I’m sick. Again.
So, I’ve been watching a lot of TV, a lot more TV than I usually watch too much of, sitting on my bed, growing mold, coughing up phlegm, blood, the dry heaves, not showering, feeling shitty in my head, noticing the varicose veins enlarging on my thunder thighs, y’know, the usual I’m-sick-with-another-fucking-cold-and-I-hate-this-diseased-planet song and dance.
In the midst of channel surfing, I noticed a preponderance of commercials pushing pills. Pills to help you sleep. Pills to relieve your allergies. Pills to get it up and keep it up, for women too now. Pills to replace your social anxiety with self-acceptance. Pills to lower carbs, lose weight and look like Anna Nicole, post-“Anna Nicole.” Pills to control your ADD. Pills to lift your depression. Pills to end your IBS-C.
Pills to do just about everything except wipe your own ass after a particularly nightmarish bout with stomach flu. Yeah, that’s gettin’ around, again, too. I’ll probably contract that when this cold bug’s done with me in about two more weeks. Then, I can regale all you loyal readers—all five of you—on my bathroom breaks every two minutes until my two hemorrhoids have burst their blood vessels all over the toilet, on the floor, on the carpet leading downstairs, in a 10-ft. deep puddle by the driveway.
Now, I’m sure people really need these pills to survive these stressful times. I’ve heard from many such people, swearing by their pills, and more importantly, by their physiologically-based symptoms. “Social anxiety is real,” one person wrote me several months ago. I’ll call her Anne. “It’s not about us being shy and using a pill to get high and get over it. This affliction prevents us from functioning on a basic level, such as leaving the house to even pick up the mail.”
Another person wrote me in reference to a column I wrote ranting against Splenda, the no-sugar alternative. Susan, I’ll call her, gently explained the severity of the symptoms that cause her and her loved ones to turn to this sugar substitute, currently being touted in every other soap opera break on TV with chubby rosy faced little girls eating pink cupcakes. “It’s not just for dieters. My son has diabetes. Without a product like Splenda on the market, he’d feel so deprived of the kinds of desserts and treats other kids enjoy. It’s about quality of life.”
Quality of life concerned our parents and grandparents, theirs and the ancestors before them. What did they do? Do without? Self-medicate with liquor, tobacco, worse? Was the lack of available improvements in medicine their precursor to the kinds of bizarre, specific, splintered addictions we hear and read about today?
Back when I was running around, a snot-nosed tomboy in third grade, I’d never known about Gambler’s Anonymous, nymphomania, shopaholics or OCD. The closest to dysfunction was next door, with Ronnie, a little boy three years younger who had to take these funny pills in the see-through orange plastic bottles because he was hyperactive. To me, hyperactive meant the spoiled brat just mouthed off too much and nobody really liked him pestering us to let him join our kickball game.
Now that the availability of a variety of technologically advanced man-made substances have increased by leaps and bounds, does that make our quality of life worthy enough? Yet?
Or, does that create more untold, unknown addictions and problems for our children and their children later on, as I hinted earlier?
Take this cold even. When my husband Eddie finally caved and went to the walk-in clinic out of worry that his symptoms still haven’t elapsed after three weeks, the doctor gave him a cursory exam, pronounced him cured of the cold but afflicted with a resulting sinus infection. Take this pill for the congestion during the day and this other pill as an antibiotic for the infection, for about three more weeks.
I can probably predict with a fair amount of accuracy the prognosis and diagnosis of every single ailment about to hit every single human being on this planet: Take a pill.
Science fiction entices us all with the quick-fix of a little blue pill, designed to cure us, fix us and titillate us with the unending orgasm we require to survive this damned of a curse of a life.
Makes me wonder just how much rougher my parents had it, how they managed to raise us without the stricter government regulations in place AND keep their sanity.
And maybe forgive them their minor habitual failings, a few drinks too many one cocktail hour, chain smoking, jerking off between the pages of “Hustler” between one-hour craps...
Not so bad considering the alternative.
I wouldn’t mind trying a few myself, I’m only human, with way too many failings of my own. A pill to give me 20/20 vision, cure me of my IBS-D, restore my gall bladder, erase my scars and my C-section flap, fix my teeth and keep them white, help me lose weight without fearing that my stomach will eat itself if I don’t eat substantial three meals a day, a personality transplant would be nice, maybe more Pollyanna-ish, a cross between GH’s ex-Chloe and ex-Brenda, the bravado of Jason and the wit of a Dillon.
The diet, especially, would benefit from a cure-all pill. The major problem in my losing and keeping weight off is that my body, for some reason, maybe it’s the lack of a gall bladder, I don’t know, my body just cannot subsist well on a high-protein, low-carb diet, Atkins or otherwise, or on a fast, or eating a lot less. I have to eat a big breakfast, a legitimate lunch and a hearty dinner, or truly, I’m in the bathroom gagging and shitting my insides out.
I can’t even take the IVs in the hospital after major surgery. Everybody else can lie there on the drips, happy as pie with more pain pills, attached to a catheter. Not me. My stomach rebels and I am in abject physical agony about to lose my mind if I don’t get something solid in my system and if I don’t pull this fucking catheter out of my urethra so I can run to the bathroom to piss for five minutes and shit pure liquid. And I’ll be sitting there for two days, folded over myself on the toilet.
True story: “You’ll probably have a hard time urinating after we remove this catheter, since you haven’t gone on your own for three days. If you need help, turn on the faucet or ring for a nurse.” I looked at the nurse at hand, trying not to laugh in her face as she reached over to help me up and to the bathroom. As soon as my ass hit the toilet, a strong stream of piss flooded out of me, and several pounds of shit too. “I won’t need any help,” I said, finally.
If I could take one pill that had all my daily requirements, I don’t have to eat unless I wanted to, I could eat anything without fearing the sudden urge to purge, I wouldn’t need to pee every 15 minutes whenever I went out on the town, I’d never have to shit my pants after breakfast and sometimes lunch ever again, I would have the energy of three Martha Stewarts pre-felony charges so I could write that novel, earn a master’s in medicine, reenter the work force in the field of butt work, so I could find a cure for IBS-D, and maybe attend a Super Soap and GH Fan Club Weekend or two, plus it could be a multi-vitamin and sex booster, providing me with an extended orgasm every two hours—without ever having to undress... I’d be on the phone with my credit card in one hot N.Y. minute.
But let’s be real.
One pill, even four or five, cannot possibly address what’s really wrong with our society and ourselves as individuals that we feel it’s okay to just feed our fix instantaneously, without any thought beyond instructions on the back of a bottle.
Much less the vomit and diarrhea side effects.
It’d be nice, but it’d hardly be that easy.
I mean, this goddamned cold’s nearly impossible to get rid of and there’s no fucking pill in sight.
Even if there were, I doubt I’d want to risk growing a third breast out of my right ass cheek just for a brief respite from a little pain and suffering.
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