Here in Fla La Land, the biggest no no is to ask someone how they feel? They usually tell you in great detail. Known as an “Organ Recital” you get far more information than you really want to know. It happened to yours truly yesterday at the Martin Health Urgent Care.
I have been gradually getting sicker by the day with flu symptoms but true to form I wanted to avoid any contact with the medical profession. Not because of any fear or disdain but rather it would be admitting that I am no longer invincible. It is a status I have treasured for a long time even if it is my own mind.
A nice nurse went through the litany of forms and asked I how felt? I was going to say “like shit” but we had just met so I kept it semi classy. Fever? Check. Stuffy nose? Ditto. Achy? Oh yeah. She asked on a scale of one to ten I blurted 7 without hesitation. I was really hurting. At least for me
As I sat staring at the walls of a functional but boring treatment room I thought about my response. Was it really that bad? Was I acting like a wuss? I got the guilts. There are a helluva lot of people with more pain than I was experiencing in this man’s world. The last thing I wanted to be known as is a wimp.
I figured I would just get the “six pack” and be on my way but the doc thought otherwise. I was prescribed a thing called Tamiflu and steroids. Steroids? I could see my lovely wife now suing this operation for mental cruelty. Ted The Great on Steroids? I thought he already was? Turns out these little white wonders reduced inflammation. Better living through chemistry. More on that later.
This whole concept of pain started cogitating in my various cranial lobes as the day wore on. It is so profound in everything psychological as well as physiological and yet it is completely subjective. My buddy Pete is getting a new knee tomorrow. Rest assured his level of discomfort post op is going to be a lot worse than mine. The Bushes feel the pain of loss but what about that for the woman that was killed by a freak accident on that Southwest flight?
I looked up the medical definition: a state of physical, emotional, or mental lack of well-being or uneasiness that ranges from mild discomfort or dull distress to acute often unbearable agony that may be generalized or localized. That covers a lot of waterfront and appropriately so. It is the number one reason for people seeking medical help.
By default pain relief from OTC analgesics to prescriptive opioids is off the charts in the United States. Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin etc are in everyone’s medicine chest. But now opiods,Oxy, Percaset etal, are written to the astounding number of 150,000,000 prescriptions per annum. That is not capsules but just the scrips for who knows how many pills?
If you add in emotional pain, ergo antidepressants, you get the idea that billions upon billions in drug dosages and who knows how much more on therapeutic sessions go into us being free from pain. I can really get philosophical by adding in how much we spend on booze, pornography and overeating to make our troubles go away? Ridiculous you say. I say not.
Now neither I nor you want to see people hurting but going back to the subjective aspect of all this, isn’t it ripe for hype and malfeasance? What concerns me most is the siren’s call of carefree living might go against everything we know to be true of our world and its real life.
Life is not a bowl of cherries. Nirvana or Edens are lofty goals but not really attainable. Things go wrong by our own mistakes, those of others or just life itself. That woman yesterday who lost her life on that plane, happened to be sitting next to a window of which there were probably 150 just like it throughout the aircraft. The odds of a piece of the engine flying off from a protective cowling and hitting at that exact spot to where the window broke were ridiculous.
We Americans, have been lulled by our good fortune, technology and modern medicine into believing that we can be insulated from anything bad happening to us. We really don’t know the strife that is rampant in other parts of our planet. I am not saying we have to don a hair shirt but Geez Louise let’s try to define what is really difficult and what is a minor distraction.
I mentioned the steroids I was prescribed for my achiness. Now I abuse my body by among other things, over exercising. Why shouldn’t I at the ripe old age of now 73, work out, hit golf balls and maybe take a three or four mile walk or run? So I hurt a little? Big deal. I will only be popping pills for a strictly regimented 4 days but I can’t begin to tell you how my overall soreness has abated after 36 hours.
I would be a bold faced liar if I told I didn’t consider what life would be like if I took a few of these babies long term. I consulted my good buddy and golfing friend, Dr. Pat about this and he just smiled. Wonder drugs he said and yet they are ripe for abuse. Got it, Coach. I’ll take my medicine in the form of recurring pain.
How do I feel? What do you think? I am lucky beyond all contemplation. Do I have setbacks? Of course. But just think about how I am doing not just as a resident of Harbour Ridge, or whatever percent of the economic scale I am in or even just a resident of the United States and the free world in general? Pretty damn good, aching bones and all. I’ll take that any day and keep my mouth shut.
Ted The Great
The US population of 320 million is approximately 5% of the world and we consume over 80% of the supply of opio.We have 27% of the world’s overdose deaths. Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people
U.S. health care spending increased 4.3 percent to reach $3.3 trillion, or $10,348 per person in 2016. 32%($1.1trilion )of that cost was for hospital stays. 20%($665billion) for physician and clinical care and 10% ($330billion) was for drugs.
As per 2018 Happiness Report, Finland is the happiest country in the world, with Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland holding the next top positions. We came in 19th because of reduced social support and corruption. Does money buy happiness? Of the 30 richest Finland is 30 and the US is 13th? As usual my info is sometimes useless but always interesting. At least to me.