Monday, October 3, 2011

Swallow. There now, you're all better.

Mmmm.....quite the day and it's not even 2:30 on this rainy fall afternoon. I awoke to grumpy children after nearly losing a game of strip poker that surprisingly included my boss, my neighbor, & the mailman. (what, you don't dream like this?) Thank God for coffee makers with timers and toaster waffles--these two things save me from killing the boys on a regular basis. My 94 yr-old grandmother is staying with us for a few weeks to give my parents a break. This experience traverses a scale with a range from "Oh, how darling and cozy as she gets to spend cherished time with her great grand-children doing puzzles and drinking hot cocoa" to "Yes, Gramma--you need to put your teeth in to eat, I don't know where you left them."


He left for work, the children packed safely off to school carrying clarinets, clean gym uniforms and lunches. I settle Gramma on the couch for a very LOUD episode of Matlock and Hazel curls up at her feet. I attempt to bike for 20 minutes while watching Grahm, really I drank more coffee. Dressed, found the keys and off to do the shopping, hit the deli, & refill the wine rack. By the time I returned, I distinctly resembled a drowned rat, and the eleventeen trips with bags into the house didn't help matters.

Hot tea, deep breath. I love coming home. I spend actual TIME on how our home smells, hitting up this little import shop for the most delish incense that somehow magically combines clove and exotic spices with sandalwood and brown sugar. Y.u.m. However, beef burgundy was on the menu for tonight (seriously, any reason to open a bottle of wine at noon) and so I began seasoning the beef, browning it till the pan was lined with scrumptious crispy bits. In with the onion, a rasher of bacon for smoky lust, carrots and celery and half ( a bottle of wine....mmmmm, the aroma was heavenly. After simmering for a few hours, I'll finish it with cream and the boys will love walking through the door this afternoon. I put the bread dough on the back of the stove to rise, get Grandma some lunch and tuck her in for a nap.

Alright, switch up the laundry, sweep the entryway, vacuum the living room....and can I sit now? With a fresh cup of tea, I nestle into a corner of the couch with a magazine a neighbor had passed on. September's issue of Health--sporting a cover which told me I could melt 12 lbs in 28 days without hunger, purchase 8 energy foods, and "YES YOU CAN!" get stronger, cook healthier, and feel amazing every day!  Sha-zam, can we just bottle the cover?

And speaking of bottles....

By the time I had turned a mere 20 pages, I was in shock. I went and got a pen and paper and starting on page one, began to write the names of the drugs advertised. Lovaza, Cimzia, Abilify, Lyrica, Orencia, Restasis, Vesicare & Viviscal....twelve all told. This did not include the six suppliment ads promising vitality and sexual fulfillment, the diet pills and programs (5 total) and I haven't even gotten to the FOUR PAGE spread on Botox! Perhaps most frightening was the pull-out two page poster, "Yoga For A Beautiful Body" on which the entire back was two pages explaining Pristiq and the risk vs gain of its consumption.

What. The. Hell?

It was as if this magazine was one long subliminal (??) message that you need drugs. You are not good enough. You are not happy enough or thin enough or have enough eye lashes the way the good Lord above created you. Yet every model for the wrinkle creams didn't have them, and the poor bent over Pristique lady was facing a mirror image of her smiling self. The yoga chick was already in smashing shape and Allergy Woman was rolling about in a hayfield with a hairy dog. If you don't like.....anything....they've got a bottle with a pill for you, baby. The the results are dreamboat! (psssst, remember the titanic....)

I know depression. I divorced my first husband. I have three sons, I therefore understand stress. Anxiety and I sit down for tea once every few weeks. I have been on welfare after that divorce, gone hungry, and worked my ass off to get back on my feet and stand tall. There is no pill for that. I find, in general, that anything easy isn't worth a damn. If a pill can fix it, you're in more trouble than you know. Now PLEASE understand that I am SO glad that we live in a world of modern medicine that actually makes miracles possible. Cancer, diabetes, leukemia--we have amazing medicines that have altered the direction of humanity! (my youngest son, 11 lb hulk that he was, and I would have died if it were not for medicine and
c-sections) And there are times--absolutely--when medication is part of the answer. But a pill without change inside of ourselves--is just a lifelong addiction....dressed up with a prescription.

I suppose, most of all, I am appalled at the message in this magazine whose very title is "Health." It contains zippy recipes for new yogurt smoothies, and a fab way to do squats...but the real message?

Exactly what is healthy?

It is so much more than what is in the mirror, on the scale, in or a bottle.  It isn't instant....ever.

How have we lost track of that?


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Great post. Drugs are big business, and drug company ads support a whole lot of activities, some obvious and some not so much. I don't know what agenda the Health magazine publishers have, other than to make money, but you're right, just taking drugs doesn't constitute good health.

Out on the prairie said...

I think if I stay away from that mag I may feel healthier. I have been given a barrage of things to take through the years and one often wonders what their backlash might be.Then you have a 94 year old on the couch, what got her to this age?

Anonymous said...

Exactly!! I noticed this when I started subscribing to Woman's Day this year. You can't turn 3 pages without seeing some sort of medicinal ad. When I tell people that no one in our family takes any regular medications, they always seem shocked. Well, no wonder! TV and magazines make it seem like everybody can't live without some sort of daily pill. I'm scared to think what all these medications are doing to people longterm. It just doesn't seem safe to me. :o/

Chantel said...

Bliss--you are so right, it's the money. Unfortunately the myth of the "solution in a pill" lives on as we pay on, eh?

Prairie--amen! Gramma is amazing, I can't believe what she's seen and done in her life. As far as what got her to 94--I think it was a combination of stubbornness and honesty, I think most of us could use a little more of these.

Sarah Kate--I know what you mean, it frightens me that even now there are "did you take____, if so, call and join this lawsuit..." commercials for things that have been advertised in my lifetime. Prozac when you were pregnant, acutane....things friends of mine took. I'll stick to au natural, thank you! (and keep my wrinkles and spots and....) lol