Friday, December 01, 2006

Hypertension 16: My Favourite Prescription Medication Story

Now I was off work for several months, to adjust to the new medications, to start exercising, change my diet, and quiet down the stress in my life. The new medications came in two pills. Don’t ask for details, I avoid knowing, but there was a calcium blocker, the adrenalin stopper, a diuretic, and a cholesterol stepper-onner.

Those two pills were powerful stuff. They led to my favourite prescription medication story:

None of these medications make you hallucinate. The side effects are not always obvious. At first, I did not think the new meds had a big negative impact on me. Sure, I was feeling much more tired. I needed a nap by 11 am. It was not a preference!

I did feel a bit “out of it”, but thought I had everything, as my mom would say, “under control. True, I drove through a stop sign or two before I realized I had to work much harder at focusing when driving. I guess it was that “don’t use farm machinery” kinda situation in the warnings list on the box. But what did that matter if I did not live on a farm?

Two weeks later, in mid-October, my Cousin Lewis flew into Winnipeg from New York. I agreed to pick him up at the airport. Given I was now off work, I had plenty of time to organize myself. And organize it I did! Let me tell you, I was one on top of it puppy!

Gas in the car. Front door locked. Dog pees in the back yard before getting in the car. I even cleaned out the usual collection of newspapers, fast food wrappers and general garbage from the station wagon. Got the Shitzhu into the car. I even remembered to bring her leash. Left the house with plenty o’ time to spare. I drove to the airport without incident, stopping at every red light and only going through green lights. At the airport, I parked properly.

Proud of myself, I put Willow the dog on her leash and went into the terminal early. I was there early. Cousin Lewis had not yet arrived, so I was there to greet him as he came down the escalator. Helped him get his bag. Could it have been more perfect?

And it was, only I discovered in the parking lot that:

a) the car doors were unlocked
b) the car key was in the ignition
c) the car engine was still running

Now, I'm 61. I've been driving a long time. This was a first. I have never parked the car and left it unintentionally unlocked. I’ve never left the keys in the ignition. And I sure had never before left the motor running.

Luckily this was Winnipeg, so nobody stole the car (Canada can be like that).

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. We are trained in New York, from the earliest possible age, to lock everything. Leaving the car like that went against my entire cultural heritage. Leaving the doors unlocked was bad enough...but leaving the engine running? If I had done that at New York's JFK, not only would my car have been stolen, but before stealing it any responsible New York thief would have sought me out in the terminal and beaten me up for being so stupid!!!

I had thought I was on top of everything. The reality was the opposite.

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