By David Sahud, My Mentor, My friend, My Loving Father (1929-2012)
About the Author
David Sahud was a retired businessman with extensive background as CEO of several companies in the plastic films and insulation industries. He had a masters degree in chemistry and a second masters in management engineering. He spent his free time writing short stories, traveling and avoiding the cold weather.
“Hi Honey! I took the pill. Let’s get ready for lots and lots of passionate sex! Isn’t that exciting? I am so happy about it that I am ready to ignore the nausea, the diarrhea and blurred vision. I hope you can ignore my bleeding eye. It will be worth it, for an erection that could keep us in ecstasy for as much as four hours.”
I painted the best picture I could, but she seemed definitely under whelmed. I carefully omitted the possibility that the erection might last considerably more than four hours, or the possibility of convulsions or sudden death. How could my loving wife possibly resist such inspiring talking points? I was even prepared to ask her to invite some of her more attractive girl friends to a Tupperware party…..without the Tupperware. Why waste an erection that could last for many hours?
Lady Justice is pictured blindfolded and holding an empty balance scale. With medical advertising now required to list the side effects of drugs, the drug companies have a better chance of escaping law suits. But the poor patient is also blindfolded with regard to balancing the risk/reward of the positive effects of drugs versus the possibility of drastic side effects. The doctors are usually not much help. They prescribe the drugs and tell you that the scary side effects are statistically insignificant.
But everyone seems to forget about the statistically significant population of hypochondriacs, who inherit every symptom within earshot! I have a friend who loves his friends so much that he immediately contracts their diseases.
He even complained about a vaginal infection, until he found out what it was. There is no doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Hypochondriac would be discouraged from pursuing love interests once they read the side effects of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. Of course they could have a nurse standing by, but this would hardly be conducive to exciting sex.
Hypochondriacs love to take the latest drugs, because they think that they suffer from whatever is being advertised. They all need Xanax for perpetual anxiety, while reading or viewing the ads. But side effects from Xanax include dizziness, abdominal cramps, irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, etc., etc.. While these are not considered life threatening everything scares the card-carrying hypochondriac. Now the medical profession will have to come up with a drug to take the anxiety out of the anxiety drug.
Many people suffer from sleep deprivation. This includes the hypochondriac (who sleeps like a baby, but thinks he doesn’t) and is constantly searching for a magical sleeping pill. The most popular remedy is the drug Ambien. There is no question about its effectiveness, but the directions do not inspire confidence. They tell you to take the pill right before bedtime and be ready for the sudden onset of sleep. So for anyone whose bed is far from the kitchen, where one usually takes their pills, he could fall in a heap on the way to the bedroom. Those smart enough to take the pill in bed, will hope that they can put the glass down before spilling the water all over themselves. Once overcoming the supersonic time line, it is important to avoid reading about the side effects. Housemates should be alerted that raiding the refrigerator in a deep sleep or sleepwalking into the car and driving are fairly common side effects. There was the Patrick Kennedy story, where he sleep drove himself into a telephone pole, with the use of Ambien providing a strong defense. The other, more boring, side effects of Ambien, include shortness of breath, tongue swelling and amnesia.
Being a chronic insomniac, I tried Ambien. Once I fell off the bed and cut my head on the end table (with a vague memory of having done so). But, undaunted, I tried it again, only I had to take another half to fall asleep. My visiting family came in late and saw a strange sight at the head of the stairs. Grandpa David was sitting on the floor and pounding as if playing the drums. They were convinced that Grandpa was “losing it.” Not wishing to become part of the trade literature, I stopped taking the pill. It is apparent that I don’t have natural rhythm, and my sensitive stomach will not tolerate random raids of the refrigerator.
I never joined the United Confederation of Hypochondriacs, but I do take a few drugs. Lipitor for cholesterol proudly boasts of kidney and liver failure, skeletal breakdown, dark-colored urine and muscle pains. That’s Shangra-La for hypochondriacs. I am a victim of an under publicized side effect of the anti-acid Tagamet. Having avoided agitation, confusion, depression, anxiety, headaches and hallucinations, I have succumbed to the more fascinating side effect of the development of breasts in males. It’s embarrassing to walk into a Haines outlet with my wife and be the only purchaser. I still don’t know my breast size but I try to avoid the lady’s dressing room, for fear of being hauled up on peeping tom charges.
Many drugs have side effects in common. For example there is the prize winning “Don’t stand up too quickly” side effect. What is too quickly? Is it one inch per second from a lying down position? Or .75 inches per second from a sitting up position? Or is it just trial and error, by slowing the rate until you stop passing out or increasing the speed until you pass out? Hypochondriacs get confused by directions. It’s really academic. Most hypochondriacs are convinced that they have torn cartilages in their knees and can’t get up too fast anyway.
Many medications advertise constipation and diarrhea side effects. You can take your choice and be assured that taking medicine for one will cause the other. Then there are monopolistic side effects like in the anti-depressant Amitriptyline. This is great fodder for hypochondriacs. The drug “Helps depression (by acting on Serotonin receptors), can also lower blood pressure (by affecting Norepinephrine receptors), cause blurred vision, dry mouth constipation (by blocking acetylcholine receptors and produce sleepiness and weight gain (by binding to histamine receptors). Now this might seem obvious to the average hypochondriac, but it is news to me.
I have saved the most fascinating side effects for the last. My wife had been diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome. There are two heavily advertised drugs for this affliction, Mirapex and Requip.(which are also recommended for Parkinson’s Disease). In addition to the ubiquitous nausea, headaches, fatigue, and “Don’t stand up too quickly,” there are behavioural side effects. They can create a strong compulsion for sex, shopping and gambling. Feeling incapable of satisfying all of the urges all of the time, I solicited my neighbors to occasionally stand in for me and help me with my problem. The response was less than gratifying. None of them would help with the shopping. One offered to help with the gambling. They all offered to serve as sex surrogates for a day or two per week, provided I pay for the Viagra. Fearing I would be legally responsible for the side effects, I decided to “take my medicine” like a man.