My Pill Box

by Ruth Z Deming

Over a year ago, I went on the net and bought a new pill box. It's colorful. And has four layers. Morn, Noon, Eve, and Bed.

I only use The Morning Pills and The Evening Pills.

Once a week I sit on the floor in my living room and fill the pill box. CVS is my drug supplier and for a price they FedEx the pills to me.

Fine.

Because of some Medicare bullshit, they will not mail me my Tacrolimus and I've gotta drive 20 minutes there and back to pick up this most important med, one of two anti-rejection meds I take. They are also called immunosuppressants.

I also take Novolog insulin, which they ship me. It's required to keep it in the fridge, except when you use it, and then I keep it out on the kitchen table, where I take all my meds.

Due to my age - I'll be 75 on Christmas Day - and diabetes, I am at high risk for getting covid.

Blood sugar is what it's all about. I walk every day. Today was very chilly but I bundled up and walked around the hilly block. My blood sugar was still high when I got home, but I don't worry about it.

My endocrinologists do, but I do not. As I've often said, I can feel my toes and am wiggling them now beneath warm socks. It's quite cold up here in my office, where I'm wearing Nurse Harriet's sweater to keep warm.

Per my family doctor, James Foxhall, MD, I did get my flu shot. Got it at my favorite pharmacy, Giant. Raj gave me the shot. He's a wonderful kind man originally from India and newly married. I believe his wife is in a similar field. Smart people marry one another.

In 2011, I received a kidney transplant from my daughter, Sarah Lynn Deming. It was a great success and I, for one, nearly forget I had it. I do warn others, however, not to go on the drug lithium.

I took it for 16.5 years and it ruined my kidneys. Both kidneys are involved.

I had two doctors from Einstein Medical Center. One was the very personable Rolando Stalin Campos Flores, MD. He likes to be called by his first name, Stalin. Back in the day when he grew up in El Salvador, babies were named after heroes such as Stalin, who was in fact, a paranoid autocrat, who had murdered many of his associates.

Recently I wrote Stalin and told him that Sarah and I are doing very well. I told him about her new novel "Gravity."

I have a need to stay in touch with people who have helped me. Dr. Radi Zaki was born in Egypt. His parents were veteranians. His children, he told me, call him Dr. Zaki. ZAKKY.

He and his team transplant

liver

kidney

pancreas

Plus they do other high-risk surgeries for cancer.

I visited Einstein Northern as it's called to learn about my surgery.

- I'll be in the ICU for 24 hours. I'll be given morphine for the pain. Will be sent home with Percosetts. This girl does not wanna be in pain.

- Forget about wanting to go off the antirejection meds.

- Operation takes four hours.

- They transplant the left kidney b/c it only has one pedicule. Whatever that is.

When I got home, Scott came over to see how I made out. I was on the phone discussing my next story for Patch.com.

I will be writing the story of my kidney transplant for Patch. Perhaps I'll title it, Ask me Why I've Got Three Kidneys.

No need to remove the kidneys. They'll function for awhile and then get smaller and smaller.

Although I don't leave home very much nowadays, my nephrologist Victor Elias Ghantous, MD, who hails from Lebanon always gives me good reports, but tells me to eat less sugar.

Today is Monday, December 7, 2020. A Day that will live in infamy. The bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I took my morning pills:

Tacrolimus, made of fungus, one of two anti-rejection meds.

Prednisone, anti-rejection med, not so expensive because it was never patented

Toprol generic, blood pressure med

Baby aspirin, generic, 81 mg to protect me from getting another mini-stroke or transient ischemic attack or TIA. It's a brief interruption of blood flow to the part of the brain, but does not damage brain cells or cause permanent disability.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I take generic Synthroid, as lithium knocked out my thyroid.

Every single evening I take three drugs: all to protect my kidneys.

Thank you doctors!

Atorvastatin, a statin drug to keep my cholesterol within range.

Losartin, another kidney protector which is a small green oval pill.

And Tacrolimus again, Tacky for short.

I have written poems about all my pills. For this column, I will write one now.

Before I do, however, I beseech you not to take lithium. I also take vitamins as prescribed by my boyfriend - of course I checked with Ghantous - and glory be to God in the highest, I am doing fine!

MEDS

Gulp, gulp, gulp

Down they go with pure clean water

That's traveled down canals from

No, not Mars, but part from the reservoir at the

Wissahicken Watershed. Many folks drink from a

Britta container, but I am a nature girl and

Prefer thinking of the long journey of my water

Like Saskatchewan and Pocohontas

And how it keeps me healthy, safe and free.

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