Lightness of Being reign!

    • Shalom Ormsby February 26, 2024 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Well said, Sharon! Nature is the ultimate provider and teacher, and it’s wonderful that scientists are learning from nature how to support human wellness. And I’m very glad that you’re benefitting from this, Suzanne! No judgment from me about this whatsoever. ❤️

      • Suzanne Grenager February 26, 2024 at 11:17 am - Reply

        Thanks, Shalom. I appreciate the “no judgment” and your affirmation of Sharon’s wise words.

  3. Maurie February 25, 2024 at 4:49 am - Reply

    Ahhhh, I hear the light-heartedness, the gratitude, the lessening of the grip of fear and grief, your intelligence and wellspring of deep wisdom, and acceptance in your ‘voice’. Welcome back! I, too, am one who isn’t one to take pills, yet appreciate this paving of the path of gratitude if the need arises. Btw, when my mom was prescribed Tramadol years ago, I was also concerned. When I talked to the doctor, he said it was a milder one that didn’t have the strongest addictive quality like some of the other opiates.
    Happy to hear you here! I’m headed to Kripalu today (first time in at least 2 decades), and I’m appreciating that connection you and I have shared for many years! <3

    • Suzanne Grenager February 25, 2024 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      How lovely to hear from you, dear, Maurie! Thank you so much for weighing in with your kind words about me and my voice. Yours is as eloquent as ever. I’d love to hear about your Kripalu experience all these years later. I also went back once after a couple of decades, and it was very different from “the good old days.” I too appreciate that connection we share.

  4. Carol Meer February 25, 2024 at 7:14 am - Reply

    I do not judge this at all and I’m in alignment with what Sharon said about the science of making medicine from the earths bounty! And thank you to the humans that were smart enough to figure all these things out. I’m just so glad that you are better off with them. The relief you have from the tramadol is a bit like an antidepressant on the dopamine system and probably does other mysterious things for your body and brain. I’m so glad you posted this because it gives a voice to everyone who might feel some shame for taking prescription medication. Miss you, love you, Carol

    • Suzanne Grenager February 25, 2024 at 4:09 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, dear Carole, for your thoughtful observations about prescription drugs, and for appreciating what I had to say about my “habit.” I am glad if that helps others feel less shame about theirs! I love and miss you too.

  5. Shalom Ormsby February 26, 2024 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Suzanne. I’m grateful for anything and everything that supports your wellness! All of us in the Ormsby family are sending great love to you now and always… ✨❤️✨

    • Suzanne Grenager February 26, 2024 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Oh, That is so sweet of you to say, dear Shalom. Your love means a lot to me!

  6. Betsey February 26, 2024 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    You wrote this piece because you had to write it! It is as simple as that. Celebrate!!! The drugs you are taking have made a very positive change in your life.

  7. Suzanne Grenager February 26, 2024 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much, dear Betsey, for your understanding and enthusiastic support. It is very helpful to me.

  8. Karen February 27, 2024 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    As others above have said, nature and science made the drugs possible, and we can all be grateful for whatever helps us live better as we age. Congratulations to you for having the awareness to be grateful for your drugs–and sharing that awareness with us! Now I can add the drug companies who make my neuropathy meds and my glaucoma meds to my gratitude practice, which hadn’t occurred to me before. Thank you!

    • Suzanne Grenager February 29, 2024 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Thank *you*, dear Karen, for reading and commenting on my post. I’m so glad to know that you too are benefiting from taking prescription drugs. We are indeed lucky to have them!

  9. Sallie latch March 12, 2024 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    I’m so happy for you Suzanne that you get the benefits you do from the drugs you take. Of course I don’t judge you. I admire you. You have tremendous strength and wisdom, plus I love your writing. My wish for you is that if you need more drugs, and you want them, you will have them.

    Affectionately, Sallie

    • Suzanne Grenager March 15, 2024 at 9:09 am - Reply

      I am deeply touched, dear Sallie, by your very kind thoughts about me and my writing, and that you took time to articulate and post them here. Feeling grateful!

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