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Posted: October 8, 2011 5:46 p.m.

McCoy: Prescription for a nightmare

I'm at my desk, looking at all my prescriptions. Here's one I started when my thyroid went on strike; here's one for my cholesterol; and here's one that all newspaper humor columnists are required to take. How did this happen? When I was a kid, I used nothing stronger than half a baby aspirin. When I had my tonsils out, I think I got a whole one. We just weren't a pill-popping family. Now, I'm surrounded by prescription medicines that promise me a longer and healthier life, if I'll just swallow it all. I guess they work. I hope they work. But I do know we need better warnings about side effects. Some of the pills I've taken were just nightmarish.

Consider the cholesterol pill. It came with the usual warnings, but it didn't tell me about the dreams. For three straight nights, after starting this new pill, I had dreams about lost luggage. One night I was in a hotel and couldn't find my briefcase. The next night, I was on an airplane, arguing with an old lady who had my bag. The next night, a high school friend and I were trying to find my suitcase. I checked the information for this pill. Nowhere did it say, "Warning: This medicine may cause you to dream about lost luggage." That's a pretty big oversight! I don't operate heavy machinery for a living. Why do they warn me about that, but don't mention the luggage? I'll never understand modern medicine.

A few years ago, some prescription medicines I was taking interacted in a strange way, and for one entire week, everything was fine, sweet, lovely, perfect. You get the idea. The pills were making me way more optimistic than I should have been. While I was still recovering from their influence, I went to a Brooks Brothers sale and bought eight fancy wool dress pants that were a few sizes smaller than I could actually wear. That optimism was still coursing through my veins, but my stomach wasn't going to play along. It's been over two years now, and I'm still too big for my new britches. I should call the pharmaceutical company and suggest they add, "Warning: This medicine may impair your ability to judge your actual pants size." Maybe, I'll tell them I was operating heavy machinery when I bought my pants. That seems to be important to them.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers and can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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