Seniors, not those graduating from high school but those graduating to hi-rise toilets, wax increasingly familiar with the practitioners of medicine. The doctor often clicks a link on his computer to issue a prescription to the patient’s neighborhood drug store. The druggist fills the order and passes the bag stapled with dozens of warning sheets adorned with miniscule lawyer-speak across the counter. For many patients the price of the medication triggers an immediate cure for their suffering. For others this question arises, “How big are these pills?”
Some people swallow extra-large, elephant-choker pills with no qualms. Others stare at the monstrosity while their life spins in review. “Am I supposed to swallow this, crush it with a hammer and sprinkle it in a drink, or is the plan that I use the exhaust port for intake purposes?”
Seriously, who decides the size of pills? How is the testing done to determine the largest pill that can be consumed by the average-sized esophagus without strangling the patient? Imagine the procurement department servicing that lab, “What do you mean you need more pill-swallowers? What happened to the twelve we just ordered? Oh, I see. Well, tough break.”
On the other end of the size-spectrum are wonder pills, the size of a gnat’s behind and dispensed in warm pastel colors. The hues allow a patient, once his bifocals are installed and his head is tilted for focus, to almost see the tiny orbs. Wonder pills should not be handled in a breeze. Even the ceiling fan can scatter the urchins.
Most seniors digest one or more medicines daily and find convenience in owning day-of-the-week reminder boxes. The patient gathers the plethora of pill bottles, pries off the child-proof lids, and begins the sort. “I need a pink one and two green ones on Monday through Friday, a yellow one on Saturday, and a brown one every day at lunch. The red one goes with breakfast, and the green one is for bedtime.” The pills, in addition to attacking the malady for which they were prescribed, add the benefit of the weekly sorting puzzle to keep the mind sharp.
Those who have tipped the day-of-the-week reminder box before closing the lids know that wonder pills, like alien spacecraft, can fly, roll, bounce, and even hover. This highlights another important benefit. Many seniors have adopted lifestyles with little exercise other than the basics:
- Groan and drop into the recliner
- Thumb a remote control
- Grunt and escape from the recliner
Enter the highly mobile wonder pill. When dropped the pills gain incredible energy, moving so fast the average senior can’t focus his vision or rotate his head fast enough to track the path. The pills cost a fortune, and their escape cannot be ignored. A search and recover mission must be deployed.
A lost wonder pill triggers a high level of physical activity for the searcher including bending, crawling, and pulling up. That pill could be anywhere, and experienced seniors are convinced a wayward pill moves as its location nears discovery. Here’s a sample transcript from a missing pill exercise session:
- Drop to the knees.
- Move lower and touch the nose to the floor.
- Adjust glasses for focus.
- Look under the table.
- If pill is not found, push up.
- Crawl to the china cabinet and repeat.
- Continue until pill is located.
Some pills, after recovery and before confinement in the day-of-the-week reminder box, jump again to extend the exercise session. With multiple medications in play the odds are high that each pill-handling will generate an escapee and therefore an increase in movement for that senior. Think of the health benefits laced into the pursuit.
Isn’t the chase preferable to choking on watermelon-sized pills, though? Go ahead. Stretch and bend. Crawl and scoot. And be thankful for mobility.