Side Effects. They can be a real player hater. We Americans love our medications. Let me amend that; we love what they can do for us. Personally, I wish I could pitch all of mine right now. At the same time, I am ever grateful to science for medications that protect my transplanted kidney from my space-invaders-like immune system just looking to blast that foreign organ. (Change Space Invaders to Halo 3 if you’re under 30.)
Most of us benefit from the medications we take. For some, they are a complete necessity and practically a miracle. However, I long for that single “wonder drug” out there, just waiting to be discovered in tree sap on some uninhabited island. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one that would fix problem hearts, lungs, brains, kidneys and halitosis without a single, nasty side effect.
It appears that I’m suffering one such side effect right now (crazy swelling). That piqued my curiosity and put me on a search for strange side effects that other poor saps are enduring. It’s like these medications are sneaky little monsters. “Psst, hey buddy, come here. You need help with your moods? Sure I’ll help you! Oh, by the way, I just might give you abdominal pain and vomiting too. Is it a deal?”
Here are some of my favorite possible side effects so far:
- I always adore medications that have contradictory side effects, like the ones that say they could cause drowsiness AND insomnia. Awesome! Who doesn’t want to be exhausted, yet unable to sleep?
- There is always the old standby, “may cause anal leakage” I guess that’s better than “may completely block anus.”
- I noticed a medication that listed “foul-smelling feces” as a side effect. First off, I assume they are talking about a more than normal foul smell, or why else would they list it. If something is going to make poop smell worse than, well, poop, you’ve got a problem. It might as well say, “Co-workers will secretly start calling you ‘stinky’ behind your back. It would be best if you never use the restroom at work or within 100 feet of family members at home. In fact, you should get an outhouse.”
- How about high blood pressure medication that lists “erectile dysfunction” as a potential side effect? If there is a guy out there who thinks this is a fair trade to have a little lower blood pressure, I’d like to meet him. Wait, no I wouldn’t.
- On the other hand, Viagra and some other drugs like it list potential side effects that include nasal congestion and heartburn. I’m pretty sure most guys WOULD take this trade off. Let’s call it 99% and be done with it. Unless, of course they have one of those dreaded 4-hour erections mentioned in the t.v. ads.
- One heavily prescribed medication states that it may cause “dark urine.” I’m thinking this would only be a big deal to the few people with weird fetishes out there. They may miss the golden hue they had before. Most of us, though, who do not show off our urine frequently, could live with this one. The same drug, however, also lists “yellow” skin. This might be more a problem. I’m no doctor, but it sounds like it takes the yellow right out of your pee and puts it in your skin. That’s doesn’t sound so good. Another drug lists potential, unwanted “changes in the amount of your urine.” What do you do if you’re in the middle of an important meeting. You’re boss isn’t going to believe you if you step out to use the bathroom and you’re gone for 35 minutes.
- “Unusual skin growths” is another not-so-pleasant sounding side effect. What are we talking here? A small mole-like thing on the back? That would be tolerable. Something that looks like a third ear hanging off the side of the face might not be so swell.
- Some drugs list behavioral side effects. “May cause hostility” I can hear that person’s friends talking about him. “Jim has really changed. He used to just have high cholesterol, now he’s a complete $%#&^%$“
Why can’t we have some fun side effects? I’d like to see:
- May cause your skin to smell like black cherry Kool-Aid.
- May give you the ability to see through the clothing of attractive members of the opposite sex.
- May make you crave only a healthy, balanced diet. “Wow, this artichoke tastes just like Doritos!”
- May add crazy muscle tone to your body. Be prepared to become a model.
- May add at least 50 points to your I.Q.
- May give you an innate ability to tame wild animals, including tigers, alligators and Tasmanian devils.
- May give you a slight skin tingle “warning” five minutes before a solicitor knocks on your door.
But, no, we’re stuck with anal leakage and vomiting. It’s just not right. You know what will happen next, don’t you? Someone will find the absolute treatment to cure all cancer. The problem? It “may” also cause arm and leg amputations, intolerable buzzing/screeching in your ear, head explosions, green gaseous skin emissions that are fatal to family members, and, as one last added bonus, constipation.
I guess we just have to face it. No matter how many prescriptions we take, we certainly aren’t meant to stay on this planet forever, and if trying to do so means living with a bunch of anal-leaking, massive peeing, foul-smelling, angry insomniacs with freaky skin growths and four-hour erections, then count me out.