Side Effects I Could Live With

It was refill time, refilling my two prescriptions that I swear I don’t need. They are both at the very lowest doses available and I feel confident that my doc ordered them so that I would return for an appointment next year, or maybe she just likes me and wants to be sure to see me once a year. Half the time I forget to take them, but I give it the old college try. I’ve taken both for over fifteen years with no changes, so either these drugs are doing their job or it’s a plot.

I forked over my co-pay and smiled at the pharmacy tech, an employee I had not seen before, and he said, “I should tell you the side effects of these, Ma’am.” Okay, I’m game, I hadn’t heard the side effect spiel for fourteen years and of course, don’t read the literature they send home every three months. Besides having biceps that strained his shirt sleeves, he had a bronzed tan, black hair, blue eyes and a slight southern drawl. Eye candy. I could listen to him for a few minutes or maybe even ask questions to extend the conversation. I may be in my 70s but certainly not dead.

He listed the side effects one by one, and it was interesting that both drugs had the same side effects, so I heard them twice and every side effect was prefaced with the words “life threatening:” new or worse high blood pressure, heart failure, liver problems, kidney problems, anemia, rashes, allergies. The non-life-threatening side effects weren’t much better: stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. I’m not kidding. Holy cow…I could toss in some profanity here, but my editor would nix it, so I won’t waste my finger-strokes.

I already wondered if I really needed these two drugs, but with this list, it was possible that I would be on my death bed in a New York second if I continued to take them. Yet, I hesitate to defy my doctor and ignore that good wisdom, but it makes me wonder if my doctor knows or even remembers all these effects.

The list got me to wondering. The drug manufacturers ought to address this side-effect issue that surrounds most drugs. It seems irresponsible that they haven’t been able to create cool life-enhancing side effects? You know what I’m talking about, things that will encourage us to continue taking the drugs. Why would I take a drug that will undoubtedly leave me worse off than I already am at my advanced age of 75?

Couldn’t they create side effects that would encourage my continuing the drugs, like CAUTION: prolonged usage may reduce facial wrinkles, put a spring in your step, improve sleep patterns, give you unlimited energy, and return dull gray hair to its natural splendor. Those side effects would be welcome, and somebody needs to tell ‘em.

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