Saturday, 12 January 2013

In praise of pills

Mum, Dad and I were having lunch.

I looked over and beside both of their plates were little pill holders.   Dad's looks like a small egg holder (a shot glass?) and Mum's is a small heart shaped box decorated Kashmiri style.

Towards the end of the meal they both took their pills.

Dad's dose is some paracetemol to help with his neck pain - and a pill of garlic.

Mum's is her lithium tabs that she takes faithfully.  1 per day currently.  But some kind of pill everyday for the last 30 plus years.

I still remember Mum, Dad and Premi going away to Lucknow for a two week period when Stefan and I were boys.  They went to have Mum seen by Dr. Marjorie Foyle who was a missionary psychiatrist at Noor Manzil.  This was the early 80s and her diagnosis of bi-polar disorder was well ahead of the curve.  We used to have to get the lithium tabs from the UK.  Our pharma companies have long since produced the tabs here.

So here it is. I am so grateful for these pills that Mum has so faithfully taken.  It has helped her live a normal life - free from the crippling depression that only she (and to a lesser extent Dad) knew about as we were growing up.  Her willingness to stick to the tabs gave us a mother.

How many times over the years since have I met folks who have been diagnosed with various mental illnesses - and prescribed a course of treatment - only to have them stop as soon as they 'felt better.'

There is a tendency to desire a pharmaceutical solution to everything.  Some people seem to thing that there is a 'pill for every problem, a needle for every need.'  But in our family Mum's faithful taking of her meds has made such an immense contribution to all of our lives - and allowed her and Dad to bless so many others over the years.

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