Friday, May 5, 2006

Best part about being sick and having to go to the doctor: free samples provided by our nation's ultra-magnanimous pharmaceutical companies. I got some Nasacort allergy spray stuff from the good people at Aventis, Singulair from the fine folks at Merck, and an assortment of lozenges generously donated by Halls. I can see no possible ulterior motive for this munificence, and it completely reverses my previous opinions on the pharmaceutical industry.

Maybe there's a homeopathic hemp dude out there who can cure me with something I produce on my own, like that conflicted alienation-slash-guilt feeling that modern medicine side effects in me. Drug companies hand out their shitloads of free stuff to my doctor — everything from the pen she takes notes with (sponsored by Levicor™) to the 3-D model of the respiratory system on her desk (donated by Flonase™) to the all-expenses-paid symposia in Zurich — and, when I'm not in denial, I absolutely know all those goodie bags are having an effect on my treatment. I can't just worry about my doctor's standard human error, now I've gotta get into whatever subconscious shit's fucking with my diagnosis. I mean, if Merck were to send an ex-Miss Florida drug rep to take me out to dinner and sell me on whatever new pill they're working on, the next day I'd be handing out strychnine Vioxx like they were Tic-Tacs.

The catch is, of course, that I don't know a damn thing about my body, other than that it's a prodigious mucous producer, so I've gotta put my trust in this doctor along with the pharmaceutical industry's claws. (Not to mention the reassuring news that doctors, with the exception of surgeons, grow less competent over time.) At least if I walk into a used car dealership, it's implied that the dealer's job is to take as much money from me as he can, and my job is to walk out with the most valuable product he's selling that I can afford. In the good old days, before the government started pretending that global warming was a lie and before House taught me how ignorant I am, before I started paying for my own prescriptions, I could take the whole doctor-patient knowledge gap for granted and swallow my pills. These days, I just feel sick.