I stumbled out of bed early in the morning, plodded into the bathroom with a glass of water and pulled my “days of the week” pill organizer from the cabinet; it was empty. I took several medication bottles, arranged them on the counter and began filling each compartment with a variety of pills. Each tiny square housed an array of round, oval, square and diamond-shaped capsules and tablets. I listened to the tiny clack of each pill drop into the plastic slots, reviewing the directions for each one: take this one on an empty stomach, this one with food, this one not within two hours of any other medication, this one as needed, and on and on. Gone were the relaxed days of eating and drinking at any time – my days and meals were structured in conjunction with my medication. I popped my first pill, got dressed and headed out for the day.
Granville Island Market bustled under the weak rays of the new spring sun. I strolled past carts of fruits and vegetables, their brilliant colors igniting the chill air. Artistes entertained the crowds with songs, comedic skits, acrobatic feats and juggling. I stopped to watch one juggler, admiring the dexterity of his hands – a collection of balls and batons soared in the air. I spotted a tiny apparition of the old lady hovering over his head; she was juggling an assortment of medication bottles. I was surprised at her agility; she winked at me, and pitched a plastic pill-box into the air. I blinked my eyes, chasing away her image, and turned my attention back to the juggler. A woman beside me commented on his skill. “It must be so hard to keep track of so many things at one time.”
My hand traced the outline of my pill-box through the thin material of my bag. “It’s not so hard”, I replied. “It just takes practice.”
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.