If you are currently pill-popping, is it time to review your meds, and even stop taking the tablets? I’ll admit it, I’m lucky, I haven’t taken a single prescription tablet for the last 8 years, and I’ve done all I can to avoid the Doctor.
But is my ‘luck’ more about my refusal to go to the Doctors with some of the same symptoms that might make other people get their surgery on speed dial for an appointment as soon as possible?
I’m not saying for one minute that I’m never ill, but if I’m in pain or feeling uncomfortable, I just take a pain killer, or home remedy, and wait for it to go away, and clearly for the past 8 years at least since I decided to stop taking the tablets, that’s exactly what ‘it’ has done!
Take the Christmas of 2018 for example and before Covid had even registered on the tick box of life. A dreaded winter virus knocked the stuffing out of so many people, me included.
I recall coughing my way from Boxing Day through to January and longer, and at its worse, the coughing made me feel as if I was heading for a different kind of coffin.
BUT whilst every man and his dog were sitting in the surgery, spreading the germ love and top trumping each other with their symptoms, I stocked up on a few over-the-counter remedies, drank some honey and lemon tea, and stayed in bed till I felt better.
I survived, it wasn’t nice, but I listened to my body and healed it without prescription medication. Indeed, if I had even gone to the Doctors, I knew I would have been told ‘it’s a virus – antibiotics treat bacteria, not a virus – go home, take paracetamol and some Lemsip. Wait for it to pass. Which it did.
What is the point of going to the doctor with every ache and pain that you feel? It will only result in one thing. TABLETS.
I never fail to be amazed at how many of my normal, lovely friends, seem to hold their tablets in such reverence, and put so much faith in what the Doctor tells them to do without question.
The taking of the tablets is like a religious ritual, to be adhered to without fail, otherwise who knows what the consequences might be. How disappointing if they stopped taking them, and absolutely nothing happened.
Having watched a few friends take their medication, it feels almost like they are enjoying the experience, and actually feel better just by the act of taking the tablet, not by the perceived effect of it.
I have a friend, let’s call him Frank because frankly, I think he’s bonkers. A kindly man of 66 years old, Frank lives his life in awe of his ‘Doctors appointments’. He goes all starry-eyed in the company of his Diabetes Nurse, is no stranger to the eye clinic, and the colonoscopy machine at his local hospital might as well be on first name terms with his rectum.
‘Frank’ takes a cocktail of tablets every day, morning and night. He gets a pint mug of water and then opens the corresponding days’ little drawer on his pill popper. And there they sit like multi-coloured, chemical-filled Tic Tac’s,…… his tablets.
Any query about what any of them might be for brings on a defensive stance which, without words, ‘says’ that the Doctor has prescribed them, so even though he doesn’t know what many of them are for, he MUST carry on taking them.
It turned out that three years ago, he went to the Doctor with pain in his foot, and was prescribed 500mg Paracetamol twice a day, morning and night. He’s been taking this religiously every day ever since!
The daily taking of the painkillers has resulted in uncomfortable bouts of constipation. More fruit to ease this complaint has resulted in some gastric reflux, each symptom requiring another tablet to ease it.
I wondered out loud if the pain may have been due to his choice of footwear. Every day, he wears lightweight canvas style slip-on shoes, with absolutely no support. But they are comfortable he says, and he can’t wear ‘normal’ shoes because he suffers from pain in his feet!
(well he did, 3 years ago)
It must be said here that I acknowledge life-threatening illnesses are a totally different scenario, and worlds apart from the simple everyday complaints that might send you running to the Doctors.
With some simple dietary changes, many minor complaints can be treated successfully or at least eased, without a trip to the doctor or another prescription for the latest ailment. For example, I know to my cost that munching my way through a punnet of delicious cherry tomatoes will result in me hobbling around for days.
After a little research, I discovered that I could be sensitive to something called Solanine, which causes inflammation in the joints. Who knew? But I do now.
Had I gone to the doctors with that complaint, the chances are that I would have been prescribed a pharmaceutical drug more associated with arthritis, or rheumatism. Instead, I simply limit my intake of cherry tomatoes and the symptoms have all but disappeared.
If you have been on a prescribed drug for a long time, is it time to stop taking the tablets and ask the questions the next time you have a routine visit to your Doctor? Ask for a medication review, a trial without them for say a month, or at least a reduction in strength.
Do you really need that tablet for gout that is giving you gyp in your toes, or could you cut out things from your diet that cause a flare-up? Such as red wine, and rather bizarrely, turkey and Brussel sprouts. I made the connection after a particularly vicious bout at Christmas.
Did you also know that common everyday medication, such as Aspirin can have a detrimental effect on Gout, as can diuretics, which are commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure?
How about you, do you put your faith in your Doctor, or avoid going to the surgery like the plague!