I have reached the point where I take a fistful of pills each day. Well, at least I am supposed to take them, on doctor’s orders. Most days I don’t because I cannot remember for the life of me what they are all for. But I believe them to be innocuous, at least compared to those “remedies” advertised on my television each and every day.
There must be a federal law that requires a drug manufacturer to disclose the hairy side effects of its product. Why else would the manufacturer admit these possibilities? I now watch the evening news to wait for the medicine ads and their delightful admission of side effects. It’s like watching a horror movie to see the gory ending.
Some other people I know (no names) are having trouble with their “indoor sports,” if you know what I mean. I can remember saying prayers at the Holy Name dance to relax those excited parts of my body during slow dances. Now, I say those same prayers to excite those parts, if you know what I mean.
Among the best-selling drugs in the past decade are Viagra and Cialis. Cialis has the ad with separate bath tubs. I can’t figure that out at all.
I assume these drugs are successful since they are making trillions of dollars for their companies. But consider the side effects of Cialis, according to its own ads. Start with change of vision and ringing in your ears. Most men would testify that is a small, small price to pay for success. Chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling of the hands and feet? No problem. Memory problems? Most of us have those anyway. But seizures and convulsions? Maybe your body is telling you that the party is over. Live with it.
It took me decades to stop smoking. It took my father, unconscious in his hospital bed reaching in a nonexistent pocket for a nonexistent cigarette, then lighting it with nonexistent matches, then drawing the nonexistent smoke deeply into his lungs. That was enough for me. I stopped smoking with only an occasional Cuban cigar.
Now you can buy Chantix to stop the ugly, deadly habit of smoking. But it depends on how much you really want to stop. Even the manufacturer admits abnormal dreams, trouble sleeping, nausea, abnormal heart rhythm and high blood pressure. But what about delusions, panic disorder, depression and that old favorite, suicidal tendencies? I know that smoking is an unhealthy thing, but it is preferable, in most markets, to suicide.
Got a cigarette?
I have not had hot flashes for quite some time, but some of my closest friends have them. They would seem to be an antidote to turning up the thermostat during this long winter, but don’t suggest that to any woman still afflicted with the malady. Given my druthers, I would rather have those hot flashes than the side effects from Brisdelle. The manufacturer that makes that drug suggests that side effects could include “confusion, difficulty with breathing (I hate that), dizziness, faintness or lightheadedness when sitting up or standing up.” In “rare” instances, it could cause “decrease in body movements” (What does that mean?) along with poor coordination, convulsions and inability to move one’s eyes and “activity you cannot control.”
I am not a fan of convulsions. I would rather have the hot flashes. But that’s just me.
Almost everyone I know has at least some struggle just getting off the couch with greater and lesser cases of arthritis. The mighty pharmaceutical industry has given us Enbrel, which is advertised almost nightly on the national news. I suspect that only seniors watch the nightly national news since the “plugged in generation” has already got their news on iPods, Kindles, Twitter and Facebook.
Enbrel is supposed to give relief to arthritis sufferers, but at what cost? Side effects include chills and fever. Big deal. It also can cause depression, fast heartbeat, painful urination (I hate that), shortness of breath and on rare occasions, “bloody, tarry or black stool” along with “confusion and convulsions.” You might feel “sad or empty,” especially after those tarry stools.
It appears to Dr. Meara that in many cases, the modern cure has become far, far worse than the disease.
Emmet Meara lives in Camden in blissful retirement after working as a reporter for the BDN in Rockland for 30 years.