More Jackson County Opinions...

OCTOBER 6, 2004


Column

By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 6, 2004

Enough to make a body sick
May I please make another comment or two about the September 15th “Road to Freedom” band story in The Herald? Thank you.
Second paragraph: “Many of us have been distressed lately over the lack of patriotism in our country. After 9-11, flags were flying high and everyone seemed to be cheering for the red, white and blue. This enthusiasm was short-lived and we wanted to do something to help bring it back.”
(Thanks, members of the band. We needed that. And you did help those who, with some difficulty, were watching, listening and paying attention. Unfortunately, many in the crowd at the Habersham County game on September 10, the eve of 9-11, were interested in other things: yelling to neighbors, talking and laughing loudly, running around, talking on cell phones, etc. Hundreds, mostly young people, were not there for the ball game or the band. They spent game time and halftime back of the stands — partying.)
Fifth paragraph: “There are several points in the show where the music is quiet, almost reverent. It’s difficult to pull that off at a Friday night football game.’
(Apparently, it’s easier to pull it off in some stadiums than it is in others.)
“At Madison County High School, many people in the audience stood up and put their hand over their hearts when we played America the Beautiful.”
(At Jackson County High School, at least two people did that.)
“If we can have that kind of impact on just a few people this fall, the program will have been a success.”
(That’s what I call optimism.)
“We’re proud of our students for doing their part to recognize the men and women who have served their country over the years and given us the freedom we enjoy today.”
(A lot of veterans, young and old, and the many men and women currently serving in the Military are proud of you, too. And we thank you.)
Sixth paragraph, this quote from Adlai Stevenson: “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”
(Halftime is over. Let’s change ends of the field.)
* * *
Am I the only one bothered by all of the drug ads on television? It is hard to be tranquil and steady after watching one. In fact, if you pay close attention, you’ll never want to take another pill as long as you live. Not even if your life depended on it.
As you know, there are now drugs that cure in-growing toenails and falling hair and everything in between.
The first part of the message is very upbeat, attractive, positive and encouraging. But before the ad is over, you have to go to the bathroom. And so you miss the downside.
Next time, try to stay ‘til the bitter end and listen to all the side effects. While the drug is curing your in-growing toenail and falling hair, it is causing internal bleeding, liver damage, constipation, loss of memory, dizziness and hallucinations. It’s enough to make a body sick.
You missed all of that in the fine print, and so you rush right out to buy a bottle of the miracle potion. Only the pharmacist says you can’t buy it. “Talk to your doctor,” he says.
The TV ad told you the same thing. “Talk to your doctor.”
So you talk to your doctor. You tell him you saw this ad for Xaruxificemin (where do they come up with all those names?) on TV and you’ve got to have some.
You are so bombarded with healthcare information that you know everything, and so you tell the doctor what’s wrong and what you need. It used to be the other way around. I’m afraid some physicians are also influenced by television — and by your vast medical knowledge.
And so he writes you a prescription for Xaruxificemin.
You take the prescription back to the drugstore, and when you learn how much it costs, you get really sick. One reason medicines are so expensive these days is because somebody has to pay for all those TV ads. Guess who that somebody is.
Drug manufacturers and advertising agencies are getting richer, you are getting poorer, your in-growing toenail ain’t getting any better, and you need something for the side effects.
Not to worry. You may be sick, and broke, but you are keeping the economy healthy.
I wish I could be like my old neighbor down the street. We are alike in one way; both of us are as old as dirt. The difference is, he has never taken a pill in his life. That’s what he says. He also says he and Hortense have been married 63 years and have never had a cross word.
I think he is a hypochondriacal prevaricator.
Speaking of hypochondriacs, I heard about one who died the other day at age 101. He spent most of his life telling his wife, kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors, doctors and nurses how sick he was. To hear him tell it, he had in-growing toenails and falling hair and suffered side effects of all the drugs he was taking. After 75 or 80 years of this, nobody believed him.
He did one thing before he passed away. He made arrangements for his grave marker. After it was erected, people went by to pay their respects and to read the inscription on the stone:
“See, I told you I was sick.”
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column

By: Susan Harper
The Commerce News
October 6, 2004

A Prescription For What Ails Us
I just hated to see Luther Beck retire from Commerce Drugs – selfishly, I mean. If he’s happy, working among his daylilies and doing projects around the house that he never could get to before, I know I have to be glad for him. Plus, he has wonderfully capable successors, so I still take my prescriptions in with total confidence; I just ask Carolyn all my questions now instead of Luther. Still, we can’t let him go out into the daylily fields without a salute, can we?
Pharmacy is one of the great healing arts, and Luther behind that counter had the gift, I think. For one thing, he could make you feel better just by smiling at you with that twinkle in his eye. For another thing, both of his eyes held something else: understanding or compassion, or both, maybe, untainted by pity. If you came in with a prescription for an ailing child or spouse or parent, he still smiled, but his whole face said that he had stood where you were standing, and that he was with you.
I never had to do any explaining with Luther. It was as if he lived next door and already knew. “You’re my pharmacy guru,” I said to him once, and I didn’t have to explain that, either; he laughed and told me who his was.
We all need one. Prescription medication is the third leading cause of death in the United States. We Americans frequently take drugs we don’t need. We take drugs that may be fine on their own but are toxic when combined. Or we take drugs to which we’re allergic.
We also take drugs for which we’re guinea pigs. If you’re one of the two million people who took prescription Vioxx until last week, when it was yanked off the market, you are probably aware that after years of lucrative sales, Vioxx was “suddenly” discovered to double your risk of heart attack or stroke after 18 months. So how come it took us four times that long to find this out? Hmmmm. Could it be because the Federal Drug Administration, formerly a watchdog agency, is now largely funded by the very industry it’s supposed to be watching?
A new book, “Death by Prescription,” reviews this scary scene and says that pharmacists are more crucial than ever, “a critical link in the chain of protection.” Author Ray Strand, M.D. advises us to go consistently to the same pharmacy, and to look to our pharmacist as our “main source of information regarding the side effects and potential dangers of medications.”
And we’ve been getting all of that plus a warm and comforting smile – which is about as good as it gets, don’t you think? So I guess I have to say, Thanks for all those truly great years, Luther! And here’s my last guru question: How the heck did you manage to leave Commerce Drugs without a party!
Susan Harper is director of the Commerce Public Library.


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