Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pass The Cheese And Quackers

Medical specialists may seem like dull people, with their narrow focus and all, but they have fun at parties. I know this now.

Let me back up. I've had a long-standing policy of avoiding non-recreational drugs. I'll step into a small nest of antibiotics if they're called for, but I think the prescription drug business is a racket and a trap, especially the older you get. No one ever seems to get off of their meds, and instead they get more and more of them, and the meds start playing with each other and not with you, until all you are is a hollow host for pharmaceuticals. A lot of older people I know are having more trouble with their drugs than they are with whatever they're supposed to be treating. I don't want to jump on that train.

Which is all well and good, inasmuch as nothing really bad ever happens to me. It's been an easy policy to carry out, so far. And yet, out of sheer irritability, I got myself on a drug. I went in to the Ear Nose and Throat guy because of my chronically clogged crustacean tubes and he looked in my ears and up my nose and down my throat, because that's pretty much his whole sad life, right there. And he declared my hearing perfect and my crustacean tubes open on both ends.

"But they're not," I insisted. "Particularly the left one. In fact, the only time it's opened up in the last eight months has been when I've been on an airplane." I'm aware this is completely backwards, but there you go. People have been known to drive their babies around to get them to sleep; I'm wondering how long I can be allowed to stay at 30,000 feet, because it's like a little slice of heaven up there.

"Well," he said, "if it's even a tiny bit clogged, it can feel uncomfortable, I suppose," he said, thickly implying that I have inserted an imaginary bean in the middle of perfectly serviceable crustacean tubes that are obviously open on both ends. "Tell you what," he went on. "We can put you on Flonase. Sometimes that will clear things up. But I have to warn you: too many times people give up on it too early. You have to take it for at least two months before it takes effect."

Flonase. Great. A liquid you shoot up your nose. I've spent decades trying to keep liquids out of my nose. But I was irritated that this doctor thought I had a fantasy ailment, and yet had a treatment for it. I'd had my heart set on relief; I gave it a go. I was given six months' worth of nose juice. What could go wrong?

The pamphlet was helpful. Do not take Flonase if you're allergic to Flonase. Avoid people who are sick or have infections. Avoid spraying in eyes. Close one nostril; carefully insert applicator into the other nostril. Oh! The other nostril. Check.

Three months in, I've noticed no change in my condition whatsoever. A drug with 120 doses in one tiny bottle doesn't seem like it could be too dangerous, but I decided to look it up online.

Well hey!  You can overdose on the stuff. Evidently you can go blind,  your bones can shatter, and you might develop "fullness of face, neck, and trunk, increased facial hair, and a lack of menstrual periods." All of which describe me to a tee. Also, it's for congestion, sneezing, runny nose, or itchy or watery eyes due to allergies. None of which I have. This is nuts. I must stop taking this shit now.

But he did say it takes a long time before I'll see any effect. I'd hate for the first three months to be wasted. Maybe I'll give it another few weeks.

The doctor is yukking it up at the Medical Specialist parties. "Did it again," he's saying. "I got one to spray shit up her nose for no reason whatsoever. And get this," he pauses to dab his eyes, "I told her she wouldn't notice anything for at least two months," and the rest of the guests guffaw and splutter into the cheese plate. Glasses clink all around. The pharmaceutical rep has to cross his legs, he's so overcome.  Only the proctologists are having more fun.

38 comments:

  1. Oh, god... you have described my feelings about doctors and the pharmaceutical industry to a T. Western medicine is great for treating trauma. Chronic things... not so much. I have medical insurance now because I will be fined if I don't. But use it? Non. It doesn't cover alternative medicine, so it it not of much use to me. You might want to try candling for your ears. If it's some sort of clog, that can safely get it out. I once had a clog in my ear that lasted for several months. It made a crackling noise sometimes if I moved my head in a certain way, and noises seemed way louder than usual. I did nothing whatever about it. One day as I was napping, I felt something solid in my ear canal. I reached in with my little finger... and pulled out a huge bolus of wax. Probably TMI. My main fear in going to a doctor is that he will run all sorts of unnecessary and expensive tests, and then prescribe some drug with horrible side effects, like liver damage. He may blithely say "Oh... and don't drink alcohol while on these...." on his way out the door. Yeah, right.

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    1. Quel horreur! No, I don't have any ear wax problems. Everything is just gorgeous in there. I think I wrote about ear candles once. Or maybe that was Dave Barry--I get us mixed up.

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    2. You're the one with the tits. Oh, wait... he probably has them now, too...

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  2. You asked what was wrong with my nose, with the 3 ER visit-nosebleed and all: Nasal steroid spray use. My pharmacy was out of Nasonex, switched me to an over-the-counter type, and that resulted in the scary bleed. Is Flonase a steroid? If so, caution advised. But I'm not a dr. and I don't play one anyplace.

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    1. Aaaaggggh! YES it is a corticosteroid, and I quit using the stuff the day after I wrote this. Flonase is now over-the-counter but they wrote me a prescription for it because it would be cheaper (at Kaiser), which is weird.

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    2. I've tried a nasal spray for my hayfever, it worked fantastically, but on day three I had such a nosebleed my bathroom looked like a crime scene. Tossed it and stayed on the pills instead.

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    3. And I don't have allergies. Done with the stuff!

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    4. A bathroom that looks like a crime scene? Exactly. And the ER nurse looked at me, and at the blood, and asked if I feel safe at home. Yup, as long as I don't use nasal steroids.

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    5. Yeah, the Kaiser people always ask if we feel safe at home. They even asked Dave once and I was standing right there and he looked at me and trembled and nodded yes. They burst out laughing.

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  3. You are a modern-day Erma Bombeck, I'm sure you've heard that. And if you didn't have little problems like plugged crusties, what would there be to laugh about? Seriously, get better.

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    1. I've just decided I'm all the better I'm going to be. If my doctor thinks I can hear fine, I guess I can hear fine.

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  4. Sigh. I do take medications. And some of them I will have to keep taking for life. I take less than many people, and more than I am comfortable with.

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    1. I don't have much doubt I'll cave in a nanosecond if I have something serious to treat. My current vows have not really been tested at all.

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  5. It's just so easy to reach for the prescription pad...

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    1. You're right. Fortunately I have one of my own. I can only fill them outdoors, in the woods and such.

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  6. Tain't funny. People get addicted to that shit. No shit. What is wrong with that guy? "Take it for 6 months."!!???

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    1. Really? What's pleasurable about SQUIRTING LIQUIDS UP YOUR NOSE?

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    2. Because their nose gets clogged up without it.

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    3. That's not true about corticosteriods, prescription or OTC. What people get hooked on are the old nasal decongestants that are still readily available.

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    4. Well, gimme some of those. They sound like more fun.

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  7. Did you ever think that maybe you're just starting to get older? Notice I didn't say "old". I don't want you coming through my computer screen at me.

    Recently I've developed several medical issues and my dental issues have taken a noticeable turn for the worse. One day I realized, hey maybe I'm never going to get any better than I am right now; what's more, I'll likely get worse. That was not a good day.

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    1. I basically think of myself as mildly old, but feeling pretty dang good anyway. It's just math for me. It doesn't bother me.

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  8. Lucky you, to be able to be so cavalier about taking pills. If not for my meds, I'd have died of a heart arrhythmia a long time ago. And no, I'm not going to stop taking them, thankyouverymuch.

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  9. You got a huge wheeze out of me with "All of which describe me to a tee." Still laughing. I've taken Flonase. Sometimes it worked. Now, everybody repeat after me: A blog is a personal journal. It is not meant to be universal, nor is it a mission statement, nor is its content to be used as a directive for anyone other than the writer. Love you Murrebaby. You make me laugh.

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  10. He did say two months and you've given it three, so I'd say stop, since you haven't noticed any improvement. Maybe the improvement happens when you stop. Perhaps the problem is in your sinuses not in the tubes?
    I don't take many prescription medication, even my hayfever pills are OTC. Only my asthma inhalers are prescription.

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    1. This stuff is now OTC anyway, but I stopped. The dude was totally punting. He couldn't help me and said "well try this." My sinuses have never given me an ounce of trouble. I got off a plane with some kind of crud two years ago and it whanged out my crustacean tubes for three weeks; then last winter when I got the flu they went south yet again, only worse. I think they're now a weak point for me, but they're not too bad. It's just that I aim for perfection, of course!

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    2. This is why it is called "the practice of medicine."

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  11. So, how much more time do you think you have on this side of the dirt? If alcohol is a good preservative we all might just last a while longer.

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    1. I'm going for thirty more with an option on an extra ten. I will be completely dotty well before then.

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  12. Oh, gasp, snort-- help me. Beautiful and I are cracking up out here in the hinterlands.

    But even so we are sorry you are having a crustacean issue.

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    1. Hey. If the good doctor says I can hear, I can hear. Problem solved. Now everybody quit mumbling.

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  13. ...and quit taking this drug if you have suicidal thoughts...

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