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No-one wants to have to take prescription pills. Men, I suspect more than women. Psychologically the need for drugs to combat illness, especially long-term conditions, can seem a sign of weakness, of ageing, of decline.

These nagging negative thoughts should really be positive – feeling better or the prospect of a new beginning if you are suffering from more serious issues that can be overcome or at least improved.

And if you need help turning negative into positive there’s almost certainly a pill for it.

So, considering the complex feelings that needing regular drugs can engender, why is the practicality of taking them so infuriating?

For a start, getting a repeat prescription. You can usually only get them four weekly which means 13 treks to the doctor’s surgery or 13 forays into the internet if you can order online. It would be much better for the patient if the repeats were for two months or quarterly for regular items -after all we are the customers.

Then there’s consistency. It seems every month one pill or another changes shape, size or colour. Just as you get used to one format it changes usually to something very similar to other pills in your portfolio.

The other day when I was getting my morning pills together it was interrupted by a phone call. When I went back to the pill routine, which ones had I squeezed from the foil packs and which ones were still to dispense?

If they were all quite different and the consistent shape I was used to, it wouldn’t require a detective operation to make sure I didn’t make a mistake.

The foil packs don’t make it easy, either. When you are trying to push the pills out the foil is usually quite hard to break and if you have tiny pills they are even harder, especially as the longer it takes the more I am all fingers and thumbs.

Inevitably some mornings the pill will pop out at an unintended angle and disappear over the edge of the bed that I am sitting on. It surprising how far a tiny pill can travel or how often it will bounce off something and end up under the bed.

It’s enough to give you a headache. Now, where are the Paracetamol?


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