Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Age of Aquarius

One of the miracles of modern medicine is the progress made in medication to help and, in some cases, manage mental illnesses. Now, if you have ever been prescribed any of these medications, you are probably aware of the side effects some of them may have on certain people. 

The "fun" in all this is that a doctor really has no way of truly knowing what side effects may appear on any given patient. Trying psychotropic drugs, is akin to throwing spaghetti against a wall - if it sticks (ie works) then great. If it slides off (ie either doesn't relieve any symptoms or causes severe side effects) it is back to the drawing board.

To make it even more "painful", some drugs take as long as 4-6 weeks to take effect and provide any relief (or show side effects). In my case it took me and my doctor 2 years of trial and error to come up with an effective drug cocktail (combination of several medications) that helped me manage my issues without any severe side effects. During that time I suffered through weight gain, sleeplessness, agitation, shaking, lack of concentration, and total aloofness.

Paying attention to drugs ads, I wonder if the drug companies are quite sure of what they created. For example one drug (I will not give the name) is advertised to help make one's current medication for depression more effective. However, in the small print (or in this case mentioned very quickly by a calm and reassuring voice at the end of the commercial) it says:

Warning: If you experience any of the following, stop taking the medication and immediately call your physician:
  • Increased gambling, sexual, or other overpowering urges
  • Depressed mood, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, crying spells, aggression or agitation, changes in behavior, hallucinations 
  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Blurred vision, sudden and severe headache or pain behind your eyes, sometimes with vomiting
  • Fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms
In very rare instances, the drug has been known to cause the following:
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Constipation, flatulence, and vomiting
  • Hearing problems, hearing loss, or ringing in your ears
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Sleepwalking, and also eating, making phone calls, having sex and driving while asleep
  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • Coma or death
Seriously? Wasn't the purpose of this drug to "help make one's current medication for depression more effective"? Uhm, Seizures? Anxiety? Convulsions? Coma? Suicide? Death? Define "effective". I'll take my chance with what I am currently taking.

No wonder it took 2 years for me to find something that worked. I'm surprised I survived without developing some additional physical or mental issue, such as a third eye, severe anxiety, or death.

But, I digress.

I was amazed at the attitude folks had with taking their prescribed medication. Peter (who was convinced no one liked him and his mother called him names) told the therapist he did not take his medication because it did not work. The therapist reminded him that he may have to take it for several weeks before he could see any results.

George (who was convinced aliens were communicating to him through the flickering lights and talked with Jesus twice a week on Channel 18) only took his morning medication due to his schedule, unless he was home for supper, then he would take his evening medication - if he remembered.

"And are they working for you?" asked the therapist.

"Well, yes and no. I think I feel better mentally, but I am having problems sleeping, I have headaches, and blurred vision."

Margaret (who wanted the aliens to take her children) said she took all her medication at the appropriate time. Although she said she had talked with her dear friends in her garden club and they seemed to be taking a more effective medication that she had seen advertised on TV. She was going to discuss this with her doctor.

Diane, Levi ("all" of him), John, and Ruth said they took all their medication at the appropriate time. They understood how important it was and had seen some improvement due to the drugs.

But my favorite was Judy's response. She said she took her blue and green drugs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The white ones she took on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Any other colors she took on Sunday. The therapists asked her, "Are you taking these as prescribed?"

"Well, yes. I take all of them."

"But, didn't the doctor tell you that your medication needed to be taken daily and that some may need to be taken in the morning and some at night?"

"We did not discuss that. I set up my schedule so I was taking the pills according to the astrological chart. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are under the sign of Aquarius, so those would be my blue and green days. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday fall under Virgo, so white is appropriate."

"And on Sunday?" the therapist asked out of total curiosity.

"Oh, I just had pills left over so I figured that was the best day to catch up."

"How is that working out for you?"

"I'm still having some problems thinking straight and now I can't sleep. But my doctor told me it would take some time for the medication to take effect."

"And when was that?"

"About 6 months ago."

"Judy, if you cannot see any difference in 4-6 weeks, you definitely need some adjustment in your medication. I'm really surprised your doctor hasn't already made some changes. Have you discussed this with him?"

"Oh, every time I see him I tell him I doing well because I have faith. According to the charts, Saturn will rise in the east in 3 more months and that will coincide with a near Lunar eclipse. On that day everything will come together and my medication will make me better."

The therapist hesitated, "Well, I think your doctor would be very interested in how that works. You should explain that to him next time you see him."

Let me reword my initial comments about the great strides that have been made in the modern medication, especially in psychotropic drugs. I feel certain that the drugs could be optimally effective if they are taken as prescribed despite Saturn rising and Lunar eclipses. But check back in 3 months, who knows, I may be "cured". But then my moon has never been in the 7th house and my Jupiter is not aligned with Mars.

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