Take A Pill

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all

White Rabbit by Grace Slick, Jefferson Airplane.

This week I have my yearly visit with my primary care doctor at the Veterans Administration Health Clinic of Central Iowa.  Instead of seeing my doctor in person, I will converse with him about my health concerns via telephone.

This appointment is going to take some time.  I rarely watch television, but I try not to miss any Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins games.  During commercial breaks, I keep getting messages that I “should ask my doctor if [insert name brand medication here] is right for me.”  I have a list.

If you’ve seen these commercials, have you noticed that you are never told what the medication is supposed to relieve?  You have to use a search engine to find out everything about the drug.  That’s the advertisement’s goal, getting you to click on their website.

Can you even pronounce some of these medications?  Will I have to spell out Baqsimi to my doctor to see if it’s right for me.  I certainly can’t pronounce it.  I don’t want to be insensitive to people who may need these medicines, but scanning the possible side effects should be enough to keep anyone from wanting to take a drug that eases one particular ailment.  I rarely see one anymore in which death is not one of the possible side effects.  And often, the list of side effects includes both constipation and diarrhea.  No, thank you.

It has to be impossible for both diarrhea and constipation to occur at the same time.  So, which is it?  Has the drug company not researched this pill completely to have the possibility of two adverse conditions as a side effect?  This is the point in which the manufacturer blames the patient.  “The medicine affects each individual differently.”  Think about that for a minute.  If side effects can range wildly from the runs to plugging up, wouldn’t the effect of the medicine be different to each individual user?  Okay, I know the answer, and that’s why I’m skeptical about drugs advertised on television.

I used to think that only old people used pill boxes.  Today, I use two pill boxes.  The red one is for the pills I take before bed.  The blue one contains medication I have to take in the morning.  That makes me feel older than old.  Twice as old.

For as many years as possible, I tried to keep from taking pills if I didn’t need them.  I rarely took an aspirin or ibuprofen when I had a headache or pain.  I still hesitate to use over-the-counter medication, although I do, occasionally and continuously.  That’s a confusing statement, isn’t it?  It’s sort of like throwing in constipation and diarrhea in the same sentence.  I take an over-the-counter antihistamine twice a day.  However, I rarely use any pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

The pills I take have been prescribed to keep me alive, or at least aid in the everyday functions that seem to have a link to healthy living.  That must be the way of life for so many of us who have become senior citizens.

If you have paid attention to previous blogs of mine, you would understand that I experimented with far too many drugs as a young man.  My aversion now is probably some unnecessary fear of getting hooked or overdosing.  I can’t explain it, and it probably cost too much to find a shrink that would explain it.

Or, I could just take another pill.

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

Mother’s Little Helper by Keith Richards / Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones

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