Sunday, November 11, 2007


Pseudodysphagia: the fear of choking

Pharmacophobia: the fear of taking medicine

I had my driver’s license before I was able to successfully swallow a pill. I would put the pill in my mouth, take a sip of water, sense the pill at the back of my throat, and either a) cough the pill across the room or b) vomit.

I spent years battling this phobia. I was probably the only ten-year-old in the world who would ask the doctor for a shot instead of being subjected to a few weeks of amoxicillin.

When a shot wasn’t an option, and I had outgrown the bubble-gum flavored syrup, I would gnaw away at the prescribed pill bit by bit—a torture that often lasted hours.

Katie, my high school bff, suffered a similar disorder. We decided to face our fears together with a bottle of Breath Assure tablets. Time and time again we failed… but at least our breath smelled amazing for weeks.

The scrutiny of my peers and family members didn’t help the situation. When my grandpa would visit, he would make me watch him swallow his 20 daily pills with one swig. Like, somehow, seeing him ingest a handful of pills would miraculously cure me of my malady.

Finally, I took my first pill by washing it down with one of my daddy’s thick chocolate malts. I felt as though I had climbed Mt. Everest. It took months before I could swallow a pill using anything thinner than a V-8, but at least I had triumphed over my inner demons.

I am still not completely free of my phobia. I felt a little faint when my doctor prescribed me prenatal vitamins the size of footballs. I admit that a few of my morning sickness episodes bent over the toilet were due less to my nausea than to my reaction to a pill clinking against one of my teeth or teasing the back of my throat.

But today, while swallowing my daily allotment of pills, I felt grateful that I was able to do so. It would take me days to gnaw away at just one prenatal vitamin... and who has time for that?


Blake and Meg said...

You make me laugh! I have the opposite disorder and like to see how many pills I can take at once. I would take my prenatals, fish oils, and morning sickness pills all at the same time. It's a little weird, I know.

Heather & Trevor said...

I hate weird Phobia's like that! I am proud of you for over coming it! I always love your posts!

1rachelevans said...

Did you know that Missy has that same problem? I am so excited to see you guys!

Blake and Meg said...

yes, I'm still on. I'm actually teaching for Jennica this Sunday so everyone's going to get a double dose!! :)

Jessie said...

I didn't know this about you and I even lived with you for a semester! You're funny and I love reading your blog.