Friday, October 09, 2009

Couldn't swallow the pills.

When I was a kid, I found it really difficult to swallow the pills. It was not that the pills were particularly large. These were ordinary pills for the kids, prescribed by the doctor when the child had a cold, stomachache, etc.

When I got sick, I would go to see Dr. Hishikawa, who had the office near my parent's house. When Dr. Hishikawa said "I am going to give you some pills", I would wince, as I knew that I was going to have a hard time swallowing one.

From the perspectives of adulthood, it is difficult to explain why it was so difficult for me as a child to swallow the pills. It was partly psychological. I simply could not take the pills down the throat, no matter how hard I tried.

My mother would say, "what if the doctor told you that you are going to die if you don't swallow this pill?"

I could not figure out what I should do in such a circumstance. The plain fact was that I simply could not swallow the pills.

As a result, I always had to take powder medicine. Oh boy, these were bitter. My mother would say again and again, half jokingly and half reproaching, that I was inviting my own misfortune by being unable to take the pills.

Many years later, when I read "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche, I came across the famous narrative of a man who was bitten by a snake in the throat. Then I remembered my childhood miseries, and felt that the whole experience was rather like this episode in the philosophical novel.

I was six or so when I was finally able to swallow a pill down the throat. I remember the sensation quite vividly.
In Zarathustra, the unfortunate man finally rises by biting of the snake head, and stands, with his eyes glittering like the blazing sun. The new man is born.

As I look back, it feels as if I saw the burning flame of life by being able to swallow the pill finally, at the mature age of six.


Johnny said...

My sister had a similar problem with swallowing pills as a child. I think she was a bit older before she could swallow one. Maybe 7 or 8 years old. She still hates taking pills.

Petrusa de Koker said...

This is a very endearing story. I could not help but smile. I had a similar problem and I remember having to take bitter powder medicine as well. My dear father used to mix the powder in a spoonful of honey or syrup to help me swallow it. My mother more or less shared your mother's point of view. :-)

(ma)gog said...

Every time when you write about your childhood, I find myself tracing back my memory to the experiences of my own as a child, and surprisingly, they always come back to me so vividly.

Well, I remeber exactly the horrible taste of powder medicine, but before I was maybe eight, I had only been given the sweet syrup medcine in a half transparent small thin plastic container. I was very much spoiled. Or, was I just lucky?

Yamabuki no tsubone said...

Wow, me too! I couldn’t swallow the pills until around age 7. So I always got syrup or power one. My grandparents used to use oblate for power one. So I always asked them to give me a box of oblate, and used it. I really loved to wrap power one and took it.
By the way, I found Quote by Albert Einstein. I really like it. So I love to share with you and readers of your blog. Quote: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Albert Einstein

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

I'm still very weak in swallowing the pills, taking powder medicine, and getting an injection.

As you say, those are not physical problems but psychological or philosophical ones.

When I was a kid, I had begun to cry, BEFORE the doctor inject my arm. That's an piece of evidence.

I haven't solve these problems yet. I have to read Nietzsche, Jung... ...

Tsubameni no tsubone said...

Thank you for sharing Quote by Einstein.
We can listen widely, too, thanks to two ears!