Sunday, June 22, 2008


We have a small shelf at our house where we store all of our over-the-counter medications. You can almost do an anthropological health study of our family based on the contents of that shelf. A quick inventory finds:
  • A bottle of generic children’s aspirin (orange flavored) that a doctor suggested we take daily as a heart attack preventer. Obviously, no one followed instructions very well at this house; the nearly full bottle has an expiration date of May ‘04. The bottle is kept only as a reminder that we don’t listen to doctors.
  • A bottle of Murine Wax Remover Ear Drops, expiration date April 2003. No wonder it didn’t work last year when I tried to use it to remove some waxy yellow buildup on the kitchen floor.
  • A bottle of Acetaminophen Diphenhydramamine HCl which sounds like it would be used to blow up bridges and take out enemy machine gun nests. Who cares what it does—it’s the first bottle I found that hasn’t reached its expiration date yet. All right!! We have a fresh drug!
  • A bottle of Noproxen sodium tablets, unexpired; a bottle of acetaminophen, unexpired; a bottle of Ibuprofen (oops, expired in January ’06). I believe these are all pain medications of one type or another—proof that our brave, long-suffering family must have experienced a great deal of pain over the years.
  • A mysterious bottle of Docusate Calcium, which looks harmless, but a scan of the label shows it could cause rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Whoever took this didn’t need it very long—the bottle is dusty and appears to be completely full. But there’s no expiration date—which means we could take it forever, or until we have abdominal pain and nausea, whichever comes first.
  • A bottle of Tylenol Sore Throat Daytime (expired May ’07) and a bottle of Top Care Cough and Sore Throat medicine. (Hurray! Expires January ’09! Sore throats until next Christmas for everyone!)
  • A box of Visine Sterile Lubricant Eye Drops (expired March ’06); a bottle of Visine Advanced Relief Lubricant Redness Reliever Eye Drops (expired May ’07); and a bottle of Bausch & Lomb All Clear Eye Drops (but hurry, hurry! Expires July ’08).
  • A bottle of Omega-3 Fish Oil tablets, unexpired.
  • An empty bottle of Centrum Silver multi-vitamins with a Sept. ’04 expiration date on the label. I do wonder why we’re keeping that empty bottle—but I’d better not throw it out in case there’s an important reason that we’ve already kept over four years.
The final drug on the shelf is one that I actually remember purchasing called Loratadine Orally Disintegrating Tablets to counteract a sinus attack. The pills are about the size of a lentil, and only one is gone—because I discovered that particular drug can absolutely, flat-out knock you on your butt. When I took one, it made me feel like I was having a psychedelic out-of-body experience, and I shakily said , “N-n-n-n-o-o, thank you!” But I hate to throw it away in case Robert Downey Jr. drops by our house in need of some light refreshments.

For a family that doesn’t take a lot of drugs and medications, we certainly have an impressive collection of over-the-counter products on our little drug shelf, even though most of them would probably kill us if we actually ingested them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel--it's your neice Nicki!
I'm hooked on your blog and am so happy you're doing this. You crack me up...(love the Robert Downey Jr comment)...someday you'll have to put these all into a book :)