Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pill Popper

Bar Mitzvahzilla can't swallow pills. This has become a pretty awkward situation for him now that he's fourteen. It's good that he's healthy and this issue doesn't come up often, but when it does, it immediately becomes a problem that requires parental involvement.

First of all, at his age, height, and weight, to give him Tylenol or Ibuprofen in liquid form means he practically has to down the entire bottle. This can get expensive. Also, he has limited tolerance for liquid medications. He will only drink so many of those tiny cups of medicine before he declares himself cured, or at least done. He wants to mix them with them with many substances - fruit juice, Gatorade, smoothies - but then finds that the drinks don't taste just right and there's way too much of it anyway. He always manages to spill as much of the medicine as makes it into his mouth.

When Bar Mitzvahzilla had stitches recently, the doctor gave him an antibiotic to take since we didn't absolutely know what had collided with his face - was it teeth? Was it a rusty nail? The antibiotic was big, about an inch long. He soon discovered our pill splitter, using it to break the pill into halves, then eighths, and, then sixteenths. He breaks them into so many pieces that on cleaning day I find scattered shards of pills on the floor. Must have been the 1/32ths. Of course, he looked longingly at our pill pulverizer - the ultimate pill disintegrator!- but we whisked it out of sight, putting our collective foot down. No pulverizing.

There's the physical act of the pill-taking and then there's the psychological - he has to mentally question this whole process, to see if he can squirm his way out of treatment. He scoffs at the doctor's opinion of the necessity of the antibiotic, then he scoffs at the faulty medical medicine behind the theory of antibiotics, and then he scoffs at our parental decision-making, anything really, to avoid the pills.

I blame all of this on his prematurity. Bar Mitzvahzilla was a small baby - really small. A pound and a half small. He was born 3 weeks before my Lamaze classes were even scheduled. He was born while the crib was on order from the fancy crib store. He was born before my best friend even had started planning a baby shower.

During his 10 weeks in the hospital, besides obvious things occurring like machines breathing for him and surgery and the brain ultrasounds we saw everytime Husband and I walked into the NICU, he was poked and prodded a lot. When he got an infection - and he did - it was not only life-threatening, but it had to be treated with 3 or 4 of the strongest antibiotics ever invented all at the same time. Somewhere, the memory of this trauma lives on inside of him. He's never willingly taken medicine since we got him home.

And since I'm such an optimist, I think, at least he probably won't become a pill popper.


  1. I have to emphathize...though I am the opposite. Give me a pill anyday over liquids....

  2. I know, can you imagine him wanting to take 16 tiny pieces instead of having it over and done with once?!

  3. That is why there are pill cutters. Bar Mitz is not alone.