Modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry are truly a puzzle to me at times Ė and Iím not even talking about universal health care, financial policies, insurance companies, political maneuvering, Medicaid, Medicare and so forth.
On one hand, both are imperative to our overall well-being, increased life expectancy and, in general, living a healthier life. Yet there are times when Iím left scratching my head, wondering at the ironies inherent in certain products and treatments both have to offer.
Iíve never been big on medicine of any kind, I can tell you that much. I can, quite easily, count on both hands the number of times in the last five years Iíve taken any kind of pill or medication for a cold, cough, sinus infection, sore throat, headache, toothache, earache or any other kind of ache for that matter, if you get my drift.
Itís not that I never get sick, Iíve simply never let it bother me that much. Typically, by ignoring that which ails me, Iím able to get over any sort of minor sickness in a day or two.
Trust me, Iím grateful for that, as I realize this isnít the case for everyone.
No, what really gets me are these ďnewĒ wonder drugs. You know, the ones that have been around for the last decade or so, able combat all manner of illnesses and afflictions. Theyíre usually pretty easy to pick out if you know what youíre looking for Ė they all have similar yet utterly confusing names such as Zopraxinalicid, Gutenaxinal or Frankensteinaproxizin Ė and they all come with a list of side effects a mile long (which are typically far worse than the ailment itself).
And thatís downright confusing if you ask me.
Now Iím certainly not going to name specific prescription medicines here, as Iím no doctor or pharmaceutical expert. Yet one such treatment Ė taken to address a rather disgusting irritable syndrome Ė had surprisingly few of those pesky side effects.
There were three to be exact: increased appetite, indigestion and nervousness.
And thatís great because, even were you to suffer the occasional bout of heartburn from that first medication, a little research turned up a second prescription which would take care of that.
Unfortunately, that second wonder drug features a list of side effects that is, how shall I say, truly impressive. Bacterial infections, bone fractures, constipation, diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, swelling of the face, lips and tongue, fever, chills, sore throat and, wait for it, pain.
I donít know about you, but heartburn itself can be pretty painful. So why in the world would I want to take a medication, any medication, that may result in pain? What Iíd really like to know are the specifics. What kind of pain? Where does it hurt? Is there another prescription I can take that will help with the pain? And how can one drug cause both constipation and diarrhea?
The list of questions goes on and on.
My all-time favorite, however, are those wondrous drugs prescribed to combat depression. I donít know if youíve ever noticed but most, if not all, of these medicines sport a truly unique warning Ė may cause suicidal thoughts.
Even after years of hearing that statement in commercial after commercial, I must say Iím flabbergasted. I simply canít understand why anyone, suffering from depression, would take a pill that ďmayĒ cause suicidal thoughts.
And the more I think about it, the less sense it makes. Itís like purposefully driving a car the wrong way down a one-way street. Jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Deep sea diving with no oxygen. Again, Iím no expert, but Iím guessing all three of those ďmayĒ be hazardous to your health.
Personally, Iíd rather be depressed than take any kind of chance. Lifeís certainly not all that bad that I want to risk suicidal tendencies in order to live a more well-balanced, day-to-day existence. As for the myriad wonder drugs out there, letís just say Iíll stick with the old-fashioned remedies. The last time I checked, a can of chicken noodle soup didnít come with a warning label or a list of side effects. Unless, that is, you happen to be allergic to chicken, or noodles, or soup. But Iím sure somebody out there has a prescription for that too.
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