Friday, August 15, 2008

Do You Read the Labels?

Okay, so I have a question. We all seem to allow something absurd to be said without question as long as the ‘say-er’ seems like an authority. For example I have worn glasses for years but not all the time. So occasionally I will put them on and someone will say, “Oh, you wear glasses?” And my response is usually a very matter of factly spoken, “Yeah, but only for vision.” And no one ever calls me on the answer!

Well I am currently fighting several rounds with an annoying and painful stomach virus. After a week of doing nothing to treat it I finally gave in and visited the doctor. He ran a few tests in order to keep his billing figures up but diagnosed either diverticulitis or a lower abdominal bug without waiting for the results.

Trust me he actually said it was one or the other. And since doctors are Gods, or so their mothers think I had to go along with him. I listened attentively to the word of God and noted the required changes to my diet for the next week or so. I committed to memory all I had to do to get better and felt relieved to have gotten the word.


But aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling I got from his definitive prognosis of a cure even though he knew not what I had I also received TWO prescriptions for TWO different drugs to cure either or both of my ailments.


And that leads me to my current thought. Have you ever read the labels and warnings listed on the bottles of prescription drugs? They are so long nowadays that most plastic pill containers aren't large enough and come with a booklet of facts and caveats. These are akin to those wonderful and speedy words you can almost hear on commercials and act as disclaimer for the drug companies as well as absolution just in case.

You really have to read these “advice” sheets that come with prescriptions because they are funnier than a Woody Allen film. Okay I mean back when his films were funny.
One of mine has a tiny print paragraph telling you that the elderly could be more susceptible to the side effects than the young. BUT EVEN I NEEDED A MAGNIFYING GLASS TO READ THAT PART so you know the elderly aren’t going to see it!
Or you may be taking a pill for some silly recently made-up disease such as restless leg syndrome, or RLS (not to be confused with Steve Martin’s Happy Feet) and notice that the possible side effects could include high blood pressure; incontinence; and death. I am not saying that they do but give me the restless feet please.

Now in my case I went to the resident genius of the digestive track because I was experiencing lower stomach or abdominal pain and cramping as well as, I am sorry to say a somewhat loose stomach if you get my drift. I was also having more frequent headaches but I wasn’t sure if those were connected so I made light of that fact.

Each of the drugs I am committed to taking for ten days lists the following as possible side effects:
Dizziness, HEADACHE, DIARRHEA, NAUSEA, STOMACH PAIN, loss of appetite (yeah, well who wants to eat when you have the runs?) and get this – constipation and dry mouth. I am still working on the diarrhea / constipation dilemma. (I'll take Contradictions for 2000 please Alex.)
So after taking the drugs religiously for six days I was asked if I am feeling better.
HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW? I may be cured but the cure consists of the same damn symptoms I shelled out my deductible to get rid of! And here I am one doctor visit; one lab visit; and two drug payments later still cramping.

Anyway, that's all for now. I would like to write a little more but the cure is acting up.

1 comment:

train buddy said...

My poor baby. The only reason they give you drugs is to get you back in the doctor's office to get another drug to counteract the first drug. You should feel for these doctors. They need your money to put food on their table, buy a mansion in the Hamptons for which they need to park their yachts.