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Of Voice, Pills, and Podiatry

Eric Lagergren

March 11, 2010

Three things to talk about this week, in no particular order.

First. For those of you following my thyroid thing, a brief update: As of this writing my voice has returned to the point that I am able to carry on a conversation without difficulty for both the person listening and for me. It — my voice — has been gaining strength over the past few weeks, and while I am still unable to sing along in the car during my commute (which means I only listen to Springsteen rather than fully participate in rocking out), I hold out hope that in the next six months to a year my ability to sing solo sans audience returns. I’m continuing to see a speech pathologist and will return to the otolaryngologist in May for another assessment.

Next week I begin a low-iodine diet in preparation for the radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy that begins on April 5 and lasts the entire week (half-day outpatient visits at the hospital for four out of five days). Next week I also stop taking my thyroid hormone, Cytomel (liothyronine sodium), in preparation for the RAI. I don’t know how either of these things will affect my blood glucose, if in fact they affect it at all. Along with the low-iodine diet and the lack of thyroid hormone, I may experience some side effects, and those side effects may play into my diabetes management. I’m not sure. You never really know with diabetes. However, rest assured that if there’s anything to report I’ll be sharing it with you.

Second. Speaking of the Cytomel, and speaking more generally of pills and taking them, I finally broke down and bought three of the weekly pill cases (99 cents each at Walgreens; something like this but not nearly as fancy). I’ve avoided such a purchase for quite awhile because pill cases felt like accoutrement of the elderly (no offense, by the way). Oh how wrong I was! Pillboxes have streamlined my pill-taking routine.

While I only take three oral medicines — a statin for cholesterol; Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) for depression; and the Cytomel, which as I wrote earlier ceases next week but will be replaced after RAI with another thyroid hormone — two of the drugs I take require pill-splitting to achieve the correct dosage (that’s a long story about insurance and getting larger supplies to last longer). I recently shifted all of my pill taking to the morning, as well, because I’d been taking two meds in the morning and one at night. After the shift, each morning I’d open the bottle, split the pill or dig around for an already-split pill, close up the bottles, put them away, and stand there and pop the pills and sip water or Diet Coke or whatever was handy. The pill cases streamlined this procedure. Just pop open the day of the week and down all the pills in one easy motion. It’s a breeze. And satisfying, actually, to feel the little thock that the pill case makes when it opens, and the good hard click it makes when you close it back up. (I bought three, by the way, because I didn’t want to have to load the seven-day case every Sunday. I just prep for three weeks or so at a time.)

Learn from my mistake, however, regarding time pills should be taken. Read the labels! In my haste to move all pill taking to the same time, I failed to read labels. Then I realized, or, rather, my wife realized, I shouldn’t have switched my statin-taking from nighttime to morning. Statins work best when taken at night (all you people out there taking statins take note!); cholesterol is mostly synthesized at night, so the statins work most effectively taken before bedtime. I’ve since shifted back to nighttime pill taking — all of my pills at once — with only a few brain farts of forgetting to take the pills sprinkled in over the past two weeks.

Third. The podiatry appointment went splendidly. I scored a perfect on my touch test (you know, where you close your eyes and they lightly touch your feet). I had some minor calluses on my big toes shaved down and learned that I should be lotioning my feet once a day. Which I wasn’t. Which I’ve started. Did you know it’s good to have hair growing on your feet and toes, or so says the doctor. It indicates healthy blood flow. I still have hair on my feet. Not hairy feet, by the way. No, no; no Bigfoot feet here; just normal amounts of hair on the top of the foot and toes. A good thing.



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