May 2, 2019 Tuesday is pill day, the vexing 20 minutes when I wrangle dozens of meds into a clever little pillbox marked with days of the week. Much of my dexterity is gone. I see fingers resembling Vienna sausages picking up small pebbles and placing them in tiny little compartments. My mantra, “what else would I be doing?”
There are a lot of pills. First there is Riluzole, a treatment for ALS. It is widely acknowledged to do very little. The retail price is $2000 a month. It is a tiny pill that I sometimes drop. Our ever-lurking Labrador Retriever quickly gobbles it up. It doesn’t do anything for her either. I also take baclofen, the spaghetti pill. It’s a muscle relaxant that prevents spasms. It also prevents walking because your muscles turn into linguine. EH 301 is an anti-aging supplement that apparently reversed ALS for some guy in Portugal. It is a FYITT, (Fuck yeah, I’ll Try That). There is also turmeric for inflammation. Unlike all the expensive shit, I am convinced it actually works. I throw in ibuprofen for chronic back aches and to knock down the pain from the most recent broken rib. And a statin for my bad heart. (Like that matters anymore.)
My neurologist, a learned guy and noted researcher, suggests a stew of meds, supplements, and diet. Nothing specific, it’s a biology project. I am both the experiment and the control group. In the name of science, I’ve also thrown Lifesavers into my stew. Cherry, lime, and orange. I vary the order hoping for the big breakthrough. Expectations are tempered to say the least. But I never miss a dose. As the great Gretzky once said, “you can’t score on the shot you don’t take”.