Just a Thought – Down on the Pharma

As I left the Emergency Room, I was almost laughing – I had a prescription for my hypertension, another prescription to medicate the side effects of the first prescription, and a third prescription for everyone’s favorite painkillers. Big Pharma overdoes it again.

It wasn’t that I suddenly got sick; it was that I realized I’d been sick for a long time, and I was now at the crisis point. I’ve had problems with high blood pressure off and on through my adult life, but I thought I had put them behind me. Yoga takes care of all of it; ten years symptom free. I have a condition that I have so controlled I forget that I have it. Not having any health insurance is also a great way to stay out of the doctor’s office. But I noticed that the headaches- they were blood pressure kind of headaches. The exhaustion  ( well – that’s just not like me, I can carry on through anything – ) was becoming intimidating. It wasn’t until my eyes were really bothering me that I had to admit; it must be my blood pressure.

It’s the ongoing cycle of problems with these drugs. I went in suffering from headache and dizziness. The pills warn me they “May cause headaches and dizziness.” Ok, so what did I come in here for?  The exhaustion I’ve been struggling with? “This medication may cause you to feel tired or depressed while you adjust to the dosage.” Wow. What fun. My absolute favorite; “If dizziness occurs, drive carefully.”

I’m only taking the pills because the option of having another stroke or a heart attack is even more unappealing. It’s only because of the Affordable Care Act that I can honestly place the word ‘another’ in front of ‘stroke’ now that pre-existing conditions don’t leave the door closed to help.

A little brush with mortality can be wonderfully humbling.

I hate drugs. On the other hand, the fact that I can get a bottle of pills to change my blood chemistry is pretty darned awesome. Up until the the late 70’s this condition would have been a surgical intervention, where the doctors would try to remove some of the nerves from the kidneys and hope they were getting the right ones, but it was pretty potluck. You might come back from surgery unable to sweat, and that will kill you faster than a heart attack or a stroke.

So, while I’m waiting to ‘adjust to the dosage’ I have less energy than a dusty AAA battery, and I’m having memories of all the bed-rest I had to deal with because of my high blood pressure during pregnancy. This time, there’s no delivery date on the calendar when I know I’m going to get back to normal. There will have to be a new normal. I’ll find out what that’s like when I get there.

I only filled the one prescription. The side effects are awful, but they will pass, and I hate pills. I hate the drug companies, I hate the advertising, I hate the pamphlet that comes with every prescription telling you not just what kind of help you are getting in these little white lozenges, but what other kinds of new symptoms to expect.

Still, I love being alive, so I’m going to take them. For now.


The Actors' Gang

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