Friday, July 18, 2008

Important Info About Pill-Taking

Never, ever lie down just after taking a pill.

While in Mexico, I made the mistake of taking one of my antibiotic capsules (doxycycline) late at night, without enough water, and plopped right into bed to go to sleep. A few minutes later, I felt an excruciating searing pain in my lower esophagus, where the capsule had stuck, and no amount of water would dislodge it, and the caustic medicine burned into the esophageal lining. I am now the proud owner of an ulcerated esophagus (it should heal in a week or two).

Doctors and pharmacists all shrug and say "oh, yeah...sure." They know that this is a danger. So why, amid all the cautions and warnings, doesn't anybody tell the
patients about this?!?

Ironically, the nerve that conveys hunger is right in this area, so I get extremely hungry...though, ironically, it hurts to eat! While the combination may sound like sadistic torture, it's actually good. Without the hunger boost, I probably wouldn't be eating.

Though it sounds awful, an ulcerated esophagus isn't actually all that bad. And, thinking back, when my mom had emergency quadruple bypass surgery and long recuperation, she didn't find that "so" bad, either. Nothing's as bad to live as it is to worry about in advance. We are an incredibly resilient species, but we worry way too much!

Again, please: take lots of water with pills. And never lie down right after.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god I did the same thing last night. I took an antibiotic capsule and went to bed right after. Then I woke up a few hours later with a horrible pain in my chest! And it still won't go away.

Jim Leff said...

You'll be much better in a few days, and fine in a week or two. The key is no big meals. And eat slowly. Soups are good. Lots of water between meals.

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