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Dr. Gloria, Medicine Woman

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2007-05-08


I was chatting with a friend of mine on the phone a while back and the conversation shifted to the shrinking middle class. After a few choice words about Bush, my friend said the middle class was in a difficult place: they weren’t earning much, but they earned too much to get any real help. My friend is attending school full time, but in order to get maximum financial aid, she can’t take a summer job, because that would knock her family out of the income bracket eligible for assistance.

Before that, I’d made the remark that it’s almost as if the deck is stacked against the middle class. People are struggling to get by on what they earn, and if they have any hopes of going to college, they have to borrow huge sums of money, because I don’t know of any middle class family that can afford to pay cash for tuition. If you can’t afford to buy stuff that’s a necessity, you have two choices: try and save money for your purchase (and if you’re making less than $250 a week, good luck to you) or whip out the credit card. If your car needs repairs and you need your car to get to work and you don’t have any money saved because you’re barely scraping by to begin with, you’ll go the credit card route just about every single time.

Anyway, from the struggle of the middle class came the natural segue into the health care system, one of my favorite topics. My friend made the remark that her neck was really killing her, and another friend of hers offered some anti-inflammatory medicine. “Now, don’t take all of these at once,” said her friend, and my friend laughed. “Of course not,” she said.

Ahhh, necessity, mother of invention. If we don’t have health care or prescription drug cards, we do the next best thing: bum medicine from our friends. Women, God bless them, are great at that. My friend made the observation that if you are in a group of women and ask if anyone has any ibuprofen, chances are purses will pop open and you’ll end up with a cornucopia of medicine to choose from. My own mother instructed me to keep a pill container with aspirin in my purse. Unfortunately, sometimes I ignored this advice. I remember one time at Cedar Point, a headache was threatening to lay me out flat, after the obligatory puking session. I asked a woman in the restroom if she had anything for a headache, and out came a couple of painkillers. I thanked her profusely, and my day at CP continued without vomit and with considerably less pain until the park closed.

I don’t know if this is just a female thing; but something tells me women are more familiar with pain than men. Men bury their emotions until they decide to deal with them by grabbing the ol’ assult rifle and gunning down innocents, but women have a far more civilized approach. We call our women friends, eat lots of chocolate, and cry. Oh, and pass the Vicodin, wouldya?

Recently, after a freak out session, my friend asked me why I was so upset. “Are you taking your anti-anxiety medication?” I admitted I wasn’t, but that I was saving it up to take it right before an important test I was trying to pass. She strongly suggested that I start taking it again, and if I ran out, to just get more. I said I would, and mentioned that yet another friend was stressing out over her child and recently asked me if I had any drugs. “I have Lorazapam,” I said. Her eyes lit up. “It’s a ‘Pam,’” she said, in a delighted tone of voice. “Yeah, it’s generic Ativan, I think,” said I. “You want some?”

So I gave her four of my tablets. She popped one and shortly thereafter declared she was feeling better. To be honest though, she’d just dropped off her kid at the babysitter’s, so maybe that was all it took.

Any physicians reading this will no doubt shake their heads at what transpired. But we women just can’t help ourselves. When one of our sisters is ailing, we’ll come to the rescue. Why? It’s just our nature to “make it all better.” Plus, when you go to a friend for meds, you never, EVER have to show your prescription and/or insurance card. No insurance? No problem. And we won’t make you wait in a freezing cold examining room for a half hour wearing a flimsy paper gown either. Take two Vicodin and call me in the morning. And eat some chocolate, while you’re at it.

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