Founder’s Forum: Side Effects and Old Age

JB Lester The Healthy Planet

By J.B. Lester

I was having a conversation with my 84-year-old mother-in-law about the health challenges we both have encountered in our lives and how we are amazed that modern medicine has kept us alive and kicking. We have battled cancer, blood clots, heart trouble, hernias, surgeries and more, and yet here we are sitting on the couch chatting.

Yes, modern medicine is amazing. People live longer for sure. But don’t be fooled. Doctors are just people like you and me. They have knowledge and experience in their field and yet there is much they still don’t know. The human body is the most complex organism on the planet. Gray’s Anatomy is the road map, but cells have a mind of their own and they often go haywire and create chaos where normalcy once prevailed. In a perfect world we all live happy and healthy lives with no real medical issues. But in the real world, we are just temperamental tubs of water and carbon and sometimes the pieces of the puzzle just don’t fit right.

Everything has a life span – a use-by date. Ours can be predetermined by genetics or by environmental factors. Quite frankly, it’s a roll of the dice. My parents died young and one of my grandfathers lived to be 99. But one thing we know, the older you get the more things begin to break down. It happens with cars, refrigerators, lawn mowers, even golf swings. Nothing stays fresh and new forever.

There are drugs that keep you going but everything comes with consequences. Just like we told our children all their lives. So is the way with drugs. This pill will help alleviate this problem, but you will have this side effect. Then a new drug comes out that has fewer side effects, but it costs more than you can afford. Medicare doesn’t cover it because it’s too new. Wait a few years until the generic comes out, if you have those years left to wait.

I took a muscle relaxant that helped with muscle spasms, but it made my mouth so dry I had no saliva. I also couldn’t sweat, so simple yard work almost created heat stroke. What the heck? So, you must decide on the symptoms or the side effects.

Life was easier when I was younger. The body has an amazing way to heal itself. It just has a harder time as we get older. Our immune systems aren’t as strong, and our components and mechanisms break down. We aren’t supposed to live forever. It’s the way of life. But it would be nice if old age came with fewer side effects from the drugs that are supposed to help relieve the pain and suffering we are experiencing. I appreciate what modern medicine has done for me. I am now cancer free thanks to a skilled surgeon, and soon I hope to be totally healed and side effect free from the drugs prescribed for my healing process.

After all, we are just looking for some quality of life in our senior years. I hope your days are bright and your side effects are light.