20 August 2008

The Ingestion of Expired Pills.

Last night, after I had the cry a minor headache came along. So I wandered into the bathroom and sought out a bottle of Aleve. I decided to check the expiration date merely out of curiosity & was shocked to read FEB 02.

So I stood there bewildered. I'm guessing that a bottle of Aleve is good for at least 2 years after you purchase it. This means I purchased this bottle sometime in 2000. I was in college then, living in Tacoma, WA. I was really into hanging out at El Toro on the weekends to sing karaoke & drink bottles of Budweiser. I have moved 5 times since and changed my regular bar (El Toro has also since burned down). I have packed that bottle and moved it 5 times, including one very long journey across the country in an old Subaru. It is amazing to me that such a benign object has made it this far.

Not only that, 6 years expired, and the pills still do the trick. I didn't take any from that bottle last night, but I have taken them plenty of times in the last 6 years without second thought and my pain was relieved as promised.

It just seems so irresponsible to have expired pills. But it also is quite hilarious. I can only imagine explaining the need to get my stomach pumped in the middle of the night, "I ingested 6 year old Aleve." I feel like the triage nurse may laugh in my face if not extremely annoyed by such a predicament. Which brings me to the underlying questions: Why do pills expire? Does it truly matter if you ingest expired pills?

When I think of expired pills I think of a little old lady, living alone in a giant house still using Noxema from a glass jar she bought at Woolworth's sometime in the late 1950's. When she gets a headache she chews on crumbs of baby aspirin that were purchased on that same visit. She's alright, I guess I will be too, not that I was ever worried.


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