Sunday, June 2, 2019

In Defense of Medication

A few weeks back I was driving down the road when some words leapt off a sign and punched me in the face.

Taking meds to make you healthy is like getting a loan to make you rich. 

I just about ran off the road in a mad rage with steam puffing out my ears and my eyes all Cruella DeVille-like. I am so so SO freaking sick of the idea that medication is not only unnecessary, it is downright bad.

This isn't the first time I've encountered this ideology. I once saw a meme that basically gave you the option: a basket full of fresh, healthy produce or a spoon full of pills. As if a it is an either/or proposition. As if eating your fruits and veggies will mean you don't need to swallow those evil pills pushed on you by Big Pharma and the corollary being that if you need to take those pills, you obviously aren't doing it right. People, this has got to stop.

While it is true that eating in a healthy manner and getting regular exercise can reduce your risk of a number of illnesses and while it is true that many people, in changing over to a healthier lifestyle, have been able to reduce or eliminate their need for certain medications, it is also true that there are so very many conditions out there that are NOT impacted by the food you eat because there are so many other factors at play. And to those who have these conditions,  this anti-medication bias is discouraging and downright cruel.

While others out there may brag that they don't take any medication for anything or that their Grandpa Carbunkel is 87 and still isn't on any meds, as if it is some sort of a professional accomplishment or test of his character, there are a lot of us....a LOT of us, who take daily medication. And for many of us, taking medication isn't because we refuse to give up our Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls or our 3 packs per day of Marlboro Lights or our PBR 12-pack. Many of us take medication because our conditions are not in any way related to our food or exercise choices. We take medication because we struggle with faulty wiring, intense pain, hormonal imbalances, a crappy set of genes.

Nobody relishes the idea of having to take medication on daily basis. But many of us do so because that medication makes a huge difference in quality of life, in the ability to function at our jobs and love our families and do the things we love. For some of us, that medication means that we will be able to stave off the debilitating effects of disease for years longer. And for some of us, that medication means the difference between life and death.

Please be gentle then, you who have stellar bodies and naturally mentally healthy minds. Please use restraint, you who believe that your herbal remedy or special diet is the right potion for everyone. Please respect that some of us (and I say us because I am one of us) need medication for reasons you might not understand. Please trust that we are not lazy or stupid or easily duped by some corporation but that we make informed decisions based on benefits and risks.

And please stop with the pithy sayings. And, for the record, sometimes taking out a loan to build wealth is a wise thing to do.

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