|The Back Forty
By Roger Pond
I get a kick out of TV advertising for prescription drugs. The drug ads describe the wonderful products we should ask our doctor about, and then they say, “This product is not for everyone - and should not be taken by women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or plan on waking up in the morning.
“Common side effects include loss of hearing, blurred vision, and a tendency to walk sideways. A few victims may suffer from liver damage, migraine headaches or trip over small children.
“If these symptoms persist for more than a few hours, you should see your doctor.”
Now I ask you, “Why should we see our doctor?” That’s the person who wrote the prescription in the first place.
I know doctors are under the gun when a patient insists he or she needs something they saw on television, but someone has to put the brakes on this insanity.
It wasn’t always that way, of course. The old doctors knew how to handle folks who thought they needed everything. Some kept a few sugar pills on hand for those who felt better after taking them.
The doctor in my old hometown was a good example. Doc treated you for what ailed you and left the rest alone.
A person could go into Doc’s office and say, “I’ve got this wheezing in my chest, Doc. What do you suppose is causing it?”
“It’s your lungs,” he’d say.
He wouldn’t lecture you about your smoking or suggest you get more exercise. Doc figured you understood your bad habits as well as anyone.
That’s what happened the day Harlan (not his real name) developed his mysterious illness. Everyone knew Harlan was a strong young man, but he always had something wrong with him.
If you saw Harlan on the street and asked him how he was doing, he’d say, “Oh, I’m OK, I guess, but every time I stand up too quick I get a little dizzy.”
Or, “I was having some pain in my knee yesterday, but it’s feeling a little better today.”
That’s what led the boys down at the pool hall to decide they should nudge Harlan a little closer to the edge. These fellows determined that on one particular day everyone who saw Harlan would tell him how bad he looked - just to see how he responded.
Then someone suggested maybe they should get Doc involved. Everyone knew Doc had a keen sense of humor and practical jokes were right up his alley. He was all too happy to oblige.
When the fateful day arrived the first guy to see Harlan said, “Boy, Harlan, you sure do look pale. Have you been feeling OK?”
The second guy said, “Gosh, Harlan, you look puny today. You still got that cold?”
It wasn’t long until they had Harlan in Doc’s office.
Doc looked him over real close and asked, “Is your urine green?”
“No,” Harlan said.
“Hmm, it’s not that, then,” Doc said.
Then Doc gave Harlan some pills that would make his urine green and sent him home. “If you’re not feeling better by tomorrow, come back in,” Doc said.
Harlan was back within hours. He sat down on the examination table and said, “Well, Doc, I guess I’ve got it for sure this time.”
This farm news was published in the August 9, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.