Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 meds that got me through nine to five

Photo courtesy of ShyScapes Photography
There are people who won't so much as take an aspirin for a headache. It's almost against their religion. I am not one of those strange people. When you grow up in the Third World, health insurance does not appear on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Now that I have it, I not only use it avidly, I stock our medicine cabinet the way lots of folks keep a well stocked bar. Here is a resource for people who would like to become pharmacy technicians and help people feel better.

In my youth, every tooth in my head save for one molar sustained a cavity. My mouth was the perfect scale model of the Grand Canyon. As an adult in the Land of Milk and Honey, I parried with my orthodontist, who wanted to extract that one perfect molar before encasing my choppers in the torture device known as braces. I sacrificed the unhealthy one next to it, but the ensuing gap meant I had to get a bridge installed. Sometimes having dental insurance just means they will think up numerous ways to rearrange your teeth.

At 14, I went through weeks of stomach cramping and fever spikes without my parents breaking a sweat. One day I came home from school with the whites of my eyes a dull yellow. Then it occurred to them that I might need to go to a hospital. I stayed for two weeks, subsisting on a fat-free diet to ease the load on my liver.

I recount this without self-pity. But I thought you ought to know this bit of background so that you can appreciate how far the pendulum has swung. I will pop an ibuprofen for the slightest muscle twitch. Being that I teach dance, muscle twitches are a fact of life for me. Don't worry; I know to avoid acetaminophen after that liver-busting bout with hepatitis A.

In a previous life as a nine-to-fiver, my willingness, nay, compulsion to pop meds was in prime form. Perusing the pharmacy aisles was a pleasant way to pass the time. Labels were such fascinating reads. I culled the many chemical options down to a manageable five. These were my version of the five food groups:

1.     Cortisol. To keep belly fat from accumulating during periods of stress. Since it was one continuous stressfest, I kept the Cortisol in my top drawer next to the squeeze ball. Note: It didn't work. I have pictures of my belly bumping up against my desk. I was a sluggish blob.

Indolence by Jasper June
2.     Ginseng. To mitigate exhaustion from insomnia on top of commuting 100 miles a day. And to keep from glazing over from unrelenting boredom.

I'm Bored/Je M'ennuie by Letterpress Delicacies
3.     Ginkgo biloba. To improve spotty perimenopausal memory. Crucial in keeping track of which derrieres to kiss.

The Schmooze by begforabag
4.     SAM-e. To elevate mood in the midst of furloughs, layoffs, infighting and irrational demands.

Depression glass at Hoarders Haven
5.     Antacids. To counteract stomach acid flare-up during extreme agitation from keeping my mouth shut.

Heart Attack necktie by Cyberoptix Tie Lab
The meds I weaned myself off the second I stopped working there: All of the above. My pillbox is empty.

SweetHeartSinner Creations
I want to thank the etsy sellers whose items have handsomely illustrated my ditty to working for myself. Do visit my complete treasury (etsy speak for curated collection) here.

One last:
Mano y Metal
Do you work for someone else or for yourself? How do you like yourself as Top Banana?


  1. I remember waiting until I was covered in a rash and had difficulty walking before I went to a doctor and found out I had scarlet fever, Scrollwork. Great post -- and great treasury! (I want that cat.) :)

    Usually, I'm my own boss. And I can be demanding, unreasonable, really supportive or harshly critical -- depending on the day. I can even turn a blind eye when I see my employee playing Hearts, Solitaire and Minesweeper. But, I draw the line at WordZap. (An employer has to have her limits.) I think I might go on strike. ;)

    I'm glad your pillbox is empty!

  2. Scarlet fever! Sounded romantic. Until I looked it up. Ack! Poor you.

    Now, now, we must be the most indulgent, lax, granny-like bosses to ourselves as we can manage. I insist. If not us, who?

    Whatever shall I do with my unused pillboxes? My ginormous mints can barely fit in them. The only pillbox I need now is a hat.

  3. I hate going to the doctor and found out that I was pregnant with my second daughter 4 months into the pregnancy (...).
    I am starting to believe that I have a problem with authority. I am supposed to be my own boss but i keep questioning everything. And I love changing my mind.
    Glad your pillbox is empty....

  4. Muriel, four months? Wow!

    Scrollwork, I squashed scarlet fever like a bug -- after a lot of pain, high fever and antibiotics. :) I love being my own boss. It's just that the creative and business sides sometimes clash. My employer allows and encourages my freedom of expression, but can get nervous about levels of productivity and profits. When both parties shut up and just do what they do best, it's magic! :)

    P.S. - Try the Altoids Smalls. ;D

  5. I do have a boss. His name is Teddy.

  6. Sleepy as I am, I spotted a typo and had to redo my earlier comment:

    You weren't even a teensy bit curious enough to get one of those early pregnancy detectors, Muriel? Surprise! Am I in the minority here, being the best boss to myself I've ever had? Maybe it's overcompensation for the seventh circle of hell I had to exist in prior to taking the boss reins in my own hands.

  7. Kenya, there are Lilliputian cousins to Altoids? Must have!

    Connie, you sure Teddy's a boss and not your master?

  8. Hi there! Not only are you your own boss but you are very resourceful indeed. I liked your suggestion of a having a business plan for my post-corporate life, and thanks for the link. Muriel

  9. You're welcome, Muriel!

    Sam, with bosses like yours, work-life balance is not just possible but a given. It's never a drudgery, either, as they are a constant source of amazement!

  10. Haven't had a boss in a while. Last one gave me an ulcer.

    Now I am trying to establish myself as a freelance writer for businesses. So far, so bad, but I'm a very understanding boss.