I hope I’m still too young to be using a phrase like back in the day so instead I’ll say that about twenty years ago, there was very little that could top going to visit my cousins or even meeting up with them in a pub on an occasion. The reason? Well on days like that there was always the possibility of a shiny pound coin being pressed into your hand by a generous relative or maybe it was just to get rid of us and have some peace?
Even at that young age we were being taught about the value of money, a pound would get you one packet of crisps in the pub but walk across to the newsagents and all sorts of possibilities opened up. Suddenly it wasn’t about just getting some sweets or chocolate, it was about getting the MOST sweets and chocolate you could for your pound. It was always safer to avoid the big brands and head into ten-penny bag and 10p crisp territory. All the time being aware that extra flavour and nicer taste, like a Smiley bar (orange flavour chocolate coated caramel) instead of a Chomp (milk chocolate coated caramel), meant a price hike from 10p to 12p.
As I got a little older I’d watch as my siblings and younger cousins, who struggled with one plus one at times, making the same mathematical calculations I had done and come back from the shop with bags of sweets. All this proved that children are all the same; when given the option between sweets or more sweets, they will choose more sweets. As I grew up the quantity of sweets became less important as I focused more on the quality. Good white chocolate is my favourite at the moment but that’s for special occasions (like the first Thursday of the week).
The reason sweets are so on my mind is that sometimes conversations with others who have fibromyalgia, arthritis or any other chronic pain condition return to the topic of sweets. We talk about chewing on painkillers like skittles or m+m’s and swallowing nurofen or difene like smarties.
Chronic pain and chronic fatigue can lead us to see lots of different doctors and specialists and sometimes they will be the equivalent of going to the newsagent as a child and throw prescription after prescription at you. If they give you a new script for each individual symptom you’re going through, you can end up chewing on tablets morning, noon and night. Sometimes they feel that they must give us a new prescription so we will leave happy but more sweets isn’t always a good thing, less is more can be a useful phrase at times.
It is vital that we take an active part in our treatment and discuss with the professionals if each new script is necessary or if it can replace something we’re already taking. It is important that we are the ones who take the overall, whole body option of examining our treatment. In this way we can avoid over-medicating or taking two tablets that do the same job or even cancel each other out.
You see, like the child with a pound coin, our money is scarce and it is important that we get the best value for the money we spend on doctors and medications. At the same time we must realise that value for money isn’t always a new prescription but can mean someone taking the time to understand us and make the right choice for us, whatever that choice may be.
When it comes to fibro we are all individuals. Some medications work for one person but not for another and it’s the same with alternative therapies. Just like some people prefer m+m’s and some people prefer skittles. The important thing is to find the mix that works. Sometimes that means quantity and sometimes that means quality.
So from now on I will be going for the white Lindt chocolate over the skittles and questioning if each drug and medication I’m taking is necessary because, if at all possible, I’d like to avoid chewing tablets like skittles for the next forty years.