No Pain, No Gain

August 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

Pain is nature’s way of telling us something is wrong. But if the ‘something’ is chronic and isn’t life threatening, then the pain becomes a daily problem.

You experience pain and it doesn’t not going away. So, what next? You go to the doctor and receive confirmation there is a reason for it. Great, now maybe something can be done. Steroid injections, they suggest? Sure, why not. Then your face grows three times wider, you bite the heads off of those you love, and your normally low blood pressure spikes. And heaven only knows what other execrable things are happening inside your body. Fabulous!

No pain, no gain.

Soon you learn the medical community (and, God bless them, I have family in the field) doesn’t like to help out with your pain, other than giving you medications that bring on horrific side effects (like murderous rage) but not medications that would potentially make you ‘happy’. Why, you ask? Because they might make you happy.

America has a history of Puritanism; if it feels good then it is bad with a capital B. Life is suffering. All pleasurable activities are evil and to be avoided. And so it is with pains meds. The side effects of these medications are occasionally pleasurable (to some, not me, wacky biology or something – just lucky I guess), but, more often than not, just numbing. Numbs your pain a little and your brain a little more so you don’t care. And, yes, there are side effects, but they are not as gruesome as a bleeding GI tract or soaring blood pressure or huge-face syndrome (utter horror for us vain people).

Yes, I know prescription pain meds have caused celebrity deaths and should be handled with care. I’m not saying give them out willy-nilly, but it seems unless you ARE a celebrity, you have little chance of getting these dangerous narcotics prescribed for your pain anyway. And, if you do, the pharmacist and the check-out clerk are sure to squint their eyes at you and look for track marks if you happen to be wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

Please don’t leave me a comment — I know prescription narcotics can cause horrible addiction problems and have ruined lives and caused deaths (just like beer and alcohol, I would remind you, and those are still legal and readily available). But those of use with non-additive personalities shouldn’t be punished just because there are some people out there who abuse every good thing that comes their way.

I find it hysterically funny to watch commercials on TV for prescription medications with side-effect warnings like: May cause your genitalia to disappear (kidding). Or: May cause explosive diarrhea (real). And here’s a good one: Fatal heart attacks have been known to occur (again, real). But a tiny bit mellow? Or merely happy to be pain free for an entire two minutes? We just can’t have that now, can we?

The only pill on the market that goes against this puritanical notion is, of course, the tiny blue pill manufactured for men’s (and some would argue women’s) pleasure. That one might make you go blind, but what the hell. The puritanical in us believe pain is inevitable and perhaps even necessary for our salvation, but not getting a hard enough erection is just plain inhumane.

What Is Magical Realism, Really?

August 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

What Is Magical Realism, Really?

by Bruce Holland Rogers

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