Sunday, May 13, 2012

One pill makes you panic

I got a little nervous my last night in San Francisco. There were four besides me at dinner, none of them in 100% perfect health: my 89-year-old father, who takes many medications for a bad heart valve; my 86-year-old mother, who’s had several strokes and takes a variety of drugs to prevent another one; an 85-year-old friend who’s dying of pulmonary fibrosis and takes lots of pills and carries an oxygen tank wherever he goes; and a 65-year-old friend whose leg was in a cast.

Plastic pill cases are as much a part of the table setting as napkins at gatherings like this. And the pills they hold aren’t just vitamins.

As everyone got up to leave and I began to clear the table, all eyes fastened on a lozenge-shaped tablet dissolving into a wet spot on the table cloth. After several moments of consternation, they all shook their heads.

It was my last night. I was desperate to go home and resume my own life. I lost a lot of sleep worrying about that pale pink caplet. But everyone made it through the night, and I boarded my plane on time.

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