If you're sitting at the blackjack table wearing an adult diaper with a face the size of Elvis's ass and a four-hour erection, maybe it's time to cut down on the pills.
I am of Irish descent.
We have two traditional drugs: alcohol and religion. Both of which produce the same eventual side effects: dropping to your knees and feeling guilty.
When it comes to prescription drugs, for me - it's all about the side effects.
Nausea, anal leakage, dysplasia, and temporary blindness are not just great name choices for late 80's heavy metal bands -- they are but a few of the little prices Americans are willing to pay each time they swallow a magic pill designed to help them lose weight, gain confidence, stop shaking or become the proud owners of medically-induced erections.
I was raised by illegal-alien Irish immigrants who taught me that anything worth having is worth suffering for so the desire to clear up a heavy bout of back pain by ingesting a handful of Vitamin A (known as Advil to the occasional user) is well-worth whatever possible future damage it may do to my liver, brain or eyeballs (I'm not exactly sure of what side effects Advil may produce because I've never bothered to read the warnings on the label -- the print is too small and I can never find my glasses).
Which reminds me - if there were a pill that instantly increased your vision and meant you could throw away your reading glasses -- I would take it immediately. As would more than 100 million other Americans. Even if the main side effects sounded like things you might need to treat with other drugs.
Apparently all we care about is getting rid of the problem that currently seems to be bugging us.
Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Disorder, both of which it makes go away. However, the side effects that may occur include confusion, vomiting, severe weight loss (possibly redundant), chest pain, swelling of the mouth, face, lips and tongue, and loss of appetite -- along with about 37 other items I don't have the time or space to list here. So narcoleptics and hyperactive kids may be willing to suffer through an enlarged face, slurred speech and puking in order not to fall asleep during their final exams. And if they wanna lose weight at the same time? Bingo.
You may be a wide-awake mess who hasn't had a nap in a week and a half - but you won't be a fat-assed wide-awake mess.
Cymbalta is used to treat depression and anxiety but its particular side effects include pale stools, dark urine, agitation, hostility, impulsiveness, inability to sit still, ringing in the ears, and red, blistered and/or peeling skin. Not to mention -- and I'm not making this up -- 'vomit that looks like coffee grounds'.
Now first of all -- I saw Pale Stools and Dark Urine live once at CBGB and I spat up some puke that looked like coffee grounds, but that was only because I'd actually eaten some coffee grounds before the show. Hey, it was the punk rock era, I was broke and hungry AND I wanted to make sure I was awake during the show.
Second of all -- how depressed do you have to be when in order to feel better, you're walking around like a naked grape with a head full of bells and a sudden desire to punch a stranger in the throat?
This is America I guess. The land of 8-minute abs, 6-minute facelifts and 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day (Heidi Montag's current pace -- some experts believe if she stays healthy she may pass Melissa Rivers by the All-Star break).
This is the land where Restless Leg Syndrome is cured by a drug that can cause an uncontrollable urge to gamble (who developed the drug -- a Native American tribe that owns a casino?).
This is the land where we now have an affliction called S.A.D. -- Seasonal Affected Disorder -- which means when the leaves fall off the trees you begin to get lonely and depressed and anxious. It's called winter, folks. It comes right after autumn. And you are SUPPOSED to get depressed. Which is why we have Christmas right in the middle of it. God has a master plan and it involves his son being born right as the snow begins to fall just as a reminder of why we are all here. Feeling depressed and anxious? Go outside, grab a shovel and start digging. Once your feet and fingers freeze up - go back inside where it's warm -- that oughta cure your case of the blues. Literally and figuratively.
Last week Dr. Nick finally came to the conclusion that Elvis Presley died of constipation. Never mind the fact that his favorite foods included a fried bacon, banana and peanut butter sandwich or that he had opened a Rite-Aid pharmacy in his colon. Nope. He was constipated. Now I'm sure if Elvis had been warned that one of the side effects of his prescription drug abuse could be the need to sit on the toilet for seven hours at a stretch while reading the Bible and simultaneously putting enough pressure on his posterior to give birth to a baby Elvis - he may have decided to instead seek out an enema.
But he didn't. Because he wanted to feel better.
Listen: I believe in prescription drugs. I believe in feeling better. But I also believe if you're sitting at the blackjack table wearing an adult diaper with a face the size of Elvis's ass and a four-hour erection -- maybe it's time to slow the process down a little bit.
I am a doctor, after all.
So take two bottles of Advil and call me in the morning.
AlterNet / By Denis Leary
May 11, 2010