What I am thankful for — in the present and for the future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2018

It’s that time of year when we stop to think about all of the things in our lives for which we are thankful. It’s easy in these hectic times to get so caught up in just living that we forget to appreciate and be grateful for the things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable.  

Family and friends are always at the top of most lists, as are good health and good fortune. I certainly rank those first two highest on my gratitude list. My 95-year-old father, my sister and her family, my children and their spouses and offspring are all incredible blessings in my life, and since all of those people live in other places, I’m enormously grateful for good friends. Sometimes those friends feel like family and that certainly is an added blessing.

Then, after people in my life, there are comforts to be grateful for … like knowing that for my advancing age I’m in pretty good health, still able to be active, take walks, ride a bicycle and play the occasional game of pickleball. I have (at the moment) reasonably affordable health care, a roof over my head and the ability to supplement my fixed income with a freelance writing career.

So, these are all of things I will be giving thanks for when I sit down for that traditional Thanksgiving meal with my daughter, my three grandsons and my ex-husband this year. Unfortunately, my son-in-law, a doctor in the Army, is deployed at the moment and will only be a voice over the telephone this Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas, but I am extremely grateful for his service to our country and look forward to his safe return in early 2019.

Which brings me to items I would like to be thankful for in the future. It is a long list, and admittedly, largely politically inspired, but I will skip over that and go right to another priority item. I would be so very thankful if pharmaceutical companies were no longer allowed to advertise on television. I don’t understand why medications requiring a doctor’s prescription need to be advertised in all their unpleasant, embarrassing or confusing details while I’m watching the news or sitcom. If I have a medical problem, I probably have already gone or will be going to see my doctor, whom I assume stays up-to-date on medical advancements such as new drug treatments. I don’t ever recall going in and telling the doctor which drug I’d like to take. I might mention drug allergies, but in 99.9 percent of the time, I’m going to trust his or her judgment on which suits my particular condition best. Anyway, all those side effects they speed read at the end are enough to scare any reasonable person away.

I think it makes sense to advertise products that you can purchase over the counter — allergy medications, Rolaids versus Tums, and who didn’t love that catchy little tune …. “plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.” But Cialis? And while I love professional golfer Phil Mickelson, if I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, I’m sure my specialist already knows all about Enbrel and Humira and which I should be taking.

Can you imagine what it must cost to run those advertisements during the prime-time television hours? I doubt Phil Mickelson as your spokesperson comes cheap. If the companies didn’t need to purchase ad time and pay celebrities or actors, the price of the drugs should be able to drop significantly, which circles us back to that old “affordable” health care idea.

Anyway, just my opinion. Happy Thanksgiving.