Op-Ed

In mountains, pills a blessing and a curse

Tie Rod was on his way to his doctor's appointment carrying a list scrolled up like the one Santa Claus has on the Coca-Cola poster. Tie Rod's list had a little barbecue potato chip dust on it from where it had lain on his coffee table, which is decaffeinated.

That list lay near the TV so Tie Rod could copy on to it the words Plavix, Restasis, Januvia, Caduet, Vesicare, Valtrex and several others. It also contained a note to ask the doctor if he could take that new pill that combined two old pills and still keep on taking the old pills, too, and whether a half dose of Viagra would keep you from peeing on your shoes.

He had put off too long going in to go over each of those new pills with his doctor to see if they were right for him and to see if he had restless leg syndrome or not and how many times a day are you supposed to go. Cialis was not on the list because Tie Rod saw no need to waste 35½ hours of ready. He now mainly doesn't want others to get a four-hour erection and have to call around.

As he sat in the waiting room and looked at those in attendance, he thought to himself that if anybody would invent an arm-jiggle pill they would get rich. He imagined those un-cured arms hanging out the window of a truck doing 60 and looking a little too much like angel wings. So he wondered how heart trouble could be cured while arm jiggle baffles science.

He is not for everything being cured. One of the things that worry him is that he will take some pill which is right for him and that it will accidentally cure the disease for which he draws a check, a condition called amotivational syndrome.

There in the waiting room were all kinds of people, and some were even sick. Tie Rod felt sorry for people trying to be doctors in the post-coal mountains, where people work as long as they can and at the first opportunity try to get disabled.

The economy in Tie Rod's homeland virtually depends on the doctor certifying that somebody cannot do anything and hurts real bad all the time. Now, if a doctor puts that in writing, he has just about got to prescribe something for it that makes a person feel better. A lot of Tie Rod's community is dying because of the disability of others.

So, now the government is going to decide what doctors can prescribe, and if old Doc So and So goes over the limit, its hello federal sentencing guidelines. This means that the people in the waiting room who really do need pain medicine will soon need a nerve pill from worrying about not getting it.

Tie Rod passed his exam pretty good. He says that he is not overweight, just that he is 3½ feet too short for his weight. The doctor noted on his chart the deep grooves in Tie Rods thumb caused by popping aluminum can tops, the old skillet scars from an uncanny throw by a jiggled arm, and the high blood pressure induced by the fact that Tie Rod will not eat anything not fried.

The doctor told Tie Rod to keep on writing down new medicine to buy, but for now just to take an aspirin a day. The doctor recommended that Tie Rod get a TV with a remote control to cut down walking and thought the government would pay for it.

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