Afternoons And Coffee Spoons – They’re Here Already!

A mix-up with my medicines has convinced me I’m in imminent danger of carking it….  

Pouring a spoonful of medicine
Image: Steffen Frank/pixabay

I WENT TO the Doctor recently because I’d been having tummy trouble.
At first, she thought it was down to my boozing and gave me the old 50 Ways To Lose Your Liver chat.
From now on, she said, I had to drink in line with the Recommended Government Guidelines. Just six scoops a week instead of my current 376,000,000,000,000,000…
But then a blood test came back saying that the doughty organ was in decent shape, despite everything, and that the problem was bacterial. She put me on three different sorts of antibiotic for a week.
Sorted. Except for a vague feeling of unease as I rocked up at the pharmacy. 

I’d never been given so many medicines to take in combination, and they had to be taken at different times, or with and without food and alcohol.

I wondered: were my organisational skills up to the task?

As I left the chemists – Twenty-seven quid lighter – I noticed one of those seven-day pill boxes that the Opa and Oma used to organise their prodigious intake of drugs with, back when they were in their 70s.

I thought about it for a second, and then hastened on. Naah, I’m not that old, I reassured myself. I think I can remember when to take a few pills. 

But another reason that I gave the box the dodge was that it reminded me of that icky song – Afternoons And Coffee Spoons – by the Canadian band, Crash Test Dummies.

Remember it? It was quite clever: a feel-good-sounding tune that got really heavy radio rotation on in the 1990s, despite being all about terminal illness. 

I suppose that, before the turn of the century, young ‘uns like me could afford to find amusing the song’s stage-by-stage iteration of the indignities suffered by older people on their way to the exit door.

Measuring out medicines with coffee spoons. Ha ha. Pyjamas in the daytime. Snigger. Lung X-rays. Hilarious. Although being follically challenged, even then, I used to find the line about a disappearing hairline a bit much.

Anyway, here I was – 25 years after the release of the song and in my (almost) mid-50s –  needing to measure out my medicines for real.

Don’t panic, I told myself. It’s easy.

I nixed the drink completely, set timers on my iPad to tell me when I could and couldn’t eat. I put the tablets I needed to take with food in a separate little ramekin and everything seemed to be going smoothly…

Until I ran out of one of the pills with a day to go.

I had four too many of the Amoxycillin and two too few of one of the others…

Had I mixed them up, or had the chemist made a mistake?

What did I think? I thought that I should have bought the box and made sure, but Pride Was Fucking With Me at the time.

Somehow it all made me feel much older, needing that box, and I realised that I had indeed arrived squarely in the middle of the song. I already had the hairline, and now I was measuring out the medicines like a right silly old sod.

That funny bit in the video for the single, with the Grim Reaper sitting around in the garden of a care home, smoking and drumming his fingers on the handle of his scythe, was suddenly just a bit less droll.

There was nothing else to tick off now but the rattle in my bronchi – and, after that, the slow slide into death…. 

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