He was only in his early 60’s, but his arsenal of pills was mind-boggling.
“I took the first one to counteract depression. That one gave me the shakes. I then got on another pill for my trembling, and I had to pee all the time. Now I’m on something for my incontinence, and I have a constant a brain fog.”
We both started laughing before we did another improv exercise together. Thank God for humor. It gets us through the worst of times.
So many of my friends over 50 are at the mercy of doctors and pharmaceutical companies who have convinced us that popping pills is the remedy to better health. We put doctors on such a pedestal, as if their recommendations will give us a free pass to heaven.
I’ve pretty much stopped going to the doctor because every visit includes a prescription. How often do they suggest a cheap way to get better? There’s usually a scribble involved, a no-pay or co-pay, and you’re left believing that their scrawl will miraculously make you better.
A few years ago, I was having terrible anxiety related to a flood in our condo. I saw a few doctors, who gave me a myriad of explanations.
“Your brain scan was abnormal,” one began.
“I think you suffer from depression,” suggested another.
“No doubt it’s menopause,” chimed a third.
All of them gladly wrote me prescriptions, but when I looked at the side effects of the medications they advocated, they sounded worse then the maladies I was experiencing.
I declined the Advair and said no to the Lexapro. I couldn’t even pronounce Varepamil, let alone figure out just what it was supposed to do. And those are just a few of the medications that were suggested. This was too many pills.
Over time, I figured out that what I had was a case of PTSD, and I decided to ride it out. The anxiety eventually dissipated, and I was glad that I never joined our pill-popping population.
Doctors just don’t have time to properly diagnose your problems anymore. With our healthcare system being such a mess, doctors rarely spend ten minutes with you. Their eye contact is fleeting, like they’re speed dating.
They barely look at you as they hurry to get to the next patient. Cram them in like cattle. So what if they’re triple-booked?
It reminds me of playing darts. If you’re lucky, doctors hit the bull’s-eye with their summations of your health, but most of the time your left feeling like you’ve gotten no answers, just a general guess. If you follow their protocol and have good results, it’s like you’ve won the lottery.
Were our parents this sick as they entered their senior years? Or are we in worse shape due to climate change, political upheaval, GMOs, or fracking?
Historical novels don’t talk about gluten intolerance, yet it runs rampant in our culture today. More illnesses lead to more pills, until some people claim their medicine cabinets look like small pharmacies.
Did you know that many doctors receive compensation for prescribing certain medications? Speaking engagements, gifts, travel and other rewards are a nice incentive for a doctor to recommend a drug. Check on these articles:
Thankfully, I am not on any prescription medications. I dabble with a few supplements and hope that over the years I don’t have to replace them with prescriptions. Often the body can heal itself.
As for my pal at the senior center? I wonder if he would feel better if he stopped all his medications completely. Maybe it is too many pills. At the very least, it would make a great improv.
Read Next: My Husband’s Addiction To Prescription Drugs
Mary McGrath is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including:Chicken Soup for the Soul (Jan. 2019), Newsweek, Wall St. Journal, Betterafter50.com, Purpleclover.com, LANG Newspaper Group, and Good Housekeeping, Please find her work at www.marymcgrathphotography.com