Thursday, June 28, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Why are pharmaceuticals advertised on television?
After all, you can't write the prescription: only your doctor can.
So what gives?
The drug companies are spending billions of dollars on a bet.
They are betting that your doctor is a wimp.
Your doctor, with years of medical school training, residency programs, and finally, the benefit of experience in practice.
Sadly, this paragon of the Hippocratic oath is no match for Madison Avenue.
Medicine X may be the perfect solution.
Or maybe the ailment calls for no drugs at all.
But then the patients head to the physician's office, zombie-like, repeating the mantra: Cymbalta, Cymbalta, Cymbalta.
What's a practitioner to do?
The lady in the examination room will not be happy unless she leaves with the Rx that the handsome actor described during a break in Jeopardy.
These commercials are extremely well produced.
So well produced that the ads create a national tension that can't be relieved unless the pills are released into the medicine cabinets of the masses.
Here's my problem.
Maybe Cymbalta isn't such a great prescription.
Maybe it's less effective and has more side effects than the inexpensive alternative.
I have seen the antidepressant pitches that conclude with this warning: suicide may occur.
Yes, it's true.
We Americans will beg for a little amber bottle containing pills that might make us kill ourselves.
Here's another neat trick.
Television advertising convinces us that we need medication for problems that we didn't even know we had.
Every now and then my legs bother me a little bit while I'm trying to fall asleep.
Thank goodness television recently made me aware of something called Restless Leg Syndrome.
And of course, it's obvious that I must consume some chemical concoction approved by the FDA to deal with something that the drug companies have converted from an annoyance into a medical condition.
Thank goodness for the GlaxoWellcome Corporation.
I might have stumbled through life without whatever my restless legs crave.
Ain't advertising beautiful?
I want doctors to be strong.
Stand up to me.
I don't know what I'm talking about.
Don't buckle under just because Pfizer spent a fortune to say hello during American Idol.
Help me get better with the pharmacy items that you think work best.
Even if that means no prescription at all.
After all, we have to pay for all those TV cameras.
Unfortunately, you may be paying for those cameras with your health.
Let your doctor decide.
Francis Ford Coppola is a great director.
But he knows nothing about your glucose level.
Rely on the trained expert who does.
That sometimes wimpy person who is your doctor.
Tell him or her to man-up and ignore what you saw on TV.
You'll feel better in the end.
Merck and Astrazeneca are great companies.
I just want them to focus more on making the pills and less on pushing them.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Poop reveals character.
Yes, you read that right.
Poop reveals character.
Dog poop, that is.
You see, the pooper scooper laws are out there.
A legal requirement that you gather Fido's feces when you and your beloved beast tramp the neighborhood.
Problem is, how do you enforce this law?
It's not exactly a 911 emergency.
It also is unlikely that the local detective bureau is going to launch an investigation into alleged violations.
It's essentially an honor system.
That's why it reveals character.
You can probably ignore the aromatic load deposited during the collie's constitutional.
And you'd probably get away with it.
Truly an honor system.
Look, I know it's not easy.
I use those cheap plastic bags Giant Eagle pushes on us as substitutes for the old-fashioned paper bags.
Those old bags were so strong and durable that we used to use them as covers for school books.
Anyhow, I know it takes character because those cheap bags do have the occasional hidden hole.
Not fun discovering your blue plastic bag converted into an oven mitt for meadow muffins has broken its promise.
Broken its promise to keep canine ka-ka off your skin.
Oh well, like I said, it takes character.
I know a young man who specializes in the rarest of skills: the simulated scoop.
He walks the dog, blue bag in hand, clear for the world to see.
When terrier turds materialize, he bends over and scoops up air!
Observers think he is cleaning up.
What a good citizen.
What a terrific actor!
Next, I present an example of true nobility.
About 20 houses away, there is a home with a small trash can ever-present on the edge of the driveway, right by the sidewalk.
A sign attached invites dog walkers to deposit accumulated bags o' poop in the can.
I thank the Lord for people like that.
I bet Mother Teresa never provided such a service to humanity.
So you see, poop does reveal character.
What kind of character do you have?
If you're not sure, take the organic burglar alarm out for walk.
Soon you'll know just what kind of person you are.
Remember, God sees everything.
He knows the real scoop on poop.
Double bag it next time.
You and your fingernails will be glad you did.
And you will be a person of high moral character.
Don't be like the simulated scooper.
If you do as he does, you will one day face Saint Peter.
He will look at you sternly, holding his clipboard of eternity.
After an intense moment reviewing your life's actions, he will solemnly utter these five dreaded words.
YOU ARE IN DEEP DOO-DOO.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame wrote "Happiness is a warm puppy."
Schulz's alter ego, Charlie Brown, faced a lot of aggravations.
Lucy pulling away the football just as Charlie was about to kick a field goal.
Linus, Schroeder, Lucy, and Snoopy on the baseball diamond, determined to humiliate their manager.
Peppermint Patty once took the ball from Charlie Brown and ordered him to left field.
Especially if the little red-haired girl was watching.
The "happiness is a warm puppy" expression grows out of the realization that while we all face challenges, we should embrace the little joys of life when they present themselves.
For Charles Schulz, a warm puppy brought a smile even if just for a moment.
For you, maybe it's a good meal now and then.
How about that great feeling, half passed out on your recliner after a long day.
This one makes me happy: pants that fit.
Relish the small moments.
Which brings me to Ethan.
Ethan was born with a congenital heart defect.
He has spent more days in hospitals than out of them over the course of his young life.
Seen more of needles and nurses than ponies and paper airplanes.
Development stunted because his cardiac system can't move blood to the organs that crave it.
Ethan is shot up with steroids and travels by way of a wheelchair.
His frail body won't allow for walking these days.
The other day, Children's Hospital staff wheeled Ethan outside for his seventh birthday celebration.
Lots of children, laughing, running, dancing in the water sprinkler out in the sun.
And longingly wishes to feel the pulse of water on his skin.
Closer, he motions.
Closer to the water.
He wants to do what every kid wants to do when a sprinkler is spotted on a warm summer afternoon.
He wants to get in it.
Closer, nurse, closer.
Just inches away.
He struggles in the wheelchair.
Slowly extends his leg.
Stretches out his foot.
Then it happens.
Toe hits cool stream of water.
A big grin.
Then it ends.
Then it ends.
Too tired for more.
Return to the sterile universe of stainless steel, IVs, and hospital gowns.
But he remembers that moment.
And still today he talks about it.
And relives it in his mind.
And savors it.
And is happy because of it.
We've all got problems.
Some more than others.
But don't ignore the little morsels God gives you along way.
"Stop and smell the roses" means there are roses on your path you don't appreciate.
Your life is not as difficult as little Ethan's or even Charlie Brown's.
Yet they grab a little happiness where they can find it.
Charlie Brown looked at that decrepit remnant of a Scotch Pine and saw a beautiful Christmas tree.
Ethan got his toe soaked and beamed.
If you look carefully enough, you'll come across the warm puppies in your life.
Or maybe even a wet toe.
Just ask Ethan.