Jun 1, 2014 16:56 Hard pills to swallow Hard pills to swallow by malcolm wright| Special to The Advocate June 01, 2014 Comments I watch the timer on the microwave as I heat a cup of coffee and think that display represents my life escaping one second at a time. It is very depressing. On the other hand, every Sunday I count out my pills and load my pill tray thinking all the while how wonderful it is that I have lived so long and am still alive though medicine and device dependent. I take five pills daily, two big white ones and three smaller ones of various hues. I take all five at once hoping every morning that my throat will be fooled into accepting the group en masse. My throat is not very bright, so most days it works. Sometimes one or two pills have to be coughed up and searched out where they’ve bounced off the bathroom wall. One of the big pills is Metformin in a tablet formulation. Tablets are the most difficult type of pill to swallow compared to capsules. Metformin is supposed to help suppress diabetes, but because of stomach cramping I can’t take a high enough dosage to do much good. “Take with food” the label says but I take it first thing in the morning to get it over with. Another big tablet is Metoprolol, which works in conjunction with my defibrillator to keep my heart in sync. I think the defibrillator keeps my heart rate up and the Metoprolol keeps it from going too high. I only know it works. Wafarin, a small pink pill, keeps my blood thin so it won’t clog up my brain again. One day I couldn’t put the right words together. I am 90 percent recovered from that illness I believe, but not everyone agrees with that. Wafarin was discovered when dairy cows ate frozen alfalfa and died. Its first major use was for rat poison. Maybe irony there. A small, pretty, green diuretic tablet with a complicated name helps prevent congestive heart failure and swelling of extremities. And finally, the sunshine pill — over-the-counter vitamin D. It is made of clear amber gel, and is the prettiest of all my pills. It was prescribed by one of my many docs apparently because he couldn’t find anything else wrong with me that day. Pills do not like to proceed in uneven numbers. They shake out of the bottle in twos, fours, sixes and eights — never in the sevens the good Lord arranged for us to fill our days and pill trays. So one has to be careful to get one pill of each kind in each compartment. Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at email@example.com or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810. There is no payment, and stories will be edited.