It is almost surreal to visit a doctor for the first time and have to indicate on the new patient form that you don’t take any prescription medications. When it is time to actually see the doctor face-to-face, it is not an unusual to see a quizzical look on their face upon learning you really don’t take any prescriptions.
This writer was made aware of this very thing on a recent visit to have a handicap parking placard renewed. I hadn’t been to the office in quite a while, simply because there was no need to visit my GP. So when she asked whether I took any prescription medications, I dutifully told her ‘no’.
The moment I verbalized my lack of prescription medications, I realized that I was:
- incredibly fortunate;
- terribly obstinate;
- abnormally cognizant;
- well-informed; or
- too dumb for my own good.
I had the sense to not ask the doctor’s opinion. Though in her defence, she is probably gracious enough to have told me I am just well-informed. I like to think that as well.
I Am Fortunate
Truth be told, I am fortunate that I do not have to take multiple prescription medications to keep me going. I don’t have to entertain the debate over purchasing prescription medications online from Canada Pharmacy versus the corporate pharmacy chain with five locations within 10 minutes of my home.
I know other people who take three or more medications daily. My wife has one prescription, and at least one of my children has several of them. I have friends who take more prescription medications in a month than I have taken in a year.
I count myself quite blessed. Despite being stricken with a neurological disability that limits my mobility and makes it difficult to think sometimes, there are no medications for it. The condition itself is not life-threatening, either. It is inconvenient and challenging, but I am still functional.
No Good Reason to Complain
When I think about the fact that I do not take any regular prescription medications, I am reminded that I have no good reason to complain. Millions of others are in the same position. We like to complain about every little inconvenience under the sun, but we have it surprisingly good.
How many of us really understand what it means to be kept alive by medication? Not being in that position, we cannot fathom having to constantly think about making sure prescriptions are filled on time. We cannot imagine the thought of a prescription being delivered to the front door only to be stolen by porch pirates. We don’t have to fight with insurance companies or find a new pharmacy every time our employers switch health insurance.
Our System Is Broken
Such sober thinking often points this writer to the fact that our healthcare delivery system is broken. It is not the entire system as a whole; it is the delivery system. Moreover, the delivery system is broken because the payment system is broken.
The realization is made much more painful by the knowledge that fixing the system isn’t hard to do. A few simple changes to the regulatory and insurance structures would do the trick. So then why don’t we do it? Because fixing the system would be painful – at least in the short term. We would rather maintain the status quo than endure the pain.
I am fortunate to not have to take prescription medications. I am fortunate that the pharmacy is not an organization I have to do regular business with. For that I am truly grateful.