“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” - T. S. Eliot, from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

I do not measure out my life with coffee spoons. I measure out my life in eight-day increments with my Smitwitfiss.

What is a Smitwitfiss? You may well ask. It’s simply one of those plastic doohickeys that holds pills... what my Philadelphia-based daughter might call “the medicine jawn.” It has seven compartments, each one corresponding to a day of the week: SMTWTFS.

When all of its seven compartments are empty, it is time for me to replenish my Smitwitfiss. I fill each of its seven compartments with my various medicaments, taking that evening’s dose directly out of the bottles. Thus I only have to recharge once every eight days. (Little efficiencies mean a lot when any task requiring manual dexterity grows ever more challenging.) Instead of a baker’s dozen, it’s a baker’s week.

As for what I load into my Smitwitfiss, it’s not much different from what it used to be. It’s pretty much the standard Old Guy stuff. Blood pressure medicine. Cholesterol medicine. Allergy medicine. A little vitamin D for strong bones. Just the stuff I take every night before going to bed.

But nowadays there’s one additional little pill that I take mornings and evenings. It’s called Riluzol, and it is prescribed for one condition only. One that will get you a sympathetic look – and possibly even a hug - from your pharmacist.

Taking Riluzol may help me squeeze out a few extra months. The average, according to the huge and detailed leaflet that accompanies it, is three.

I will measure those months, along with all the others that are left to me, eight days at a time.


  1. I hate the pill regimen. Some days I want rebel shout: NO MORE NO MORE NO MORE.
    Billy Idol can stuff it.

  2. Well put.

    Sending strength, love, sympathetic looks and hugs...from philly and all it’s jawns


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