Off their meds. Outta their heads. You can tell when the people around you go off their medications or forget to take the recommended dosage levels. It’s readily apparent if you look for the signs. A little grumpier. A little less patient. They just need more pills. Are they not medicated yet? Time’s a wastin’. Get them on something post haste. For all our sakes.
“What are you doing?” I asked a friend of mine, who looked to be taking twice the recommended amount of over-the-counter headache medicine the directions dictated. “Oh, I always double the amount listed,” she said. “How does that work for you?” I asked. “Great,” she said. “I can’t feel a thing.” Hmm….Set the controls for comfortably numb.
I had another friend who was considering going on new prescription medication. The side effects listed on the bottle were horrendous. She read them off in a tired voice. “Could cause nose bleeds, temporary blindness, uncontrollable loss of bowels, partial paralysis. Oh, and no eating dairy of any kind.” She stopped at that. “I can’t take this. Cheese is half my diet,” she said.
Medication was suggested early on by teachers who worked with Avery. It was thought that a prescription might tone down his autism. But we’d had an early skirmish in the Ritalin Wars with our older son Andrew who was deemed to have Attention Deficit Disorder. He said the pills made him feel like a zombie. No zombies, we decided, and discontinued the pills. He eventually seemed to settle down into his own groove with no pills involved. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention to any of us because we weren’t saying anything he wanted to hear.
In a novel I read once, the first person narrator, who is autistic, must decide whether he will take a pill that will “cure” his autism. Does he want to live a “normal” life or the life he’s always known? It’s an interesting debate. Very loud and proud autistic self-advocates would find this question easy to answer. They refer to non-autistic people as “Neurotypicals.” I find that clever and odd and touching all at once as a (more or less) neurotypical father to an autistic son.
There are some hard choices to be made about pills. One pill makes you smaller. And one pill makes you tall. And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all.
So, the red pill or the blue pill? I’m not sure I want to take the pill that Neo takes to wake him up. Upon awakening, he’ll find he’s been living in a computer-created Matrix in a comatose state. I’ll try finding my way out of the Matrix by not watching so much television and going outside to feel the grass. In New York City, they rope off a lot of the grass for the winter so that stretches of public play space have time to “recover” from the trampling it took in other seasons. I can look over these ropes at some grass at least, much like admiring a Hollywood starlet from afar.
The battle with pills seems never to end. One pill does something good for something bad your body is trying to do to you. But that pill causes some other bad thing to happen like the destruction of your liver, which requires another pill. The pill case keeps getting bigger and more complex and colorful over time as the mounds of “damage control” pills rise ever higher on the horizon.
I’m not against pills as a strict philosophy, although I personally hate taking them. Sometimes it’s probably exactly the right move to take a pill. I’m just saying pill taking seems to be a slippery slope that threatens to wash us all down and out if we’re not vigilant. Luckily, there’s a pill for when you feel down and out.
So, nothing to get all that upset about in any case. As you were. Feed your head.