Tim Istock column: Ask your doctor if this column is right for you

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2023

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By Tim Istock

So you’ve all no doubt seen the recent spate of slick TV ads touting the latest in medications for diabetes, AFib, cancer, arthritis, depression or whatever else ails you.

Here’s an example:

“Tired of hiding your red, itchy, scaly skin? If you answered yes, then it’s time you asked your doctor about Dermahide, (locoyokoskinamab), a once monthly injection shown to help most people see clearer skin in 3 months.

(Cut to scene with smiling man rock climbing El Capitan at Yosemite National Park, a smiling woman paddling a kayak through Class V rapids on the Colorado River as it slices through the Grand Canyon, or any number of other smiling exuberant people doing a host of fun and exciting things.)

“Dermahide may lower your ability to fight infection which can lead to hospitalization and death. Before starting Dermahide, tell your doctor if you have a cough, fever, chills, or other signs of infection, are pregnant or plan to get pregnant, or prefer Texas Pete over ketchup on your French fries.

(Cut to scene of smiling rock climber high fiving other smiling rock climbers atop El Capitan, and smiling kayaker sitting around a riverside campfire with other smiling kayakers.)

“Potential side effects include but are not limited to: kidney failure, flesh eating bacteria, sudden cardiac arrest, brain aneurysms, liver failure, blindness, anaphylactic shock, deafness, chronic depression with random psychotic breaks, excessive toe jam, unremitting flatulence, pervasive body odor, serial boogers, and nose hair dreadlocks. Tell your doctor about worsening vision, breathing difficulties, or extra appendages growing out of your body.”

“So talk to your doctor about once monthly Dermahide and start seeing clearer skin today.”

Hmmm . .  okay, so I’m just curious. Do folks suffering from these targeted maladies simply tune out the mention of these so called “potential” side effects, side effects, that on the surface, at least, appear to be as bad, if not worse, than the condition it is intended to address?

“You know hon, I think I’ll talk to my doctor about starting me on a trial of that Dermahide. I’ve had it with this crusty, itchy skin.”

“Listen babe, I know you have, but what about all of those nasty potential side effects?”

“Risk schmisk. The way I see it, even if it kills me, I can at least take comfort knowing my skin will look good at my viewing.”

Oh, and don’t forget the obligatory parting warning:

“Don’t take Dermahide if you are allergic to Dermahide.”

Well sure, that makes sense, except for one teensie weensie little detail. If this miracle drug represents a brand spanking new product fresh off the pharmaceutical conveyor belt, meaning I’ve never had occasion to be on it before, how in Dr. Seuss’ name am I supposed to know whether I am allergic to it or not?

And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking chances once in a while, I mean, Columbus did, right? But when we’re talking about throwing down with a drug that may have me pushing up daisies, well, I’m not real sure I want to be adopting a, here, take this and let’s see what happens, approach. Trial and error is one thing if we’re talking about trying out a new brand of peanut butter, but when hospitalization and death are a couple of the potential consequences on the table, well, that’s a horse pill of a different color, now isn’t it?

So what’s a sick bloke to do?

Easy, read more humor columns, after all, laughter truly is the best medicine in the world. And hey, no side effects, except maybe an occasional stitch in the side or the prospect of expelling a mouthful of beverage out of your schnoz.

Feel better? Excellent, glad I could help. I’ll send you a bill.

What? I never said the advice was free.