Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Sound advice for the living

Watching the ads for medical treatments here is quite a revelation. I watch the news on television every morning, a somewhat fearful exercise because of the inordinate violence and traffic tragedies that are the norm. The commercials offer an almost-welcome break from the madness. Unless, that is, they are peddling medicine. Then it becomes an altogether different story.

Say you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Here's this new drug, it's marvelous! After singing its praises, the plummy voice then goes on to musically recite the list of side-effects you may expect. "____ has been known to cause breathing difficulties, headaches, nausea, mood disorders, digestive problems, dizziness, stroke, and paralysis." 

So the message in fact is, "take your pick, weaklings. You want to carry on with your arthritis? Or will you choose from this list of side effects and make your life better?"

This seems so contrary to the very science of medicine that I am still deeply unsettled by every one of these commercials. I haven't even mentioned that in some of them, "death" is listed as one of the potential consequences of ingesting the blessed drug. 

Unfortunately, J and I have had the unnerving experience of realizing that they are in fact not exaggerating. Someone we loved elected to take one such new drug. It gave him a year of relatively healthy life. And then, one by one, it started going down the laundry-list of side effects, ending with the most definitive: death. 

All this makes me weary if I think about it. So I have decided to follow my own advice to everyone living in this country: Don't get sick. 

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