Monday, August 29, 2011

Swallowing pills...

has always been my preferred form of medicine delivery. Mom says I swallowed my first horse pill at about four years of age. Prior to that I was getting monstrous penicillin shots every six to eight weeks for strep throat. Offered a pill over a puncture and you better believe I slurped that sucker down.

Liquid medicine was (and always has been) the bane of my existence. My mom went to new heights of bribery to entice me to swallow a spoon of nastiness. I had a primeval gag reflex when faced with that spoon of death disguised as antibiotics. Chasing it with crackers, cookies, even chocolate was never all that successful. More than once, what went down came right back up.

Husband didn't believe me on that point our first year of marriage. Which made for a messy proof the time I got sick in Korea and he had to help me choke down some utterly horrid green stuff. It was much more horrid the second time we met it. On the floor.

While parenting has had its challenges, getting my boys to take their medicines has not been one of them. Whether liquid or pills or even shots. Sure there was some gnashing of teeth on the odd occasion, but the general guideline is, "Buddy, this here liquid/pill/shot is going in. Steel yourself."

Compassion is my strong suit. Can you tell?

Fortunately, the incidence of seeing my compassion in action has been relatively infrequent with the boys being mostly robust guys of health.

But vitamins. Well, there's another story. I've had the boys on vitamins for years. Originally the vitamins were these wonderful chewable tablets. Until the company changed to these ridiculous gummy things which conflict with my policy towards sealants on teeth that I paid good money for and oh no we are not having them come off for sticky vitamins.

Meaning the only option left was capsules. The older two chugged them down without any problems. the Chairman of the Board has been praying that someone would make a motion to table the horrid things and not exist in his life anymore. No such fortune so far.

We have tried everything--capsule with a little bit of food so he could chew, and then swallow; capsule covered in peanut butter so he could suck on it, and then swallow; capsule with juice, and then swallow. It is the whole "and then swallow" part that is not happening. He resorted to opening the capsules and sprinkling the powder over a spoon of peanut butter which has almost put him off peanut butter till infinity. Me too in watching it.

We were at our wit's end. I told him that learning how to swallow a pill would have to come sooner or later because not all medicine comes in liquid or shot form. At least not until we're all Star Trek.

Finally the other day, we had a breakthrough. He swallowed the pill. Without gagging, without peanut butter, without tears, without trouble. He was fist-pumping the air and hollering, "Yahoo!"

Or maybe that was me.

Anyway. We are all thrilled, relieved and mostly I am pleased to see his look of accomplishment over swallowing those capsules. Of course, we have a very complicated routine regarding water temperature, the cup, how the pill is placed in his mouth and even something to do with how I am holding my tongue.

Whatever works.


  1. I do it backwards. I put the water in my mouth, then slip the pill in through pursed lips and fling my head back. Makes it go back without ever having to taste it. Andrew thinks I'm crazy.

    He's right.

  2. The worst: horse-sized calcium vitamins. They clog up my throat in a most unpleasant way, then proceed down my esophagus sideways. Feels like it, anyway. No wonder I don't take them as I should.

    I've tried your way, Lora Lynn, but can't get it right. Maybe I don't fling hard enough. :)

    Congrats to the Chairman, and mom!

  3. I didn't mention that Jason forbids me from letting the kids ever see me choke down pills. He obviously subscribes more to nurture. ;-) I am with your little man. I can only accomplish by tossing in and missing my tounge, straight down. Works when it doesn't hit a gag spot.

  4. I learned to swallow pills by eating a saltine cracker first. This made my mouth dry which made chugging water & a pill very easy.