One of the frustrations that I do not believe I am alone in having is opening some medicine bottles (over the counter or prescription it makes no difference). One of the worst was the regular Aleve container. Thankfully they also now have an arthritis, easy-open container. The regular container required pinching a small panel on both sides (index finger and thumb) while at the same time unscrewing the cap.
Even getting the plastic off some bottles is tough, requiring some pointed object to start the tear in the plastic. One of the worst of this kind is on a tiny bottle that is no more than an inch and a half tall and once you get the plastic sheath off, you then have to twist the tiny cap that is about a half inch in diameter - barely enough to grip between thumb and forefinger - a pair of pliers comes in handy for that bottle. And what does that little bottle contain? It looks like clear water, but it is precisely 30 drops for the eyes that I would guess costs about $10,000 a quart if it were to come in such a size.
At least one pharmacy has adopted prescription bottles that are cumbersome to open only the first time. If you follow the directions and turn the cap upside down after the first use, then it easily screws on and off as the lid. Interestingly I have a couple of prescriptions where a 30-day supply comes in one of those bottles and barely fills the bottom fifth of it, but I am not complaining about that because the larger bottle is easier to handle than some of the smaller ones.
The hard-to-open containers do serve a purpose, namely making it at least a little bit harder for the very young to get into things they shouldn't be. Child-proofing, unfortunately, sometimes means senior-adult-proofing.
The other day I was in the aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve) aisle of the pharmacy where some small (and large) containers of the products can be found. Most have the push down and turn type of cap to open. Not too bad.
The choices for aspirin included either the 81mg (baby aspirin or low-dose aspirin for heart health) or the 325mg. Then there was the cherry chewables, orange chewables (I didn't see any licorice which I might have liked), or "plain." There was also the question of enteric coated. Possibly my fellow columnist, Dr. Martin, will enlighten us on differences here, but as I understand it, the enteric coating is to protect the aspirin as it goes through the stomach, slowing any absorption of the aspirin until it reaches the small intestine. The implication was that you should not, in general, chew the enteric coated aspirin. The question that was unaswered in my mind was, "Are the chewables such that the aspirin is absorbed in the stomach?" The other question is whether the aspirin that helps if a heart attack is suspected is any of these or only a non-coated kind? Oh, Fiddlesticks!
There is another confusion over what you might find on the label that says the medicine is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.) Apparently this applies to aspirin, but also possibly some of the other mentioned drugs mentioned, moreso for Advil and Aleve than for Tylenol. I need to be enlightened on this matter.
Just like most processed foods these days, the labels also mention other ingredients in many of these products. I was fascinated with D&C red #27 aluminum lake, dextrose excipient, FD&C red #40 aluminum lake, saccharin sodium, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, and others.
I also remember a bit of trivia about aspirin, namely that it originally came from the bark of the willow tree!
Milk cartons of a coated cardboard where you try to squeeze the lip of the carton to cause the fold to come out for pouring have also given me fits. The squeezing doesn't always free up the folding out and thus you have to pick at the foldout part to get it started.
I also have had trouble now and then opening various jars. We have several aids around home. One is a sort of bendable plastic that gives a stronger grip on the lid. Similarly, there is a circular piece of rubberized material that gives a stronger grip when palmed over the lid of a jar. A V-shaped device can be had that fits under a counter into which you press the top lid of the container and then grip the bottom part to turn.
One solution I found for certain jars of pickles is to use the rounded end of a church key to break the vacuum seal before trying to twist off the lid. The church key is becoming difficult to find these days, but I have seen them on the internet for just 23 - of course there is a shipping charge so hopefully you are purchasing other things at the same time to cut down on the per item cost.
The rounded end of the church key was devised in the late 1890s to pry off the glass bottle cap (like soda and beer bottles before the "twist-off" cap.) The caps were called "crown corks." Prior to crown corks, just corks were used and at that time, the bottles had rounded bottoms so that they could not be stored standing up. Standing up would mean the corks would dry out and thus allow deterioration of the contents. The other end of the church key with the sharp triangle became popular in the 1930s when flat-top cans came into use and needed an opener - obviously before pull tabs.
Incidentally the church key was so named probably because the device had similarities to some of the old keys used to lock church doors.
Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!