I was telling you about one of my theories the other day. I have a new one now. I call this one my Penicillin Theory. It came to me when I was looking at one of my pill bottles in the medicine cabinet last night.
The pills inside are pink and somewhat large. The doctor’s name is irrelevant and so is much of the information on the label itself. The only thing important here is the medication, which in this case is Amoxicillin, and the directions, were that I take this medication two times per day for ten days or until the medication was finished. Did I follow these directions?
Well, kinda . . .
I was sick as a dog the other week. I hadn’t been sick like this in a long time. Moreover, I haven’t had strep throat in more than a decade. My throat was soar. My body was achy. I had a fever and while feeling the way I did, I was uncomfortable, my wife caring for me as if I were a child, because let’s face it, most men are big babies.
I was feverish with chills and cold in a room that was otherwise warm. I was tucked under the blankets and miserable. And of course, this is when I did what I was told. I followed the doctor’s orders to the letter.
I took the pills as prescribed and followed all suggestions that would lead me back to feeling better. Makes sense, right?
It goes like this for the first few days. I took the meds, but when I was feeling better and the symptoms were gone, I found myself feeling a little forgetful. Three days in, I felt so much better. The wife was relieved of her nursing duties and I was reminded by her that yes, I am a big baby.
I was able to fit back into my routine. Went back to work. My throat healed up and the aches were gone. The symptoms were forgotten and guess what else was also forgotten; the medication and the suggestions I was given were forgotten too.
Truth is this is not the first time this happened with me and antibiotics. It goes this way somehow and I don’t think I’m the only one this happens to.
In the case of my strep throat, I took the pills as prescribed the first few days because the discomfort was unbearable. However, I began to forget my dosage once the pain went away.
The first time I forgot was in the morning. But I remembered in the evening, so I took at least one pill so I figured, at least I took something and only felt a mild form of guilt for not doing as I was told.
The same thing happened the next day; except in the morning I remembered and in the evening I forgot with a bit less guilt than I felt the day before. Next day, I forgot about both doses with no guilt whatsoever, and as a result, I have a large, clunky pill bottle with huge horse pills of Amoxicillin in my medicine cabinet with.
I see a lot of this in life. We are all this way, —at least a little bit, right?
We are quick to submit when we’re uncomfortable and in pain. We are willing to listen to suggestions when we’re not feeling well because the truth is, we’re hurting and we just want to feel better.
The path to true wellness is always the continuance down the road which keeps you better, right? Of course, it’s right, but like me with the pills, it’s not always something we think about until it’s too late.
I had a conversation about this with someone and they took my Penicillin Theory seriously. They explained there’s a reason why the doctor gives you these pills, to which I laughed, “No kidding!”
We forget about what’s at risk once the pain is gone. We forget about the dangers and the contagious reactions that could happen to others. We forget about the discomfort we felt. And it’s not that we didn’t appreciate the help. It’s not that we didn’t like the pills we were given, —we just didn’t need them anymore. or we’re “All Better! like Mom used to say after our temperature goes down.
And sometimes when this happens, we forget what made us well and go against the advice we were given, we slip back into a relapse. The symptoms return and so does the discomfort. And we find ourselves promising out loud, “I swear I’m going to do what the doctor tells me this time.”
The same thing is true with other matters pertinent to our lives. Over the last two decades, I have had my share of Penicillin Theory incidents and accidents. There were times when I did as I was told because I was hurting. I went through what I went through, did what I did, but once I felt better, I began to forget the process that helped me to feel that way.
I’ve had friends, and they were good friends too. We were a support system for each other. In a way, we were each other’s penicillin. In ways, we helped each other feel better. We were part of a support group and we all promised we would be close forever; however, we never thought forever would be such a short period of time.
There are people I work with in my groups. And I love them. I love them all if I’m being honest. There are clients I have coached too, and I had the pleasure of watching them go from sickly to strong. And like my Penicillin Theory, they did as they were suggested to do until the pain went away and they felt better.
some moved on to bigger and better things. And I would like to imagine them as healthy and well. In some cases, however, there are clients of mine who forgot what was suggested and why. They forgot what I suggested to them the same as I forgot to take the pills that were given to me. They felt better so the suggestions they were given (just like my pills) lost their importance. And what happened? Relapse, that’s what happened.
Perhaps, just like my pill bottle is on the shelf, me and my suggestions and the path to a better life is doing the in someone’s mental medicine cabinet. And when they need me, they’ll come back the same I would come back when I needed my meds. And same as the doctor is always welcoming of his patients; I am always welcoming to my friends.
I see no benefit in shaming someone into doing the right thing. Where’s the honor in that? There is none; at least, not in my opinion.
I am of the opinions that if someone comes back for help, it is important to allow a man (or woman) the dignity of their humility. It is important to acknowledge their achievement over shame and to celebrate that they came back, even when their shame told them not to.
I have been part of different betterment groups, self-help groups, 12-step programs, and I have read about different paths of betterment through different lifestyles.
The truth is, relapse happens. We don’t always take all our pills when sick (Or follow suggestions). Mistakes happen; however, and I say this nearly every day to someone, “Mistakes don’t make us. We make them.”
The mistakes we make don’t have to define who we are. If we fall, we don’t have to stay down. No, we can recover, we can stand, and if we choose to, we can define our mistakes with hopes to never make them again
I wouldn’t go back to the same doctor for help if they shamed me. I suppose if this happened, I would find someone else or someplace else. And sure, this isn’t the right way to live but this is an honest assessment on the way many of us live. We take suggestions as needed instead of as prescribed. We look for the path of least resistance, but the path isn’t always available, and we learn this when we’re at our deepest level of discomfort
I have a few special friends, —and they’re close friends too. Some of them are more like family to me and we would lay down in traffic for each other. However, we seldom speak and the phone calls have dwindled down to hardly ever. I say, at least we know where to go if needed. I say, at least they know I’m here for them and that I would never shame them or say the dreaded, “I told you so,” things that no one wants to hear. I say this about them and they say this about me too.
As for those close friends who we swore together that we would always speak and always be close, but yet, we never speak anymore and we lost touch so we could hardly call ourselves close friends; I’m not mad or angry at them.
I understand their life is different now. I know they have moved on and they appreciated the relationship we had while it lasted. I can say that wherever they are, at least they know where to go if they need me. At least they have someone in their life that won’t shame them into recovery or a different lifestyle.
Same as that half-taken bottle of horse pills is there for me in case of emergency; I’m here for them in the exact same way.
I wonder how different the world would be if we stopped shaming each other. Shaming someone doesn’t stop the mistakes. It only prevents them from seeking the help they need to stop them on their own
I’ve been working with some great people. We’re trying to write a new self-help program that comes without judgement. It’s a stigma free program that is based on the ability to inspire with successful influence.
I was telling someone about this theory yesterday morning to which he said, “Well, it ain’t the right way to take medication but at least you still have it in case you need to start taking it again.”
Then he said, “Besides, who the hell am I to say what works?”
“I’m no doctor. I can’t judge,” he told me.
Then he added, “I can’t say what works for anybody else. I can only say what works for me.”
That’s exactly what my program is about.
I say there are countless paths to a better lifestyle.
It’s just a question of which one are you willing to take and what are you willing to do to get there.