The Empire is on my side!

When I got what I call my ‘miracle medication’ in 2007 my life changed beyond all recognition. I don’t think it’s putting it too strongly to say that it gave me my life back. Pretty special things then, my little yellow pills and worthy of the highest respect! So, it has only ever seemed right and proper to me, considering the invaluable service they render, that I should take the very best care of them and this, I thought, must involve carrying them in a suitable receptacle. Somehow, the little blister packs they come in just don’t seem worthy of transporting such a precious cargo.

Some kind of pill box seemed to be in order, not only to protect and honour my little darlings, but also to remind me to take them. If I’m not keeping a regular schedule and especially if I’m having a good day it can be all too easy to find myself staring at my supply desperately trying to remember how many I’d started with and the last time I’d taken them. Problem is that a good day can pretty rapidly turn into a bad one if I miss a dose and that’s a bit of a bugger.

Considering that I’ll be taking medication for the foreseeable future I decided that finding a pill box was worth spending some time on to make sure I got just the right thing. I started looking online and found there was quite a mind boggling array to choose from, with all kinds of shapes and sizes from the very clinical with the clever memory jogging devices to the artillery shell key ring that was flashy, but looked like a really great way to end up with my meds all over the floor! Somehow though, none of them seemed to be me. I decided I might be better off finding something not intended for the purpose, but that I really liked and converting it to the cause. I’ve always like silver, so I upped my budget and began looking through antiques shops. My thinking was running along the lines of a silver, possibly ivory, snuff box, something small, attractive, quirky and, with any luck, a bit shiny.

Then, just before Christmas I was out birthday shopping for a friend’s son. Like his dad, Tom is a huge Dr Who fan and so I found myself the in somewhat unfamiliar surroundings of a “sci fi/ fantasy and cult entertainment retailer” – an odd way to describe a comic book shop, I agree, but there you go! I have to admit, it was a lot more fun to browse around than I had imagined! They had everything, Pirates of the Caribbean pistols, Star Trek uniforms, Harry Potter wands and, thankfully a very large selection of Doctor Who figures. Tom is an avid collector and it would never do if I bought one he already had. He was just turning seven and by this time the list of figures he didn’t have was quite short and proving very hard to find. We’re talking the rarities here!

I had just laid hands on the target figure when I noticed something from my own childhood. Just along the shelf was the Star Wars section and it was chock full of goodies most of which were from the three original and, if I may say so without sparking too much of a furore, best films of the series. As I scanned the arrayed goodies my eyes fell on some novelty mints. There was a selection to choose from, C3PO, the Death Star and Imperial Storm Trooper. I hate mints, never eat them, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was the tins they were in. The C3PO mints were in little robot tins, the Death Star mints in little Death Star spheres and, glory of glories, the Imperial Storm Trooper mints were in a storm trooper helmet tin! It is genuinely hard for me to find the words to express to you just how much I wanted to be an Imperial Storm Trooper when I was a child. OK, they were the bad guys and yes, they weren’t terribly bright, but to me they were the coolest guys ever! Even better, the tin and mints together were only £3. Bargain! I’d just found my pill box!

Of course, one has to be sensible when it comes to storing medicines. I figured the tin was designed to hold mints which in turn were designed for human consumption, so it wasn’t going to be made of lead or anything, but that doesn’t automatically mean you can keep your meds in it. So, to be on the safe side I decided to get a professional opinion and took it over to my pharmacist. I must say, I’ve always appreciated the diligence and seriousness with which my pharmacist treats his work. I’m not altogether sure though that I appreciated the look I got when I asked him if it would be safe to carry my pills in a storm trooper helmet. For a moment I began to fear that what I had taken for diligence and seriousness was, in reality, simply the total absence of a sense of humour. But just as I thought my dream was about to be crushed, something rather wonderful happened. He cracked a smile, laughed and declared, “Yep, that’ll do.”

And so my quest has ended. I now carry my medication around in a Star Wars storm trooper helmet shaped tin and I love it. I take my medication with pride, making a great display of producing my pill box in public. Kids inevitably think it’s “very cool”! In fact, apparently it’s so cool that it’s quite rare for people to get round to asking what the actual pills are for. It’s almost like a Jedi mind trick: “these aren’t the meds we’re looking for”. You can’t put anything past Tom though. After giving my pill box a very high “Wow” rating he then asked me “what are those pills for?” When I told him they help keep me well he declared this also to be “very cool” and you know, I must say, I rather have to agree with him.



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