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April 26, 2011

Anxiety Schmangxiety, Go To Sleep

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:23 GMT

As a way to help patients sleep through the night, at least on the cancer ward of the hospital, they frequently give us a “relaxation pill”—what we might also label a classic “chill pill“. More familiar to many by the commercial name Xanax, the medicine helps with all sorts of things which are high up on the list for this group: insomnia, anxiety, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, vomiting, and depression.

Two or three times a day we get little plastic cups, sometimes with a liquid, most often with an assembly of whatever pills we’re supposed to be taking for the moment. Much of my stay (I can’t speak for the first couple of weeks) has had these little oval Xanax pills included in my little plastic cup. Once or twice a nurse will ask if I “also want a relaxation pill” before delivering the mystical cup.    I’ve experimented with saying, “No thanks,” just to see if I’d be able to do it. The idea of relying on the medicine to be able to get a night’s sleep—which wasn’t necessary the few times I’ve gotten to sleep overnight at home in our own bed—isn’t appealing; I don’t want a chemical to be why I don’t wake up at night.

A few days ago I actually looked, and realized the Xanax wasn’t there any more. And, for the most part, I’ve been sleeping through the night just fine. Another sign of progress? I sure hope so. I know it’s still available to me (pill pill PILL gimme a PILL) if my mind decides to stress me out.

But for now, let’s see if I can stick with it.

Irish men unite

Tonight I spent the evening like lots of other men in Ireland: watching the Champions League football match with Schalke v Manchester United, knitting, and sipping a cup of water. Well, as lots of folks know about me, I’m not into worrying about matching up with stereotypes.

Open your …

The daily question which still cracks me up, sometimes asked a few times through the day by different nurses, is, “Have your bowels opened today?” My imagination latched onto this last night.

  1. “I can’t open my bowels until after that first cuppa tea…”
  2. “Boy the morning starts right after I open my bowels…”
  3. “You look hung over, your bowels are barely even open.”
  4. “That meeting was a real bowel-opening experience.”
  5. In theatres soon: Bowels Wide Shut
  6. “OK, no problem; I’ll keep my bowels open for deals.”
  7. “Try to keep your bowels open and stay awake!”

Maybe I should’ve taken a relaxation pill.

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