“Side effects may include…”

Have you ever noticed that more often than not, the side effects for a particular drug are worse than the actual condition they’re trying to fix?

Take arthritis pills, for example. Let’s say it cures your arthritis completely, but then puts you at risk of having dizziness, nausea, kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, a stroke, a heart attack, blood clots, and a 21.4% chance of death.

At least you won’t have arthritis anymore, right?

My example’s a little extreme, but still, there comes a point when I’d rather have my original ailment than all the horrible side effects that may or may not occur.

(And here’s a side note to drug developers–I really appreciate all the work you’re doing to make life better for everyone, but please, if the side effects are going to be worse than the actual condition you’re trying to cure, perhaps you could spend a little more time researching? I mean, your commercials sound a little silly when you go on and on and on about all the ways I could die from using your product, but you gloss over them like they’re just a little case of the hiccups. Gambling with money is one thing, but I’d rather not gamble with my life, thank you very much.)

The reason I bring this up is because I’m currently taking antibiotics. And in case the first little bit there didn’t tip you off, I’m absolutely terrified of taking drugs. Antibiotics, painkillers, even cough syrup–I have an adamant hatred of them and refuse to take them whenever possible. I think it’s the fear of a loss of control that makes me hate them so much–I don’t like the idea of some foreign substance doing potentially bad things to my body that I can’t stop. (This is why I’ll likely never get drunk or high. Hey, at least my fears have my best interests in mind.)

This time, though, I had no choice but to take drugs. You see, both of my big toes are infected. Lovely, yes? The first one got infected two weeks ago, and the second one maybe one week ago. That’s about when track & field season got into full swing, and me practising for the first time this year in my running shoes apparently irritated my toes and they got infected. That’s not unusual, since I’ve got borderline ingrown toenails, but this time the infection wouldn’t go away.

Then add on top of that the fact that when I was sick near the middle of March, I pulled a muscle along my ribs from coughing so much. It healed up for a couple weeks, but then when track season started I sort of pulled it again, and then after that I sneezed while sitting down all hunched over, which felt like someone kicking me in the chest with steel-toed boots. My ribs were then excruciatingly painful when I tried to run or sneeze or laugh (isn’t that sad?), and I had to buy Rub A535, and between my sore ribs and my infected toes, I thought for sure my track & field season was over.

Because a side effect of having a condition is worrying too much about it and blowing it out of proportion.

Anyways, I went to the doctor to get my toes checked out, and she prescribed antibiotics for me. At first, I was just thankful I didn’t have to get my toes amputated–although I did have a backup plan in case that happened:

However, when I then realized that I actually had to take pills, as in drugs, as in the things that I fear, I was none too pleased. Because even antibiotics have side effects, and I’d rather have my toes chopped off than diarrhea. Not that I’ve ever had my toes chopped off, but I’m sure it’s better than diarrhea.

But my mom gave me some probiotics, the very opposite of antibiotics, which should help keep my intestines happy. This isn’t particularly great either, since probiotics are still pills, as in drugs, as in the things that I fear. And probiotics are lovely ginormous capsules with gelatin coatings that look a lot like plastic, and I don’t want to eat plastic, thanks, and so probiotics are terrifying pills to swallow and I hate them too.

At least they don’t taste like dirt, like the antibiotics do, and I have to take the antibiotics four times a day, hooray! I mean seriously though, it’s like a bunch of chemists decided they were going to make antibiotics, so they went out behind the lab, grabbed a handful of dirt, packed them into pills and labelled them antibiotics. In fact, that’s exactly how they did it. I would know–I’m a chemist, and I know what I’m talking about. (Sorry chemists, but you’ve given me dirt pills, so I’m a little bitter.)

Why dirt? Why does it have to taste like dirt?

But now that you’ve endured all my griping about these horrible pills I have to take (you should get an award or something) here’s the moral of this post: sometimes you really have to suck it up.

I tried for quite a while to figure out how I could make this okay, how I could make taking drugs not as scary or bad–make it into some kind of magical pony adventure, maybe–but I was stumped. No Phineas and Ferb to save me here, sadly. The fact was, I was just going to have to suck it up, take my pills, and get through the ten days till my prescription ran out.

It brings to mind a phrase I’m fond of: just soldier on through it.

If I want to be a warrior, then I’m going to have to learn that sometimes there are fights where I’m not allowed any shortcuts or advantages. I just have to soldier on through it till I’ve reached the other side. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, after all, and thankfully death isn’t a side effect of antibiotics.

I’ve had a common theme going these past few posts about laughing through tough times (Jennifer knows what I’m talking about ;) ), and yeah, I had a few exasperated laughs, as you can see throughout this story. But I can’t completely laugh my way out of this one, not this time. I guess I just need to make sure the side effects don’t get the best of me and I don’t blow this whole ordeal out of proportion.

Because in seven days, all my pills will be gone and I’ll have come out of it alive and stronger (and hopefully without infected toes.)

Seven days.

On the bright side, though, my ribs are feeling much better!

When have you needed to soldier on through something?

May you heal all your ailments–but without the nasty side  effects.

-Alex

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10 thoughts on ““Side effects may include…”

  1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your infected toes and pulled muscle pain! Not fun. I know where you’re coming from with hating drugs, though: I refuse to take them whenever possible, too. Not for exactly the same reasons as you, but the outcome is the same nonetheless.

    Had I never been to America, I would have no idea what you were talking about regarding adverts, but since I HAVE been to America, I thankfully know what you’re talking about :P The drug adverts were, quite frankly, hilarious. I was crying with laughter when I first saw one (in fact, I found myself laughing at 90% of America’s TV adverts. What are they?!). I had never seen anything like it. They properly reel off the side effects at lightning speed, and then casually throw in ‘DEATH’ at the end. We do not have any drug adverts in the UK. I think it’s illegal, actually, to advertise drugs – most definitely prescription drugs. That’s probably something to do with the fact we have an NHS as opposed to health insurance. So, given such adverts exist, I can so understand where fear may stem from! It’s ridiculous.

    Indeed, with the laughing through tough times, there are definitely moments when you just cannot laugh anymore, no matter how much you may like to. Sorry to hear such a time is on you. You do just have to suck it up! I know you can do it ;) We Brits are, of course, famous for our ability to do such a thing. “Stiff upper lip, old chap!” Not to say you are a chap, but you get the idea :P Keep calm and carry on, dear! You’ll be right as rain in no time :)

    • Oh wow, that’s so strange to think you don’t have drug ads! You must’ve had quite a treat in American then :P Really, all drug ads should be illegal, even down here. I hate to think how many people mistakenly sign up for drugs they think they need without understanding all the implications, just because they saw it on TV. Yeah, that’s probably where my fear stems from!

      Hehe, every time I hear “stiff upper lip” I think I should go walking around with my nose up in the air and a big bushy moustache. I should’ve got myself a moustache to go with my prescription! But hey, I’m done my prescription now, so let the laughing commence! Literally, actually–two of my best friends came over a few days ago (bearing chocolate, bless them!) and I laughed harder then than I have in quite a while. Gotta love friends :)

      • Haha, oh, a treat it was! ;) My face was a permanent mixture of incredulity and amusement every time I watched TV – which, given I was living in a house for two weeks, happened pretty much every evening. Apart from the night we watched Wreck-It Ralph during a massive thunderstorm storm. That was fun. But at least it was a break from American television/adverts!

        I agree, though: when you put it like that, all drug adverts should be illegal! At least it’s nice to know we’ve got something right over here ;)

        Hahaha, that’s pretty much how British people think of it, too! It’s always funny when we (and when I say ‘we’, I mean Britons taking the mick out of themselves) put on that posh accent and mannerisms. “Good show, old boy!” “Well, I say!” Nothing quite like English gentility ;)
        Aw, glad the horror is all over and done with, though! And glad to know you survived the ordeal :P That sounds lovely :) Gotta love friends indeed. Always there to lift your spirits and have a good laugh!

        • Man, I’d loved to see what your TV is like. I’ve gotten so used to American-style television, but I have a sneaking suspicion I would find it quite ridiculous if I had any outside perspective. Actually, I already find so much of it ridiculous… *cough cough* infomercials *cough cough*.

          I can just imagine a bunch of Brits imitating Brits! Gotta love how silly some stereotypes are. But it’s always good to be able to laugh at yourself and have a little fun with it, lest trivial rumours be blown out of proportion like just about everything else these days. :)

          Ah yes, I survived by the skin of my teeth, but survive I did! In hindsight (curse you, hindsight, for making me look so foolish!) I can see it really wasn’t that big a deal, but I suppose that’s a lesson learned for next time. Maybe now I won’t be so afraid of drugs… well, that one particular brand of antibiotics anyways :P

          • It wouldn’t surprise me if Americans said our television was boring. But to be honest, I could see where they’d be coming from, if comparing it with theirs. Our TV is just so…. British haha. There really is no other way of putting it. Our TV is very slow compared to American TV.. American adverts kind of went so quickly I could barely comprehend them, but our adverts are nice and ploddy, and you can really take them in. Not that you really want to take adverts in. But this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4tFzuFGUOI <- That was the best advert ever when it was on! It won as the nation's favourite advert (because apparently we vote on such things :| )

            Ha, yeah, the best way to go is just laugh at the stereotypes! Too much grief comes if you take things too seriously.

            Haha, well I am glad! Oohhh, the dreaded hindsight. Well, we've all got to learn and grow and develop; maybe that turned out to be a big step for you :)

          • Haha well sometimes slow is good! I swear, all the brands that go by on the TV everyday–I have no idea what’s what sometimes. That’s a really cool ad! All for a loaf of bread, my goodness :P Certainly shows how times have changed though. I like the pirate kid, hehe.

            Ahhh yeah, perhaps it was a big step. Hopefully I’ll be better equipped next time around!

          • All for a loaf of bread indeed! :P I like how we’re slower in this country, though, because as you say: slow can be good. The world goes too fast these days anyway! I often feel like I’m constantly pulling the reins back on a forward horse… Don’t you? I want to slow down, but sometimes society just won’t give us that opportunity.

          • Mm, yes! Too much to do all the time. Honestly, to just go one day, one little day, without looking at a clock and being concerned what time it is would be lovely.

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