Dressing for the ER: an update

I didn’t have a lot of time to decide what to wear to the ER last week, but you know without even asking what I didn’t wear. I left those socks at home and put on my whitest least-sporty pair. In fact, I skipped the yoga wear altogether, even though I would have been a lot more comfortable had I worn it. Instead, I put on my fashionable cuffed cotton pants, a white t-shirt, and a striking floral blouse with a white background.

Let’s say the choice of white was not the smartest, except for the socks, of course. A visit to the ER invariably involves blood work of some kind, and often an IV. In fact, I was poked in both arms over the course of the day, and each time I panicked that my beautiful blouse would get stained.

Later in the day, with the IV in my right arm, a nice fellow came to take blood from my left. You guys know how this works: the needle goes in, the blood is drawn, the needle is withdrawn, the patient then holds a cotton ball over the little hole to aid clotting. Well, my right arm was otherwise engaged; the IV in it prevented my bending it to reach my left elbow. The nice technician, despite noticing that I was still bleeding, taped me up and went on his merry way. Stupid Annie did not say: “Whoa, Mr. Technician, get back here!”

Woman doing yoga on ground with arms extended, bent forward, right food behind neck.

I obviously need to work on this pose.

I didn’t really expect my paucity of platelets to be up to this clotting task without the help of pressure from my right hand, and I was right. Within a few minutes, blood was seeping through the gauze, threatening an all-out attack on my blouse. As an experienced yogi, you’d think I could have manoeuvred my right foot up to my left elbow to provide the needed pressure, but no. Luckily, J., who had been off briefly addressing a work matter (her needs taking precedence yet again), returned to find me bleeding profusely and called the nurse over for help. After a quick rebandageing, J.’s capable hand provided the needed pressure to my elbow, and disaster was averted.

Despite this bloody crisis, I still don’t regret what I wore that day. A lot of thought went into that outfit. I wanted to look my best for the doctors. I figured if I presented myself like someone who leaves her house, maybe I’d get to go back home at the end of the day. Magical thinking, I know, but it worked. No hospital admission for me.

I’ve already selected my outfit for my next ER visit, but I’ll skip the white blouse. (I learned something from that bleeding incident.) I will match head to toe, I will be wearing my finest, I will again distract the doctors with my fashion sense, and I trust they’ll believe everything I tell them and let me go home. Now if J. would only stop telling the docs she’s there to stop me from minimizing my symptoms….

 

 

Whose gut is it anyway?

I wish I could tell you I’ve always trusted my intuition, but I’d be lying. When I do listen to my gut, I make fairly good decisions, like pursuing psychology as a profession, developing a relationship with J., and parking far away from those evil shopping carts.

Still, I often doubt myself and stress over even minor decisions. For example, I marvel at people who fly through the produce section, selecting items by the handful rather than examining each one painstakingly like I do. Oh, the time they must save!

I have come to rely on J. for guidance when my gut’s stuck, and I often trust her intuition more than my own. She is wise and thoughtful and she is much better at weighing all options rationally and fairly. She also helps me to trust my own gut when I’m floundering.

I was thinking about our respective guts last week when I was feeling quite unwell, and not just because I’d lost my appetite. My energy had been tanking in recent weeks. I started stewing about how my daily productivity was on a decline, and I feared my CML was progressing. Then, last Tuesday, Dr. Blood confirmed I had become anemic over the past 6 weeks. Anemic enough to feel crummy but not quite enough to require a blood transfusion. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

My mood tanked even lower following my ER visit the next day. I’ve told you before that doctors new to me don’t understand my complex body and predict doom in a way that my usual doctors do not. I wish I could let their comments slide, but because I’d been confronting my mortality of late, I was primed to focus on every scary thing each of those unfamiliar doctors told me. I became increasingly overwhelmed following this visit.

Being scared is not a good place for me. I stew, I stop sleeping, I feel hopeless, and ultimately I get depressed. I’d advise you to skip this path; it’s not helpful when you’re trying to work through an emotionally challenging issue. But occasionally I go to that dark place because, well, I do have cancer.

I shared my worries with J., and she paused, considered what I’d said and, in her thoughtful way, responded: “Oh, shut up (in a loving tone of course). You’ve been through periods like this before and you’ve recovered. The doctors just need to sort you out. And Dr. Blood said recently that your leukemia is so well controlled that your death from cancer is potentially years off.” Did Dr. Blood say that? Yes, she did. Amazing how fear makes it hard to retain the good news.

I want to trust J.’s gut on this one, but considering how poorly she’s done in her hockey pool, I’m not sure I can anymore. If you recall, J. entered herself in the pool based on her first choices, and then entered me based on her runners up. And guess who’s in the lead? I am! I’m at the top of the pool as of this morning and a solid 8 points ahead of J.

Clearly I need to start trusting myself, except for those times when I need a swift kick in the pants. I’ll still call on J. then.

Quote: Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn't lie."

A quote for my headstone

Blank headstone

Hmmm, what to write…

I realize that once I die, I won’t have much say in what happens to me. J. and I have discussed my basic wishes–yes, I want a funeral, no, I don’t want to be cremated because it’s unJewish, and yes, donate any and all organs that aren’t spoiled by my various ailments–but I’m leaving the obituary and eulogy up to J.

To ease J.’s burden after I die, I scripted my own headstone this week: It was all about her. I can’t take credit for this insight, though. Long ago, our good friends, the Double Ps, gave us a garden stake with this quote on it. They made it clear they meant the gift for me. Yes, this was their impression even before I got cancer. They were right, and we’re still friends.

Now that I have cancer, my relationship with J. has unfortunately become all the more about me. The latest evidence of this relationship inequity is our spending J.’s birthday in the Emergency Room. “Surprise, honey, hope you liked your gift. Enough about you. Now take me to the hospital!”

Well, that was unexpected, wasn’t it? I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and shared a concerning symptom with the caring hematology fellow who called to follow up on my Cancer Centre visit Tuesday. She (I love it when fellows are female–calls for a change in terminology, don’t you think?) told me to get my tuchus to the ER.

I don’t like to go to the ER, and I really wanted J. to have one day that was solely about her, so my inner five-year old resisted. I asked the female fellow if I might go the next day instead. She consented reluctantly, but told me to take action if my symptoms worsened. As soon as I hung up, I grew up and called J. in tears to tell her where we’d be spending her birthday. Oh, but first I dried my tears and saw a client while J. arranged for emergency dog care from our beloved jump-into-action friend, C.

And so it came to pass that we spent J.’s birthday hanging out with smart and kind medical professionals who marvelled over my curious body and debated whether to admit me or send me home to follow up with my specialists. J. brought work along to fill the waiting hours. (J. believes she gets more work done at the hospital because there are fewer interruptions.) Thankfully, after a long day and a platelet top up–thanks yet again blood donors!–the doctors concurred my death was not imminent and allowed me to go home.

We left just in time for J. to pick up her birthday meal of choice: Dinner for One from the local Chinese restaurant. Then our dear friend M. dropped by with her beloved chocolate cake with mocha icing. Best gift ever. J. knew I wasn’t faking when I refused a slice.

Illness makes our life too much about me, and this time, to my dismay, J. lost her special day. I know this health journey has not been fun for her, but we tried to make the best of a bad situation. We are experts at that.

(She was) Surprise(d)!

Some of you may know that today is Earth Day, but from hereon in, Earth Day will be your reminder that it’s J.’s birthday. Happy Birthday J.!

If you recall, two months ago I arranged for the perfect present for J., but I was worried I’d never be able to keep the secret. Well, I did it, thanks to the ongoing support of my secretive friends. J. had no idea. Unfortunately, to get to the happy ending, I must first remind you of our break in that now dates back a few months, and the loss of our jewelry. The easiest way for the Bad Guy to make off with our jewelry was to throw our jewelry boxes in my pillowcase and run out the door with them.

A few weeks after our break in, we happened upon the incredible Alberta Craft Council store in Edmonton, where we both spotted a gorgeous wooden box with two drawers. J. took a special interest in said box, fondling it and opening and closing the drawers. Her subtlety was not lost on me. Unfortunately, this box had already been sold.

So when we got home, I did a bit of internet searching and found the names of the woodworking artists who had crafted the box, Jean-Claude and Talar Prefontaine. I emailed to ask them if they could make a similar box for J. They happened to live in Calgary, so, unbeknownst to J., we discussed the box and the required date and they went to work.

In the meantime, J. and I had been purchasing little bits of jewelry here and there, not to replace what we’d lost but so we’d have something to wear if the occasion arose. We’d bought a few random adornments, storing them in a makeshift wooden box, but at some point a real jewelry box became necessary. J. saw some nice ones she wanted me to look at so off we went, although I did drag my heels a bit. When we got to the store, I convinced J. to buy the smaller and cheaper of two possibilities since a larger, emptier one would just remind J. of her losses. Can you believe I pulled that off without suspicion? Neither can I.

So this morning, on J.’s birthday, while she was in the shower, instead of falling back to sleep like I usually do, I raided my careful hiding place and transferred all J.’s jewelry into this beautiful piece of art. Then at approximately 6:58 a.m., the precise time for earring selection each morning, J. ambled over to the dresser only to discover her gift.

I kept the secret! She was surprised! It almost killed me to hold out but it was worth it. I think she likes it, but you’ll have to ask her. I may not have a lot of funds now that I’m not working, but I still have taste. You can judge for yourself.

jewelry box

My square inch

Picture of square with 1 in squared inside, with one finger on each side to show the narrow spacingI’m still pondering Brené Brown’s inspirational talk last week. I liked her suggestion that we each draw a one-inch square–that’s 6.4516 square centimetres–and write in it the names of people whose opinions matter to us. Our inch should include only people who accept us for our strengths and our shortcomings. I don’t know how small you write, but I can only fit a few names, after the dog’s, of course. (Don’t worry, if you are kind enough to support me by reading my blog, you are in my inch.) Still, I took this exercise as permission to stop worrying about what everyone thinks of me and to focus on my notable few. If I can accomplish this, I’ll save a lot of fretting time.

I may have taken this exercise a bit too far on Friday, though, when I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Eye. I should say that, even before our encounter Friday, I would never include Dr. Eye in my square inch. I’m judging a book by her cover, which I shouldn’t do, but she’s just not my inch type.

Dr. Eye sealed her inch exclusion when I saw her last week. I had had a long, gruelling, exhausted week, and figured my follow-up appointment that day would be quick. And indeed I spent barely five minutes with the doctor, after an hour-long wait during which I had increasing difficulty accessing my happy place.

I made the mistake of sharing my displeasure with the nurse and the doctor. I didn’t pout or whine; I just told both of them that I was too tired to endure such long waits. I did not say that I had leukemia and perhaps I should have, since I doubt either would have recalled my medical history given the office’s volume of patients.

In response to my concerns, the nurse reminded me that a 2-4 hour wait for each appointment was typical, implying that I should be grateful I was seen so promptly. She added that all specialists are busy. Unlikable Annie chirped back: “I see a lot of specialists.”

And the truth is, I usually don’t mind waiting for my hospital-based doctors, who have limited resources and space. I trust they’re doing the best they can. I’ve even written about this matter previously. But Dr. Eye is in a fancy, spacious private building with its own café which patients unfortunately cannot access because they might not hear their name called. In this setting, I can’t help but feel Dr. Eye’s overscheduling is for her own benefit.

When I’d finished complaining, the doctor determined her diagnosis was incorrect, and her course of treatment ineffective. She told me an eye surgeon would need to remove and biopsy my little lump, but I’d have to seek the referral from my family doctor; she wouldn’t refer me because I was grumpy. Was she punishing me for confronting her? I’ll never know. Remember, we covered a lot of ground in a very short time.

In response to her refusal to refer me, I insisted that, because she had recommended the course of action and she had the knowledge of the ophthalmology community, I expected her to make the referral. She reluctantly agreed. Now I can’t wait to see her referral letter. Will she tell the surgeon that, in addition to the pain in my eye, I’m just one big pain in the tuchus? (“Tuchus”, Yiddish for “butt”, is a great word for you to have in your arsenal.) If so, I’d tend to agree.

After this disaster, I doubt I’ll make the cut for Dr. Eye’s square inch. But thanks to Brené, I don’t really care about who likes me anymore.

This lesbian’s rite of passage

This post is yet another about one of my abject failures in lesbianship: I am not sports minded at all. Whereas J. can claim excellence in every sport she has ever attempted, I cannot. We’re talking national-level champion vs. abject klutz. Yes, I can dress sporty like any good lesbian, but my body is not sporty.

Old black and white picture of women's hockey team

I’m not on the team.

Whereas any true lesbian’s first skates are of the hockey persuasion (real lesbians wore hockey skates long before it was hip for girls to do so), my skates have always been white. I could throw (like a girl) and occasionally catch a softball, but put me on a team and I’d inevitably strike out.

Why would sensitive and loving me care about sports anyhow? I like the Life section in the newspaper, not the Sports section. Give me the human interest stories over the sports stats. Sure, I’m interested in the athletes, but not for how well they play; I care about their social behaviour. Are they nice guys or fighters? Do they do good charity work? How do they treat their child fans? Yes, I care about how they are as people. I guess those behaviours don’t necessarily translate into hockey greatness.

But over the past few years, in an effort to bridge our ever-growing sports gap, I have been peppering J. with very basic questions about sports. I have discovered a new domain of studentship and, as always, I am eager to learn. Hockey, Canada’s national pastime, provides an excellent opportunity for growth. I now understand slashing and roughing–don’t be mean to each other, boys!-and too many men on the ice but I doubt I’ll ever catch an offside before the whistle, even though I know what one is.

Any lesbian in good standing would know that NHL playoffs started this past Wednesday. For the past few years, J. has participated in a hockey pool at work. Each year she puts in $2, hoping to win the pot of $20 or so. And each year she doesn’t win, despite the fact that she chooses her roster wisely.

I’d like to say that I entered this year’s hockey pool of my own volition, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Rather, on Wednesday, I got an email informing me that I had signed up to participate as “Annie’s Aces”. (I never would have picked that lame name for myself. “Annie’s Get Your Guns”, maybe, or “Annie’s Alliterative Alligators”, but “Annie’s Aces”?) Turns out J. selected my roster over her lunch hour so I could be part of the fun (and so she could using my name to play against herself). Her approach is potentially more lucrative than my choosing my own players, I realize, but it still seems a little shady to me. But J. knows that had I chosen my roster, I’d be at the bottom of the pool heap.

Well, imagine my excitement Thursday morning when I learned I was one point ahead of J. in the standings. But this morning, J. had gained a point over me, and so I said something uncharacteristically unsportswomanlike. In response, J. chastised me for getting all competitive about our standings and threatened to withdraw my entry. Don’t tell her but I think she’s just worried about losing to me.

But what if it turns out J.’s second choices are better than her firsts? Wouldn’t that be ironic? There’s no other way I could beat J. at anything remotely sports related, so here’s hoping. Wish me luck.

My dog is my role model

This past Monday, I didn’t just go to a women’s leadership conference because Martha Stewart was speaking; I went because my tattooed fairy godmother graciously bestowed upon me a free conference pass. How could I pass on a pass from my beloved fairy godmother?

In case you don’t know me at all, my wearing a business suit and networking with working women would be highly out of character, even when I was one of them. So, instead, I put on my best jeans, hung out with the lovely women with whom I share my fairy godmother, and immersed myself in a new experience.

I was surprised that the speakers gave me a lot to think about, and I found Brené Brown’s ideas especially compelling. I hadn’t even heard of her, but her honesty and willingness to share about her personal experience made her relatable. Brené (Dr. Brown, that is, with a Ph.D. in social work) believes it takes courage to be vulnerable. Most of us don’t think of these two notions aligning, but I was primed to jump on her bandwagon. And not just because I personalize everything all the time.

I had been stewing over my last post. Did I share too much with all of you? Do you really want to hear that I spent a few days alternating between crying and being mean? After I posted, I wondered if I had sounded too needy or pathetic or just downright nasty. I figured I’d lost a few likability points, at least. But thanks to Brené’s timely insights, I’m trying to let that go.

In my blog, I try to share snippets of my authentic experience with you. I’ve acknowledged that, psychologist or not, I’m fallible, I’m overwrought sometimes, and, despite my best efforts at kindness, I think and occasionally even say things that aren’t so nice. I share these shameful moments with you because I’m trying to accept that even the bad stuff is part of who I am. And I figure that unless you’re perfect, you’ll forgive me that and we can still be friends. Heck, maybe you’ll even be a little less hard on yourself next time you don’t feel like you’ve lived up to your own excessively high standards. Brené has given me permission to treat myself with more compassion, and I’m sure she’d extend that permission to you too.

Border collie eating large sandwich off table

How nice of you to make this for me!

How do you think Brené will feel when I approach her with an amendment to her theory? She hasn’t considered, as I have, that sometimes we need to let our dogs be our guides. How ashamed did Jelly feel this morning when she decided to eat the soil out of the potted plant we had stupidly placed within her reach? Sure, she may have felt bad when she got caught, but that didn’t stop her from seeking out other mischievous things to do while I cleaned the mess up. And she’s not at all embarrassed that I’m telling you this story.

In case you were wondering, I can’t recount what Martha said; it didn’t really stay with me. She’s the antithesis of Brené, not an smidgen of vulnerability or acknowledged weakness in her. Easter dinner for 55? I’d like to know how many people were in the kitchen with her, and if she was in the kitchen at all. Sorry, Martha, I prefer to hang out with imperfect folk like myself. Any takers?

Confessions of an unstable psychologist

Cartoon image of 50s woman crying, with "Buaaaa!!!" in crying cartoon bubble.Lest I’ve left you with the impression that I handle my health challenges with grace and humour, I must acknowledge that I was an utter basket case throughout my medical mayhem last week. Let’s review these events more honestly. No laughing, okay?

As I sat waiting for Dr. Woman, I had my first full-blown and most certainly stress-related migraine in months. Although I held it together with the doctor, as soon as I left the office, I started crying. It was a little embarrassing, although I doubt I’m the first one who’s cried in a hospital. I even called J., asking her to leave work and drive me to my next appointment. I never do that, do I, J.?

No wonder Dr. Eye then questioned my assertion that I suffer from dry eyes. Maybe she wants to follow me not because of my health but because she thinks I’m a malingerer. I’m fearing a referral to Dr. Shrink at our next meeting.

After my long day, I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up Dr. Eye’s prescription, only to be displaced in line by an angry fellow berating staff because there were no chairs for people with impaired mobility. Although Mad Man walked up to the window with ease, he made a point of limping off, bemoaning his arthritic pain and protesting that I, a younger, able-bodied person, would be served before him. My inner churlish child, who was long overdue for a nap, blurted: “Yes, I just have leukemia.” Not my finest moment, but you know I’m a bag already.

I thought I was doing a bit better on Friday, but no visit to the Cancer Centre is easy. Thank goodness for the hug and another “I love you!” from Radiator Salima upon arriving. With my heart a-twitter, J. and I headed to a cramped waiting area, where my beating heart was quickly stilled. Six people, 8 chairs, and a patient’s wife loudly bemoaning the tardiness of the doctor–15 minutes late is early for any specialist in my books–the fact that doctor visits are so brief, and the high cost of hospital parking. Everyone but J. and I was engaged in this festive discussion. I almost fled the building screaming, but just in time, the nurse called this patient in, thereby ending the conversation. My blubbering restarted, which J. managed to soothe while responding to urgent work emails. Now that’s multitasking!

That day, I realized how hard I work not to let others’ negativity affect me. Sometimes I fail. Why was I surprised by all the tears? They were fairly predictable now that I look back on it. Lots to process over a short time, with a few extra stressors thrown in.

What turned things around? A lovely young pharmacist we’ve met before walked by, saw that I was upset–bet she too wouldn’t believe I suffer from dry eyes–and turned back to ask if I was okay. Then the Cookie Ladies arrived. I didn’t cry when there were no Fudgee-Os, thank God. Soon after, I was discharged by the kindly Dr. Radi-O, and I went home.

I can’t say I was chipper for the rest of the day; I was exhausted and trying to make sense of all my news. But my eyes are dry again. Maybe I’ll be able to circumvent that Dr. Shrink referral after all when I see Dr. Eye later this week.

 

I long to be unpopular

Remember all those teenage years we spent wishing we were popular? Oh, maybe you didn’t because you were part of the popular crowd, tormenting the rest of us with your hipper clothes and blonder hair and slimmer body and cuter boyfriend. (Remember, I thought I was straight then.) I should only speak for myself, I guess. But now that I’ve experienced popularity as an adult, I’d give it up in a second.

Every physician I meet seems to want a piece of me. I know it’s not my charm or my wit or my scintillating conversation; it’s my fascinating lemon of a body. How do I tell these folks vying for my attention that my little black book is full? I just don’t have time for another relationship right now. I barely have time for myself and my family.

Thursday I spent four hours in doctors’ offices. I had to skip savasana to get to the first doctor, who was running so far behind I was almost late for the second. I figured I’d see both of them that day and be done with them. But nooooo, they had other ideas.

The first, whom we’ll call Dr. Woman, and not just because she’s a woman, had sent me away for tests, the results of which unfortunately require follow up in an operating room in a few months. Very nice woman, that Dr. Woman, but I was hoping the tests findings would result in our not needing to forge a lasting relationship. No such luck.

The second lovely woman, whom we’ll call Dr. Eye–no explanation needed, I trust–addressed my concern, a little lump in my eyelid that is probably nothing more than a wee infection. I figured medication or maybe a little careful snip-snip and a follow up and that would be it. But no, she too wants to have a lasting relationship with me. Dr. Woman I can kind of understand, but does Dr. Eye really need to follow me just because I have leukemia? She seems to think so.

Maybe once you have cancer in one part of your body, doctors want to make sure you don’t get cancer in any other parts. I must admit I wasn’t really worried about my eyes. I almost told Dr. Eye that she’d have to take a number and wait in line. I worry I may spend the rest of my days visiting doctors of varying persuasions. If this is popularity, I want nothing of it, thanks.

By the grace of God, today Dr. Radi-O freed up a spot on my relationship roster. He kindly told me he didn’t want to see me again. Based on the improvements in my symptoms alone, Dr. Radi-O decided our relationship is over for now, but the door is always open if I need to return, i.e., if my spleen decides to try busting out of my gut again. He stressed I was welcome to call anytime if I missed him.

How could I break his heart by telling him I won’t have time? I’ve gotten so popular since our last visit that I don’t know when I’d fit him in.

Picture of calendar with every day blocked off and sticky note saying you'll have to book appt. in November

Is Bob your uncle?

I’m sure you haven’t been able to stop thinking about who Bob is. Wish I could tell you. That last post garnered no comments, no true confessions, not even any Bob impersonators. So I have decided on one of two explanations: one of my friends is indeed a psychopath (my diagnostic skills must be rusty); or, Bob left his eggs at the wrong house. If Bob does choose to reveal himself, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Thank goodness identifying Bob has been my greatest concern this week since the next few days I’ll be in medical mayhem. I have appointments with three specialists, including Dr. Radi-O, and I’ll find out whether I’ll be getting that special glow again.

Remember how I absurdly told you that I’d prefer radiation to a new medication? As if radiation were less toxic than a little daily pill? Well, I didn’t want to leave you with the impression that I’m completely anti-pill. In fact, there’s one medication I pine for every time gout rears its ugly head, which is every couple of months lately.

When I was in the ICU a few years back with multi-organ failure–doesn’t that sound exotic, kind of like a tropical vacation?–the doctors weren’t exactly sure what was killing me. They thought my chemo and my liver might be duking it out, but they also questioned the role of a highly effective but toxic medication I’d been taking to prevent gout. However dangerous this medication was, it worked. But after my organs came back to life, my relationship with this wonder pill was severed forever.

I pine for this pill sometimes. I’ve begged the doctors for a prescription, but each and every one has said: “No way, José Annie.” So instead of taking this dangerous preventive medication, I have to take a different highly toxic pill whenever gout strikes, which is much more often than it used to. I hate this new medication and have resisted taking it for years, but as I’ve resigned myself to its place in my life, I’ve learned it really works. Unfortunately, in the process, it makes me sick. I won’t describe the side effects since they’re not fit to print, and I’m trying to keep this blog G-rated (G ≠ GROSS).

So I have a choice between feeling pain and feeling gross. Which would you choose? Well, despite my chickeny nature, I have a curiously high pain threshold. Paradoxically, I am an abject failure as a chronic pain patient. Sure, I’ve had episodes of pain, sometimes lasting a lot longer than I’d like, but these episodes have always resolved over time, with or without medical intervention.

So I now choose a week of feeling gross over a longer episode of intense pain that hangs on day and night. Others might make a different choice. In some ways the cure is worse than the illness, but that’s sometimes the sickie’s reality. Side effects, even unpleasant ones, are a part of staying well. This sickening pill is my lesser of two evils. And feeling gross won’t kill me, right? It hasn’t thus far.

Wide-eyed man with pill in hand and glass of water