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Pills are such ... a pill!

Depressed Senior Man Looking Through Rows of Prescription Medica
Roel Smart

Despite my battered body, non-functioning hands that make taking meds a challenge, and wheelchair mobility, I fulfill my long-time desire to act. . . as long as it’s the Readers Theatre – where the short-term memory loss of an 85 year old and the inability to move around in a set, doesn’t hamper the smooth performance of a play.

But there are challenges.  Time is one.

Cast call is 6:30 PM.  “No prob,” unless you’re unable to find a parking spot in the automobile dense streets.  My friend and I drive to rehearsal early enough, so we’re able to find a parking place – of course, my handicap plaque helps find a spot at the blue handicap sign; you know, the adorable little stick figure mam, in his cute little stick figure wheelchair.  There are big bucks to pay if your handicap dangler isn’t dangling

I get to rehearsal on-time, park on-time, but I was unable to take my 7:00 pills in the comfortably cloistered surroundings of my room at the ALF.  I have to take them at rehearsal in the theatre.

In order for me to pill-up at the theatre, the Med-Tech at the ALF must prepare my three pills for swallowing at the theater.  At the beginning of her shift in the  sanitized med room, she dutifully pops each pill out of its “bubble” container (those of you who have to chronically take pills know what I mean), and places them in the “take-out” envelope, a 1” x 2” paper container with an awful-tasting sticky seal top. She grimaces and snarls “ech” as she licks the seal, seals it, making sure it’s tightly sealed and safely sealed .

I get to unseal the traveling envelope at rehearsals – or, more accurately, I ask a cast member to rip the seal open for me.

He does, and pours the pills into his hand. I’m ready to lift them from his open palm one-at-a-time.  Then . . . uh oh. I need water.

So, while his palm remains open, waiting for the pill extraction, another cast member takes my plastic-handled-violet tea-cup, and heads for the water dispenser. Mission accomplished, he returns to the scene of the outstretched open palm and my semi-open waiting mouth – and we consummate the action. Another barrier caused by disability broken.

Ready to rehearse.

Dick Weinman is an AARP Oregon volunteer and our assisted living guru.


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