For What It’s Worth

Ask my doctor. Really?

My apologies for getting your attention and then turning away, but an apparently urgent drug commercial has flashed onto the screen on my TV and I feel compelled to watch.

Wow! Some guy wearing a white lab coat is talking. He must be a doctor. I mean, who but a doctor wears a white lab coat to make a commercial? Not likely that he’s a researcher. He’s not in a lab, and there’s no microscope, vials of liquid, or petri dish in sight.

“Yes, Cureitall is the answer. You may be suffering frequent or intense pain, but relief can be yours. Cureitall is a prescription medicine that will take care of the problem. Experience relief today. One Cureitall tablet taken once a day, if taken at precisely midnight, will bring 24-hour relief.

“While Cureitall may be right for most people, it may not be right for you if you are pregnant, wish you were pregnant, or someday may become pregnant, or if you wish your wife were pregnant, or you hope she someday will be pregnant. Cureitall is not advised if you have hair and don’t wish to become bald, if you are prone to a rise in blood pressure when the Dallas Cowboys score a touchdown, if your kidneys, liver, spleen and thyroid are functioning correctly, if your thighbone connects to your hipbone, or if you have false teeth.

“When taking Cureitall, watch for any side effects and report them to your doctor immediately. Possible side effects include nausea, insomnia, kidney failure, heart palpitations, unexplained pain in back, shoulders, hips, legs, arms or feet; a compulsion to talk constantly, flu-like symptoms, hot flashes, cranky disposition, sudden fits of anger, intense itching behind your knee joint or other hard-to-reach places, growth of cuticles, hangnails, and ingrown toenails. Some fatal reactions have occurred.

“Why wait another day to seek relief? Cureitall is available now. Relief can be yours.

“So, ask your doctor if Cureitall is right for you.”

I know this will come as a surprise and shock to the drug companies, but despite being bombarded by drug commercials on TV, I have never, not even once, dashed to the phone after a drug commercial and called my doctor to make an appointment so I could ask him about the drug being advertised. Actually, my usual reaction is fear—fear that a doctor would prescribe that drug for me. With all the potential reactions, frequently including the possibility of the reaction being fatal, I am scared of taking the drug.

Pardon me, I should not have allowed myself to be drug away from you to watch that drug commercial. However, it certainly sounded like it would take care of whatever ails me, didn’t it?

The truth is I think I got a hint of what ails me earlier this year when my family doctor, whom I really like and appreciate, noted that we (I suppose he means himself and me, unless he had a mouse in his pocket at the time) needed to keep an eye on some things because, I think his words were, “Harry, you are 75.” That was a kind and subtle way of saying, “You’re getting old.” At least, it is clear that I have crossed some kind of demarcation line.

Last I checked there is no cure for old age. Not even one of those commercials is for a drug claiming to cure old age.

When I caught your attention, I was going to write about something specific I had in mind. But, I got distracted and now I don’t remember what it was. That, unfortunately, is a sure sign of a senior moment. Since I don’t remember, I guess I’ll go watch TV for a while and check out the drug commercials. Surely, there will be one for a drug that cures senior moments without too many serious side effects. Then, I can do as the guy in the white lab coat says, and go ask my doctor about the drug.

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