Calcium pills should never be swallowed at night

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Lately, between the full moon, Tim Roth and the endless stream of creative thoughts and dark imaginings that regularly occupy my mind, sleeping has been near impossible. For more than a week I've been working on five or six hours at best - when I'm lucky. This wouldn't be an issue except for the fact that when I get less than eight to thirteen hours of rest a night, I become paranoid and obsessive... far more than usual.

To be clear, it's not that I can't sleep. I just can't sleep at night - or, when it's appropriate to sleep. Case in point. We were driving back from the city (Jan and the 3 year old in the backseat, Geoff and I in the front,  a thousand pounds of  hardwood for the new house in the truck bed)  when I conked out - head titled back, mouth wide open - right in the middle of a conversation with Geoff - who was (fortunately) in the driver's seat. Could've been a far more eventful trip had our seating positions been reversed. Still, I think he might have been slightly offended that his voice is more effective than sleeping pills. 

The point is, that when we got home, I was ready to crash. I made a decision to get to bed early - skip the nightly Netflix ritual - and have a wonderful, restful slumber. 

On the way to bed, I stopped to take my vitamins, starting with my calcium pill - a giant torture device of a tablet which makes me healthy. I think. 

I swallowed it. And it got stuck, partway down my throat. I didn't think much of it, figuring it would work its way down eventually. 

I took a couple swigs of water. 

It didn't budge. 

I thought laying down might help.

It didn't.

I got up and ate some yogurt, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

It wasn't.

Next, I devoured a Mini Babybel cheese that I found in the fridge.

The calcium pill remained firmly planted.

An hour passed with me shoving assorted bits of food and drink down my throat, to no avail. By this time, the rest of the household was asleep. Geoff looked so peaceful snoring beside me. Lucky bastard. Meanwhile, I was in pain and suffering from indigestion. I reached for a Tylenol. Then I remembered it would have to get past the calcium pill to be useful. I considered just sucking on it, like a cough drop. But decided instead to Google my predicament.

Ehow had this advice: "Try your hardest to get yourself into a peaceful state of mind. When you are relaxed, it can sometimes be a little easier to swallow pills. For this reason, try unwinding by meditating or doing some deep breathing before you attempt to swallow pills."

Yeah. Too late. 

As I searched further, what became clear, is that this is is a worldwide epidemic. Hundreds of thousands of people are out there - at this very moment - with pills of all sorts - firmly lodged in their throats. Who knew? It's so widespread, I'm surprised the pharmaceutical companies haven't come up with a new disorder... requiring treatments. It could be called pillstuckinthroatitus and capsule bombs could be prescribed, y'know, to blow up the offending pills.

Nearly two hours into my ordeal (I was tired - I read slower when I'm tired), I came across this advice.  

Eat a piece of bread.

I went to the kitchen again. Rice cakes, crisp bread, crackers... the only grain based products I could find were hard and crunchy. Then, in the back of the fridge, I spotted one lonely piece of rye bread. God knows how and when it got there. Either way, I didn't care.  I grabbed it and like an addict in need of a fix, devoured it the chewy leather-hard solution to my problem.

It worked. The effing calcium pill jumped from the ledge and went all the way down my esophagus. 

That was last night. This morning, I used a coffee grinder to pulverize all my vitamins into a powder which I sprinkled on some yogurt. It smelled horrific and tasted like puke. But a piece of chocolate fixed that. Sort of.

Maybe I'll sleep tonight. 

No, really.

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