Lately, it seems, I’m running to the vet or the pharmacy every week or so to refill a prescription.

Ginger, our 15-and-a-half-year-old Golden Retriever, needs a steady supply of her chewable, yummy, liver-flavored pills for arthritis, plus her chewable, yummy, other-flavor pills to help her cognition (I could use some of these, too, for those ever-more-frequent senior moments), and another pill for her thyroid, and another med for her arthritis (which I just discovered comes in pill form, not yummy or chewable, but considerably cheaper than the liquid version), plus a stomach acid blocker.

For me, there are about a half-dozen prescriptions to manage at any one time, one from a specialty mail-order pharmacy that requires a monthly blood test, and others that run out on a staggered schedule and require my attention every couple of weeks or so. Plus some vitamin supplements and over-the-counter meds to round out the mix.

I’m sure there’s a more efficient way to keep track of all this and probably some cheaper alternatives for Ginger that I have yet to discover.

I need to check out substitutions for some of my own meds, as well. Recently my deductible on two different scrips jumped from $25 to $50. One of these is a monthly refill. It all adds up, quickly.

Even still, I’m blessed with good medical insurance through Al’s employer (at least, that is, until we find out what the new plan will be for next year, since the hospital where he is a social worker was recently bought out, once again). One of my prescriptions would cost nearly $5,000 a month without coverage. Very sobering. I think about this every time I take one of those little pills, which I need twice a day. I try to be very careful not to drop one.

When I rise and before bed, I line up one set of pills and swallow them with water. Then, after breakfast and dinner, Ginger and I take pills together. Despite her age, she is actually very good about reminding me if I get distracted, because for her, medicine is a big treat.

Not only are the chewables yummy, but she enjoys having her other pills with a little butter, plus a scoop of low-fat ricotta and a little bread or left-over challah, to be sure the arthritis meds don’t irritate her stomach. She will start pacing back and forth to nudge me if I miss the timing, which she seems to know by the amount of daylight or lack, thereof, and where we are in our daily routine of meals.

I do not look forward to taking my meds, nor to constantly running to refill prescriptions, nor to paying for it all. It is just one of those things that needs to happen on schedule.

But I think Ginger has the right attitude. In her world, every day is an adventure to be savored.

My meds certainly help me feel a lot better than I would without them. They are a nuisance to manage, a growing expense. But I am extremely grateful to have access to the drugs I need in order to stay as healthy as possible.

Now, if they could only come in chewable, yummy flavors.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at


  1. I know if I had to pick a yummy chewable flavor, I would not pick what Ginger picked!! 🙂 Great post, thank you! I enjoy reading your blog weekly!

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