Empty Hands

Empty Hands

I’ve been double timing on you for the last two weeks or so, you know, writing more than one recipe each day. Today we’re leaving for vacation, to Maine to visit my husband’s parents and friends up the coast. When I wrote the rules, I had this week in mind; I knew I’d need a full week out of the kitchen at some point, so I said I could write ahead. And when I’m gone, you’ll get your daily dose: starting tomorrow, ten days of tomatoes. Save the recipes for the days when eating them off the plant has lost its allure.

All this, at (insert monster truck rally voice) EIGHT (eighteighteight) MILLIGRAMS (amsamsams) PREDNISONE (oneoneone).

Yes, it was my summer goal, and I’ve been here for ten days, waking up each morning, wondering if I’ll still feel as good as I have been. And I have been feeling good, more or less. My hands have been hurting some (you may have noticed I’ve been using the food processor more), and I’m a bit more tender in other joints, but in general, my spoon count is way up from this spring.

But no rest for the weary – I’ll start cutting back on the meth when we get back. I know I have to keep decreasing until I hit a bottom limit, a place where my body says “um, thank you, but we’ll be needing that.” I’m not looking forward to it, but at least I’m still looking for it.

I have been good, though, these last few weeks. The sun must help. Energy has outweighed fatigue on my little internal scale almost every day. After Saturday’s fun, I was all tuckered out, but lying low these last few days, sleeping well, and treading gently in my skin have payed off. And now, vacation.

The part of packing I hate most is the drug count – making sure I have enough of everything to last 10 days, plus a few extra, in case we get stuck somewhere. It makes me feel old, and unnecessarily drug-dependent. Last year, on our way to Hawaii, I realized halfway to Logan Airport that I’d forgotten all my medications. Panic. We scurried off the bus at the next stop, taxied 45 minutes home, then took a last-minute taxi from Woods Hole to Boston, skating through security just in time.

The expense was annoying; the only long-haul taxi available that night was a circa-1970 Cadillac limousine. But the part that really bothered me, the part that grated, the part that scratched at the inside of my brain for the days to follow, was that we couldn’t go on without them. They’re not a favorite t-shirt, convenient but nonessential. Not like sunscreen, which you could surely skip once or twice, if you had to. I need them. I’ve cultivated an addiction, intentionally, on doctors’ orders, and it makes me crazy, adding pills to my relatively short list of true needs, like rocks in a backpack.

I have forgotten to take them before. For most of them, that’s inconsequential, but I know the life-numbing headache and nausea that accompanies an unanticipated prednisone withdrawal: not fun. So I worry constantly about forgetting.

Luckily, on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to forget how much foreign shit I’m putting into my body. It doesn’t seem like so much. This is my morning stuff:

(And for those of you who say you can’t swallow pills: I can now swallow this little pile in three gulps, thankyouverymuch. Practice makes perfect.)

Morning dose

But when I’m packing, and ten mornings’ worth comes together en masse along with the nighttime and weekly stuff, I cringe. It doesn’t all fit into my two cupped hands, not with the supplements all pre-packaged, the way I buy them to avoid opening six additional bottles each morning and night:

10 Days' worth

Maybe I could make my own version of that exhibit in [which British gallery is that?]. Or a Seder plate, filled with medicines instead of religious foods. They do all carry separate meanings, these pills, based on where I was when I started them, how they’ve changed my days, how annoying they are to procure, etc. Someday I’ll write a pill poem, but not this morning. This morning I feel like flushing them down the toilet and eating a cupcake to celebrate.

But oh, that there might be a day that starts with empty hands.

Anyway. It’s going to be a real vacation – at least, it’s supposed to be – and I already have a list. It goes like this, in no particular order:

Coffee. East coast coffee. (Did I tell you Tito ordered from a Starbucks a few weeks ago, when we were all slightly tipsy after dinner? This is news, for a longtime Starbucks hater. Just walked into the store himself. I waited outside chatting with someone and didn’t even realize it had happened until the next day. He’s so sneaky.)
Harry Potter.
Whiffle Ball.

Pretty good, huh?

Live again in a bit over a week.


Filed under commentary, recipe

3 responses to “Empty Hands

  1. I hate the figuring out meds for trips thing too. Also the trying to get refills and if it is not within certain time limits the insurance won’t pay etc. Good to hear you are getting them down and still feeling good.

    I love tomato based recipes, this should be good.

  2. kim

    I like the pretty purple pills. They add a nice contrast to the other ones. I have asthma and am on corticosteroids to keep me from visiting the ER once a week. One of my inhalers is purple. For some odd reason, it makes me smile each time I use it because of the color.

    Mmmm, tomatoes. Once, for breakfast, I ate an entire plastic container full of organic cherry tomatoes. Ohhhhhhh, the heartburn! That day, I learned about acidity in food. What an educational experience that was. I thought I was having a heart attack

  3. Beth

    try to add a little candlepin bowling to your list…. 🙂

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