1982, and Why I Hate Having To Take Medicine

Like most everybody, I dislike being sick.  The aches, the pains, the chills, the coughing, blah blah blah… I can’t stand it, and that goes without saying.  But there’s another reason.  Being sick means taking medicine to get better, and I don’t like that either.  Is it because I don’t like ingesting drugs?  Sure, that’s part of it.  Is it because most drugs taste as though they’ve been sitting in an NFL player’s jock strap hamper for a week?  Yeah, that factors in.  The main reason I don’t like taking medicine all started in 1982, the year one person’s actions forever changed the way we take medicine.

In that year, someone (to this day we don’t know their identity, and the case is unsolved) tampered with some bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol capsules, lacing them with potassium cyanide.  This caused the deaths of 7 people in the Chicago area, and led directly to the pharmaceutical industry moving away from capsules and going to caplets, as well as leading to reforms in how almost everything (drugs, foods, health care products) is packaged.

Child-proof packaging was already widely used by this time, but now not only did you need a pair of pliers to get the cap off, you also would need a hacksaw in order to get past the plastic sheeting which encased it.  Should you be fortunate enough to gain access, you still need to puncture and/or peel away the inner lining within.  And this is just items in bottles!  Dont get me started on stuff in bubble packs…

Like Contac, for instance.  In theory, this packaging method is great because you need not deal with a bottle and it’s safe-cracker cap.  These little beauties come on blister pack sheets, and all you have to do is tear one off from its handy dandy perforation.  A perforation less detachable than a door hinge.  But if you work it back and forth enough, eventually it breaks free.

Now that you have a single dose in your hand, you must coax it from within its cocoon.  You must find the weak point between the paper and the plastic in order to find a spot into which to wedge a finger nail so you can peel it open.  Success!

But wait, that’s not all!  It couldn’t possibly be that easy, now could it?  Of course not.  You see, once you’ve peeled back the paper layer, you find one more layer.  This time a layer of foil, which you must puncture by pressing the pills from the other side while being very careful not to do so hard enough to launch them through the foil and onto the floor.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick I also happen to be achy, can’t see half straight, shaky from the chills…in other words my hand/eye coordination ain’t all that great and I don’t have much of a grip.  My sympathies to any and all with arthritis, because whether bottle or blister pack this has got to be a living hell for a person with such a malady.

So I hope they find the culprit of the Tylenol murders, and throw him in prison for life.  And I hope they give him his meals in blister packs, and his beverages in containers with impossible to open caps which he must then attempt to open while wearing mittens.

2 thoughts on “1982, and Why I Hate Having To Take Medicine

  1. Since you don’t have kids in your house, get a small screw top bottle and put your meds in them while you are feeling good. Write the medication name and exp date or tape part of the impossi-package onto it for identification. Then there is no struggle with it when you are sick. Or just do like we did when I manufactured them and cut the clear side open with a razor knife. Skip the papered over foil part. Even we couldn’t get that open. LOL.

  2. I remember the good old days when I worked at the old Walgreen Laboratory factory in Kalamazoo, and they had barrels full of raw Pseudoephedrine on the loading dock, where anyone could just walk in and take it. And we could just take home rejected packages from inspection. Dang Meth addicts ruining it for everyone.

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