When I was young and had a fever, my mother would give me an aspirin. If that didn’t work, she would give me two. Also, since aspirin could cause stomach discomfort, and being the good mother that she was, she always had me swallow them with milk to protect my stomach. Skim milk!! Like that made it better!! When mom took aspirin, she chased it with gin!! Skim milk made aspirin the least appealing medication I could take, and for all I know may be responsible for my gag reflex thing.
There was a time when a person would visit the apothecary with a note from their doctor, and they would get medicines mixed specifically for them. The pharmacist would whip out their mortar and pestle and grind the crap out of leaves and sticks and add in varied assortment of items best not described. I don’t know what ‘eye of newt’ is but if it’s going in my meds, I don’t want to know about it. The pharmacist would hand the customer the concoction and give them instruction on how to use it. It was a specialized system.
The evolution of drug manufacturing has pretty much made the apothecary’s mortar and pestle, a thing for show only. Yes, it still gets used when a certain potion needs to be made, but for the most part drugs come pre-packaged, in a specific dose. The pharmacist now just uses a butter knife to count pills into a bottle. The doctor says how many and the pharmacist counts them out. The pharmacists still give you instructions on how much medication to take, and how you should take it. “Take seven of the blue pills, three green ones, and one each of the yellow, red, and orange ones at the same time. Then stand on your right foot and bounce up and down for five minutes to help them mix together.” I’m making that quote up, I’ve never been prescribed that many different colored pills at the same time. The point is, I’ve been taking most medications in multiple quantities during my cancer treatment, just so I would receive the dosage the doctor recommended. It seems that cancer meds don’t come in extra-strength!!
The stem cell ’harvest’ requires me to take numerous medications, in varying quantities throughout the entire process. You can’t have a harvest without a crop, and if you want a robust crop, you use fertilizer. That’s what the medications I started taking on Day Three of the ‘harvest’ were, the fertilizer.
The crop of course, are the stem cells that my body naturally produces in my spine whenever I need new blood cells. Chemotherapy..ing the crap out of my white blood cells and destroying them had created a need, and my body immediately started kicking out stem cells. The doctors need my body producing wads and wads of stem cells by Day Ten, so they can get enough to do their science on, and help me produce healthy white blood cells. To help this seed along, I had to give my body fertilizer. It came in the form of a pre-packaged syringe with a specific dosage pre-loaded.
I should have seen this coming. Nothing up to this point had gone exactly as advertised. First, I was told it was just five. Then I was told it was seven. But when the nurse handed me my pre-packaged syringes, there were fourteen of them!! That’s right!! They don’t come in extra strength!!! Starting Day Three of the ‘harvest’ I would have to give myself two injections every day for seven consecutive days. Just so I was getting the required amount of fertilizer!! Taking 20 pills was one thing, but poking myself 14 times over a week, was something completely different. It bordered on, ‘the treatment being worse than the decease’!!
I’ve now been stabbing myself for the last four days, and there are still six more syringes staying cool in my refrigerator, hidden behind the mayonnaise. Hidden away, because I don’t want to look at them every time I get a glass of water, and be reminded of what is to come the next morning. I know what’s coming! And it is going to suck!! That’s what’s coming!!!
I need to be fair, because some people who read this may get the wrong impression when I describe what I am going through. They may think that I am just whining or over-exaggerating about the amount of discomfort and anxiety I am experiencing. So, to be fair I must honestly say, that injecting myself like I had dreaded when I wrote ‘A Little Poke’, is a far cry different. It has turned out to be not even close to what I thought it would be. Now, thanks to pre-packaged, mass-produced, standard dose, medications… It’s twice as bad!!!