(Taken From My Official Newsletter, Issue 33,
Some mornings I wake up and I dont feel like going
to work. All I want is another hour in bed. I always thought
this was because I have a case of the Mondays, but its
actually because Im sick. I know this because my symptoms
match those described on a TV for a prescription drug. Someone
get me to a pharmacy.
But these arent the only symptoms Ive been exhibiting,
according to drug company advertising. Im in dire need
of a lot of drugs. Funny, I didnt know I was that ill.
A lot of prescription drugs are touted
on TV nowadays and Im not talking about diarrhea medicine and aspirin, but
the stuff that needs a doctors blessing. These drugs
are pitched to the TV watching public under a veil of secrecy.
Vague references are made to symptoms that you and I might
suffer from on a daily basis. These ads also suggest that a
trip to the doctor might be a good idea. Ambiguously named
drugs such as Celebrex give no hint as to what ailment they
treat, but our interest enough to ask a doctor. Even worse,
some ads just mention the drugs name and nothing more.
NFL legend, Mike Dikta, has been telling me that he had a problem
but Cialus sorted it all out. Im thinking big, rough,
tough, Mike is a prime candidate for a heart attack or arthritis,
but no, Cialus is a competitor to Viagra. It was a shock when
I found out that Mike has problems downstairs. Poor guy. Who
knew? (sidebarmy edition of Microsoft Word automatically
corrects my misspelling of Viagrahmm. Mr. Gates, do you
have something to share with the class?)
Side effects are interesting. The
ads are obliged to list the side effects, which are rattled
off at auctioneer speed so that the viewer doesnt quite catch everything, but
I do take notice. Some of the side effects are worse than the
symptoms. You hear phrases like, Some people who took
Megatrex experienced dry mouth, Tourettes and occasional
vampirism. Paxil is one such drug, which lists an odd
array of side effects. For those who dont know, Paxil
is designed to help people who suffer from anxiety, but I get
anxious listening to the side effects. These include (and Im
quoting) infection, nausea, diarrhea or constipation (its
a feast or famine thing), dry mouth, decreased appetite, dizziness,
sweating, tremor, sexual side effects, injury, yawning, abnormal
vision (whats that?), asthenia, insomnia or sleepiness
(nice choice), dizziness, sensory disturbances (including electric
shock sensations), abnormal dreams, agitation, anxiety and
sweating. If Im not mistaken, those side effects are
the definition of anxiety! Paxil sounds like a drug brought
to you by the people who brought you the Emperors new
Some drugs cant hide behind their triple-word-scoring
names. Viagra (there goes my auto-spellchecker again) cant.
Once the word was out on what it could do, no one had to ask
their doctor what it was, just how to get some. But the natural
cures people have jumped on the bandwagon by offering a natural
alternative to Viagra. Im not sure what that would be.
Maybe a pair of chopsticks and a roll of duct tape?
Even worse than putting a strain on
the HMO system is the strain these ads put on us. If Im bombarded by images
of people intimating that Im not feeling well because
I suffer with symptoms of a generalized malaise that affects
virtually everyone then Im gonna need something like
Paxil to help me get rid of my anxiety that I didnt have
but I sure have now. I fear that these ads will create a world
full of hypochondriacs and who does that benefit? And if you
dont think a world of hypochondriacs is bad, take a look
at your family. Theres usually one member whos
a hypo. I know I do. Imagine, a world populated with people
like my aunts. Scary.
So dont get sucked in by the ads, remember youre
fine. Its nothing to worry about, unless youre
bleeding. Now if youll excuse me, my chopstick drawer
is fresh out of duct tape.
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