The Optional One
I know that all my medications make my life better. Whether it’s inhalers for asthma, or pills for my allergic rhinitis, ADHD, and uterine fibroids, I’m very lucky to have access to the medications I need to both keep me alive and improve my life. That does not mean, however, I don’t on occasion resent having to take these medications, medications I will probably have to take for the rest of my life. Look, sometimes I just want to go to bed like most other people.
When you need to use a treatment only occasionally
Despite this, on Thursday I asked my doctor to write a new prescription for the nasal spray I take for my allergic rhinitis, noting to her, as well as to my favorite pharmacy assistant, J, “I take everything else consistently. The nasal spray is the one I consider ‘the optional one.”
I also told them I was pretty sure the nasal mometasone I was using expired in 2016.
They both, I presume, know that I know the importance of using many medications regularly for full effect, inhaled and nasal corticosteroids included. And they know that despite this knowledge I am taking my one act of “rebellion” by not consistently taking this one medication out of 8 that I am prescribed. The reality, however, is that I am being honest with them about this. 30 seconds add up. While sometimes I choose to use that 30 seconds to take my nasal spray and sometimes I don’t, over a year, that’s 182.5 minutes. That’s three hours of my life over the course of a year just taking a freaking nasal spray. And that’s just one medication. I’m refusing to calculate the other hours of my life lost to other medications because honestly, I don’t want to know. (And because, thank God for podcasts, so it is not a total loss.)
Yes, that time is an investment in feeling good. And I acknowledge it is worth it. But doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather spend that time petting dogs or playing Ticket to Ride on my iPad.
Which leaves the nasal spray as the optional one.
Communicating with the doctor about treatment use
Both my doctor and I responded genuinely openly to this. This is how it should be. The members of my team know me well enough to understand I am making an educated choice. They may not internally agree, but they know I am the one navigating this, that I am not trying to pull any fast ones over on them because I’m open about my choice, and I understand how this medication works and that I am not necessarily getting the most possible out of it using it as I do. They understand—for now—my desire to free up some portion of those 3 hours a year, may outweigh my desire to control my allergic rhinitis. This may change, and I’m reassured they’ll respond with similar openness if and when we revisit this topic of "the optional one”..
Oh, and imagine my surprise when I got home with my new nasal spray and It was good through October 2019! Guess I didn’t need to refill that one quite yet.
Oh, and bonus points for my family doctor… the new label says “Use 2 sprays in each nostril daily when needed.”
Clearly, she knows that’s how I’m going to use it anyways!
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?