5.15.2009

why suffer when you don't have to?

Many people are very resistant to taking any sort of medication, be it over-the-counter, prescription, or herbal remedy. People will, for example, suffer for hours with a headache before finally taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen. They'll sneeze, cough and rub their eyes raw before trying an allergy medication. And when it comes to prescription drugs, many people are loathe to take anything at all, for any reason. Some people will try anything called "herbal" or "natural," but will resist taking any prescription drugs.

These people, I have observed, are not necessarily health-conscious. They will drink soda (pop) full of artificial colours, flavours and processed sugar; they'll eat processed food and junk food. They don't necessarily exercise. Some even smoke. Many have taken drugs recreationally at least at some point in their lives. But when it comes to prescription drugs: no way.

I'm not talking about people who are suffering from AIDS or other serious conditions who need twenty different medications to get through a day. I mean things like taking Advil for a headache, or Claritin for seasonal allergies, or some common prescription drug used to treat common conditions.

I know that all drugs have side effects, but not everyone experiences those, and sometimes the side effect is very mild compared to the condition the drug is used to treat. That's not always the case - I've had some wild side effects myself - but for most commonly prescribed drugs, side effects are temporary, or mild, or both.

And of course I know that ingesting too much of any drug is dangerous. Swallowing handfuls of ibuprofen every day can fry your liver and tear up your gastrointestinal tract. But taking Advil for the occasional headache is not going to give an otherwise healthy person an ulcer or liver disease.

I've heard many people say, "I try never to take anything like that if I can help it," or "I try to wait until it's really, really bad before I take anything". I never understand it.

Pain is more easily stopped in early stages, before your body is in full-on, raging pain mode. Allergic reactions are easier to prevent than reverse: once your body is having a histamine reaction, it's much harder to get under control than it is to prevent the reaction in the first place. And above all, what about personal comfort? Why suffer if you don't have to? Yet so many people would rather suffer than take a drug.

I've needed various prescription meds for as long as I can remember. I take them because I need them, and I don't attach special meaning to that need, any more than I do to wearing glasses. I don't know if this is because I grew up in a home where there was some chronic illness, or because there are health professionals in my family, or whatever else, but it's never bothered me. Not that illness has never bothered me, but the need to take medications in of itself does not.

So, health care professionals and medication-shunners out there, help me understand this.

53 comments:

Amy said...

I admit to being one of "those people." Somehow I just hate the idea of chemicals running through my body. I hated the pill for that reason, and I do resist taking meds for headaches, etc. Also, I often find the side-effects are worse than the underlying problem that caused me to take the meds---e.g., ibuprofen upsets my stomach.

I have, however, had to give up some of my anti-medication fears as I have aged. I now am taking two prescription drugs every day as well as several non-prescription supplements like calcium and vitamin D. So I am getting over it, but I still hate the idea of putting chemicals into my body.

L-girl said...

Right, but I'm asking why you hate it? Is it just one of those "I just do" kind of things?

Side effects worse than the problem, that is a big thing. But in that case, would you try something else to see if it worked better (as I would do), or just not take anything, preferring the pain to the drug?

And only prescription drugs - do you hate taking the calcium and D as well? (I've always taken vitamins and supplements.)

impudent strumpet said...

I think it's partly to avoid becoming dependent, and partly because stoicism is generally considered a virtue.

Amy said...

I thought I answered the "why," but maybe not clearly. I do not like the idea of adding chemicals to my body. I guess I do not trust the FDA in terms of assessing long term risks. I am not a purist when it comes to food, so I realize this is somewhat inconsistent, but fear of inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, or whatever.

Now if I am ever in severe pain, I do take meds (though I did have natural childbirth the second time after hating getting an epidural the first time). I am not a glutton for punishment. But a regular headache or a small muscular pain---I will just avoid the ibuprofen if I can. Not only because of the side effects, but also because I want to be in touch with what my body is experiencing. If my head hurts, maybe it's a sign that I should get some rest or get out of the sun or stop sitting at the computer!

And I am very grateful for the meds I take for acid reflux. That made a huge difference. But I also take that to prevent greater harm to my body, not just to avoid pain. But don't get me wrong---I am by no means a fanatic!

As for calcium and vitamin D, I do not have the same concerns because I think of them as "natural" substances that I eat all the time. But I do worry about overdosing and getting kidney stones!

(Remember---this is me, the worrier!)

L-girl said...

"I think it's partly to avoid becoming dependent, and partly because stoicism is generally considered a virtue."

I think that's a lot of it. The ability to suffer as a sign of inner strength.

The fear of dependency among people who have no history or tendency of substance abuse is baffling to me.

L-girl said...

"I thought I answered the "why," but maybe not clearly."

Or I'm just pushing you for more info. :)

"I do not like the idea of adding chemicals to my body. I guess I do not trust the FDA in terms of assessing long term risks. I am not a purist when it comes to food, so I realize this is somewhat inconsistent, but fear of inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, or whatever."

Oh yes, we're all inconsistent when it comes to various things, no need to try to be purist (and generally impossible anyway).

"Now if I am ever in severe pain, I do take meds (though I did have natural childbirth the second time after hating getting an epidural the first time). I am not a glutton for punishment. But a regular headache or a small muscular pain---I will just avoid the ibuprofen if I can. Not only because of the side effects, but also because I want to be in touch with what my body is experiencing. If my head hurts, maybe it's a sign that I should get some rest or get out of the sun or stop sitting at the computer!"

Ah, interesting. I remember knowing women who felt that way about menstrual cramps - that they should be in touch with their body's experience, not try to alleviate what was not an illness.

For me, all those things you mentioned (rest, de-stress, computer, etc.) are important to be aware of. But after I've gotten the message, the pain is no longer telling me anything, it only hurts. Plus not all pain has a clear underlying reason and so is avoidable.

"And I am very grateful for the meds I take for acid reflux. That made a huge difference. But I also take that to prevent greater harm to my body, not just to avoid pain."

This could be partly why I have a different attitude towards meds. I take medication for my arthritis, not just to alleviate pain and regain movement, but to keep my joints from deteriorating. I feel that unremitting pain - even if only from a headache - is harmful in that it stresses your body unnecessarily. Unchecked allergies, for example, can lead to sinus infections, which can be very serious.

"(Remember---this is me, the worrier!)"

Oh yes, I remember. :)

Thanks for the expanded explanation, I appreciate it.

Scott M. said...

I've had no problem taking medications all my life, due to the fact that my Asthma was debilitating. Once I started taking some of the new drugs, my life changed dramatically.

My wife, however, was brought up to believe that meds were bad. It's taken a while, but she's become a convert. In her case, she had a low thyroid level which caused a whole bunch of hassles, which she was having great difficulty dealing with. Synthroid, for her, is almost a "miracle cure" for a number of things.

That'll change anyone.

L-girl said...

Scott, you've just hit on a huge reason why I've never had a problem taking meds: they've improved my life and the lives of people I love.

I am always open to herbal and natural meds, but I've never experienced dramatic, positive changes from those the way I have from prescription meds.

Glad to hear D is doing well, btw. :)

Also, you are a walking advertisement for living well with asthma, since you are so active and outdoorsy!

rww said...

Taking medication for a medical reason such as to control blood pressure or cholesterol is one thing. Taking medication to avoid the smallest of pain is another thing.

I think we as a society have become wimps when it comes to pain. Pain is natural, and usually your bodies way of telling you something is wrong. Fixing the problem is the solution not masking the pain.

I also believe there is good pain and bad pain. Pain from a broken leg is bad pain. Pain from using your muscles and cycling 100 kilometres is good pain.

I try to use pain killers for unbearable pain rather than bearable pain. I think it is healthy to increase your pain threshold. There may be times when you need to bear the pain. You are way better off in a situation where pain killers are not available or not effective to have developed a high pain threshold.

John F said...

I have a relative who avoids taking meds because he's a recovering alcoholic (20 years clean). He's very concerned about developing a dependency on anything. He will take things that the doctor prescribes, albeit reluctantly.

I have no problem with taking necessary medication. I once quit taking a potentially addictive prescription a bit early because...well, because it was potentially addictive!

Other than that, I think stoicism is overrated. When I was in university, a friend of mine stoically endured a bad stomachache for almost a week. Then his appendix burst, and he died of peritonitis.

L-girl said...

"I think we as a society have become wimps when it comes to pain."

I don't know how that can be true, when almost everyone I know won't take an aspirin for a headache, and will only take medication if something horrible will happen if they don't.

"Pain is natural"

So is cancer. So is nearsightedness, but no one tells people not to wear glasses. Natural does not necessarily equal good.

"I think it is healthy to increase your pain threshold."

I happen to have a very high tolerance for pain, but I still disagree with this sentence. Why is it a good thing to have a high pain threshold?

Who can judge another person's pain? Who is anyone to say what is bearable for another?

Why is it necessary to be "strong" and bad to be a "wimp"?

This sounds to me like a very judgemental, ungenerous attitude.

L-girl said...

"I have a relative who avoids taking meds because he's a recovering alcoholic (20 years clean). He's very concerned about developing a dependency on anything. He will take things that the doctor prescribes, albeit reluctantly."

That's very understandable. My father was addicted to prescription sleeping pills, and I have been very reluctant to take anything for my own insominia.

However, when sleepless nights pile up and start interfering with my life, I've learned I can take something one night and restart my sleep cycle. So I'm careful about it, but I don't refuse to take anything.

"I think stoicism is overrated."

I agree. (And how awful about your university friend.) I don't really understand stoicism as a value. I'm not a complainer, and I don't like to be around people who complain endlessly about normal, everyday things. But I don't know why it's considered a virtue to "suck it up". If that makes me a wimp, then wimp I am.

redsock said...

... and I don't like to be around people who complain endlessly about normal, everyday things.

So I have to find a new place to live ...?

Sarah O. said...

Humans have always sought ways to alleviate pain, or would have if they had the knowledge. What's more, I think we should celebrate things like ibuprofen for being an adequate response to common levels of pain. Thank goodness we have an alternative form of pain management, than just choosing between willow bark tea, or an opiate (and alcohol).

And good lord, I can't count how many arguments or spats I have had with people with a "bearable" headache (and no substance dependency issues) who refused to take an aspirin, and then spent the day being pissy and ruining everyone else's mood.

L-girl said...

"So I have to find a new place to live ...?"

I have been laughing at this for a full minute. :)

Sarah O. said...

Note: obviously I don't pick fights with people in chronic pain, they have all my sympathy.

L-girl said...

"Humans have always sought ways to alleviate pain, or would have if they had the knowledge."

Excellent point, Sarah! Humans have always sought painkillers - aspirin [willow leaves/bark] is an ancient remedy, for example. I think that blows a hole in the "natural" theory.

Generally people designate as "natural" what they approve of and denigrate what they disapprove of as "unnatural".

"What's more, I think we should celebrate things like ibuprofen for being an adequate response to common levels of pain."

Well, I'm obviously in this camp. I can't imagine what my life would be without pain management. Oh yes I can: crappy!

"with people with a "bearable" headache (and no substance dependency issues) who refused to take an aspirin, and then spent the day being pissy and ruining everyone else's mood."

Ha, another good point. People who refuse to take ordinary pain meds should have to lock themselves away until their pain subsides.

Amy said...

"For me, all those things you mentioned (rest, de-stress, computer, etc.) are important to be aware of. But after I've gotten the message, the pain is no longer telling me anything, it only hurts. Plus not all pain has a clear underlying reason and so is avoidable."

You are right about that. Pain is a sign that something is wrong, and it does cause stress on the body, and if it persists, I will take something to relieve it. I just don't jump for the Advil too quickly (unlike Harvey, who doesn't hesitate to take the stuff). I prefer to wait and see if it gets worse or if it goes away on its own. If the former, I assume something is really wrong. If the latter, I figured it was just a minor annoyance.

But also consider that I have been very fortunate and have not experienced severe pain more than a handful of times in my life. If I had a chronic condition like arthritis, I bet I would be taking pain killers. It is easy to be a stoic when you don't have much to be stoic about.

(Also, my behavior has nothing to do with being macho or tough! Just the thought is enough to make me laugh out loud!)

L-girl said...

"It is easy to be a stoic when you don't have much to be stoic about."

Yes, that's my problem with the judgemental attitude posted above.

"(Also, my behavior has nothing to do with being macho or tough! Just the thought is enough to make me laugh out loud!)"

Me too. :)

I know you too well to think that, but it's good to note it for others! There's obviously a difference between "I don't like to put chemicals in my body if it's at all avoidable" and "people should increase their pain thresholds and not be wimps".

I also wonder if it's possible to increase one's pain threshold. It might be hard-wired.

Amy said...

I will ask my brother about that when I see him on Sunday. He is a pediatric anesthesiologist and also does a lot of work with pain. My sense is that you can learn to tolerate most things and develop some level of acceptance so that you are not constantly bothered by it. But that doesn't mean you should HAVE to accept it if you can avoid it. For example, I know people with allergies who just live with sniffles and teary eyes because allergy meds make them drowsy, etc. Or people with conditions that cannot be treated with drugs who eventually just accept those conditions. Has their tolerance increased? Yes. Would they run to take a medicine or get a treatment that cured the problem if they could? In a heartbeat.

Sarah O. said...

I also wonder if it's possible to increase one's pain threshold. It might be hard-wired.I googled it and chose the wiki link (which I approached with all due skepticism, but it's better than about dot com). Apparently what we normally refer to as pain threshold is actually pain tolerance, and (according to wikipedia) we don't do ourselves any favours by toughing it out:

"the greater exposure to pain will result in more painful future exposures. Repeated exposure bombards pain synapses with repetitive input, increasing their responsiveness to later stimuli"

James said...

I just hate the idea of chemicals running through my body.I've never understood this argument. Your body is made of nothing but chemicals. And medications are, almost exclusively, either made from chemicals produced by living organisms, or based on chemicals produced by living organisms.

If you drink willow-bark tea to cure a headache, you are ingesting acetylsalicylic acid, exactly as it's found in Aspirin. The only difference is, with Aspirin, you're only getting the ASA (and some neutral stuff to make up the body of the pill), whereas in willow-bark tea, you're getting a whole bunch of other chemicals the tree produces that have nothing to do with treating your headache.

Amy said...

Of course, I know my body is made up of chemicals. I meant additional chemicals not essential to my body. Your argument would support adding any chemical to my body simply because it exists somewhere in nature. Obviously, there are lots of chemicals and "natural" products that have been proven to be harmful. Tobacco grows in nature, but quite clearly smoking or chewing it is dangerous to your health.

I admit that my feelings may not be scientifically justified by current evidence or even consistent with other things I do, but they are not stupid either. We know too little about the long term effects on our bodies of many things we ingest. If I prefer a slight headache to the potential long term effects on my digestive system of using ibuprofen, why is that an irrational choice?

Jen said...

This is going to be long, sorry. This is something I encounter daily at work (pediatric surgery floor) and sadly, parents heap their own misunderstandings of pain on their children. Luckily, kids as young as 9 or 10 who will definitely experience pain (e.g.: spinal fusion) can use patient controlled analgesia (PCA) where they are in control of when they get a bolus dose of morphine.

I should probably just post my own response, but some of the other responses are favourite pet peeves of mine and I can't resist responding...

"I do not like the idea of adding chemicals to my body"
*This, along with 'evolution' and 'culture' are my 3 fave examples of where the more colloquial use of a word wreaks havoc with the technical/jargon use and meaning of the word. I was once at the Body Shop and earnest salesgirl says to me "none of our products are made from chemicals" Huh. That even rules out them being made from thin air!

Really and truly everything is a chemical. Water, H2O, is a chemical--it can be produced in a lab, it's converted by your body, etc. I know I'm being pedantic and I know exactly what Amy means, but the statement "I just hate the idea of chemicals running through my body" is absurd. Your body *is* a huge composition of chemicals. If you prefer your pain-killing chemicals in willow bark form as opposed to the condensed, mass produced form given out by Bayer then that's fine but basically they're the same. If ibuprofen hurts your stomach, get enteric coated ibuprofen (yes, a chemical on top of a chemical, but you swallow it with water so you do that yourself anyways ;). I'm glad Amy clarified as I'm far more accepting of the "I don't trust the FDA to ensure the mass produced/lab reproduction chemicals are safe" argument.

"I try to use pain killers for unbearable pain rather than bearable pain"
*If you think unbearable pain is something ibuprofen or acetaminophen or any over the counter(OTC)or under-the-counter med even touches then I'd suggest you've never actually experienced unbearable pain. L-girl is right though on 2 counts: 1) I can't judge whether you've experienced unbearable pain I can only guess or if you were my patient ask you heaps more questions and assess your experience of pain, and 2) leaving bearable pain alone is the best and surest way to progress to unbearable pain.

"You are way better off in a situation where pain killers are not available or not effective" *Where is that exactly?

"I have a relative who avoids taking meds because he's a recovering alcoholic (20 years clean). He's very concerned about developing a dependency on anything. He will take things that the doctor prescribes, albeit reluctantly."
*My hunch is that people with dependancy/addiction history/issues are more cautious (like your uncle & L-girl) and are safer on opiods and other drugs. I know there is research out there to support this. There is also research out there to support the fact that opiods used correctly to treat pain that is assessed properly is less likely to lead to dependancy. However, I'd need a health science librarian to find the relavant material...next year or 2 L-girl?

"When I was in university, a friend of mine stoically endured a bad stomachache for almost a week. Then his appendix burst, and he died of peritonitis" My 33 bed pediatric surgery/rehab unit sees about 70 patients a week; I'd estimate 1 or 2 of them are perforated appendectomies requiring days of IV antibiotics as opposed to 1 night IV antibx for a regular appy. A good reason why 'suck it up' is a bad policy.

"But I don't know why it's considered a virtue to "suck it up".
*Sometimes, even with pain meds on board, you do have to suck it up. My best example when 'suck it up' is a good policy sticks with the appendectomy cases: after a laproscopic procedure the air used to inflate the abdomen is removed as best as possible. However, as with a beach ball or a deflated balloon, you can never get all of the air out like when they were new. That residual air has to be absorbed by the small intestine and colon and farted on out (which is why nurses ask all sorts of embarrasing questions, frequently). The best way to get this going is to walk around--get the bowels moving, get the air shifting, get farting. You can imagine that the last thing a teenaged (or any aged) post-op patient wants to do a couple hours after surgery is go for a walk. A morphine-tylenol or codeine-tylenol combo will definitely help, but there is no getting around the fact that getting out of bed will be at the least uncomfortable, but walking will prevent worse pain. And walking will only happen with something stronger than tylenol on board.

Sarah O. beat me to the nociceptor bombardment stuff so I'll just stop here. Plus, my fingers hurt...

richard said...

I'm an asthmatic. Without meds I would likely be seriously disabled or worse. With them I manage to still be a pretty decent athlete at age 48. Sure, I worry about the possible (but very unlikely) cumulative effects, but the blessing of living a normal life far outweighs that concern.

L-girl said...

Jen, great stuff!! Thanks for writing it all.

I learned a lot about this from my sister, who is a nurse. When Allan was in the hospital in severe pain, the hospital staff was telling me they were giving him all the pain meds that he was allowed. Judy told me, if he's still in agony, then he doesn't have enough pain meds. And she gave me advice and support to fight for him to have more.

Of course, as Jen says, recovery and certain therapies are going to require pain that must be borne. If you have surgery on a joint, the subsequent physio (PT) can be incredibly painful, but you've got to do it. That's in its own category, I think.

Re chemicals and how the word is used, I understand what Amy means, and understand the inconsistency of it, and although I don't subscribe to it, it makes sense on a human level. We all make distinctions about what we will eat, drink, take, and under what circumstances, and those distinctions don't have to be consistent or rational. (And in fact, if it means enduring pain that could be alleviated, I would say by definition its irrational!)

L-girl said...

"Sure, I worry about the possible (but very unlikely) cumulative effects, but the blessing of living a normal life far outweighs that concern."

That's how I am about my arthritis meds.

L-girl said...

"However, I'd need a health science librarian to find the relavant material...next year or 2 L-girl?"

Sounds great!!!

impudent strumpet said...

Dependent wasn't the word I was aiming for. It's more like...almost immune to the medication. There's a word for the concept, but it escapes me. Like I knew this girl in high school who needed to take six Advil for them to have any impact. Or I know someone who takes Vitamin C preventively (one a day in the summer, two a day in the winter) so then when they get a cold they need to take these huge amounts to blast the cold. I don't know if that's even logical (haven't thought about it critically before today) or if medication works that way, but that's where the sentiment is coming from.

Also, I think stocism is one of those things (like courage) that's a virtue because it's convenient for other people if you're stoic. But now that I think about it, it really needs to be subdivided. I see the point (even if I don't agree) of making it a virtue to suffer in silence if there's nothing to be done to alleviate the suffering, but that shouldn't be the same concept as not taking a Midol when you have some right there.

Although in that particular case, I was very much raised that women go through this all the time, it's no excuse for complaining. And because as a kid I had to ask my mother for some Midol instead of just taking one, I didn't want to ask and be seen as whining.

I wonder if there's a correlation between people who don't readily take medication and whether they can just quietly take it themselves or whether they have to involve someone else or someone else will see them?

L-girl said...

"Dependent wasn't the word I was aiming for. It's more like...almost immune to the medication."

You mean building up a tolerance for the drug? Certain drugs do that very easily, like certain sedatives and sleeping pills. Start with 1, then 1 stops working, need 2, then 2 stops working, etc. I've had a problem with that.

Allergy meds are notorious for working for a while, then your body adjusts and they stop working, and you need to try a different kind. Most allergy sufferers have been through all the big brands. (And they don't cause drowsiness anymore, so Amy's friends should try again!)

L-girl said...

I meant to say the vitamin C example is a bit strange. Because vitamin C is water soluble, your body uses what it needs and you pee out the rest. And it's highly debatable whether large doses of vitamin C have any effect whatsoever on colds. I'm a huge vitamin C user - my body apparently needs a lot of it, and it helps me a lot - but I question whether one can develop a tolerance to it.

Stoicism as a virtue because it's convenient for others - very good.

Amy said...

Regarding allergies: I have numerous friends and relatives (including my brother) who are allergic to cats (as are you, Laura, IIRC). It seems that despite modern medicine, nothing helps them when it comes to cat allergies and so they avoid our house. Or maybe it is just our house they are avoiding.... Hmmmm....

L-girl said...

And before someone corrects me, I'm not implying that taking enormous amounts of vitamin C is safe, I know it can cause various problems in huge mega-dosages. But for most people with normal doses, your body will discard extra.

L-girl said...

I was only talking about seasonal allergies. For allergies to animals, there is only one solution, and that's avoidance.

There are things you can take that will lessen the effects if taken in advance. But nothing will really work except avoidance.

Amy said...

Damn...

Well, at least it's not that everyone is avoiding our house for no reason!

L-girl said...

"Well, at least it's not that everyone is avoiding our house for no reason!"

Well, I'm not. I don't know about them. ;)

There are some things you can do, which your friends probably know, like vacuum like crazy, have an air purifier running (helps A LOT) and allergic people sit on wooden chairs instead of fabric. But it's so much work for the host and only goes so far anyway.

I don't bother anymore. I just don't go anywhere where there's a cat if I can possibly help it.

Amy said...

My son-in-law and my brother are the ones I care about most, and both take Claritin and suffer a bit. My brother, in particular, has terrible symptoms and usually can only tolerate about an hour before he gets too uncomfortable. Vaccuuming, he says, barely helps because it just moves the dander around and only eliminates a limited amount.

Anyway, I have wandered somewhat off topic. I suppose the connection is that people should take medicine if it helps them. I completely agree with that, and any comments I made that seem to the contrary relate to my personal preferences, not what I think others should do.

richard said...

I also have cat allergies. And I'm a pastor which means that I spend quite a bit of time with people, usually in their homes. I carry an antihistamine with me when I visit. Sitting on a wooden chair helps a lot as does drinking cola. Don't ask me why, it just helps me. Then it's back home for a shower and a complete change of clothes.

And why is it that cats seem to sense that I don't want them near me and so they keep trying to get close? Aaarrggghh!!!

L-girl said...

""Vaccuuming, he says, barely helps because it just moves the dander around and only eliminates a limited amount."

That's regular vacuuming. You would need a vacuum that has both a beater-brush, to get up embedded fur and dander, and a HEPA filter. It doesn't move the dander around, it sucks it up.

"Anyway, I have wandered somewhat off topic."

You have, but that's ok. Wandering is fine, as opposed to thread-jacking, which you don't do.

"Sitting on a wooden chair helps a lot as does drinking cola."

Wow! How interesting. Is it the sugar, do you think? (Any ideas?) I mean, there's no real cola in colas anymore, is there?

"Then it's back home for a shower and a complete change of clothes."

Oh yes, definitely!

I remember sleeping on the couch of friends with cats when I was younger. Oh boy, if I did that now, someone would have to drive me to the ER!

L-girl said...

Richard, have you tried drinking plain water and seeing if it has the same effect? I wonder if it's just staying hydrated, and not the cola. Although you probably have tried lots of things, and know that cola works best.

richard said...

My theory is that it's the bubbles (Ginger Ale works as well). The tingling in the throat masks the unpleasant effects of the allergies...for a while. It's just a placebo, really.

L-girl said...

I'm all for a good placebo once in a while. :)

When I was a kid, my mother used to give me flat ginger ale when I was nauseated, "to settle the stomach".

Now I cannot drink ginger ale. One smell turns my stomach - instant smell association of being sick.

richard said...

Laura,

May I recommend this delightful and local (to me) beverage? It's a whole different thing.

http://www.thegrizzlypaw.com/drink/soda/ginger-beer

Sadly, I don't think it's readily available outside the Rockies.

L-girl said...

Thanks, I'll have to try it when we're out there. :)

I don't drink soda at all, but the specialty sodas made with natural ingredients are a completely different thing, as you say. Real root beer or real cream (vanilla) soda is great.

L-girl said...

Boy am I wasting time today. I gave myself a day off before tackling the grad school application, and I'm completely frittering it away. On purpose.

richard said...

Wasted time is not wasted if you intended to waste it.

impudent strumpet said...

I've always found the taste of ginger disgusting (and ginger ale vaguely unpleasant), even without the association with car-sickness. So much time in childhood was wasted explaining "No, I really don't think eating something I find disgusting is the best way to cure my nausea."

And wasting time is totally the theme of the weekend. Everyone I've asked about their plans for the weekend has said "Go home and do nothing!"

L-girl said...

"And wasting time is totally the theme of the weekend. Everyone I've asked about their plans for the weekend has said "Go home and do nothing!""

I'll be doing my time-wasting at work Saturday and Sunday, but enjoying Monday with friends and dogs.

Cornelia said...

I'm into taking medication, too, thank Goodness!

Cornelia said...

And I am not into suffering, nausea, sickness, throwing up or whatever awful things (not any more than I would ever be into torture) either and even if I need to get redress in the highest court, haha!

Cornelia said...

I am as much against suffering, having to put up with nausea, sickness and vomiting as I am against torture! And I would not put up with suffering, nausea, sickness and throwing up even if I had to get redress in the highest court!! For luck, no need, haha...

Jen said...

This post and commentary reminded me of this t-shirt:

http://www.typetees.com/product/1727/Actually_medicine_is_the_best_medicine

L-girl said...

Great gift for a curmudgeonly doctor or nurse!