Some illnesses can be ignored

By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist

I recently learned that many others suspect, like I do, that pharmaceutical companies have people who spend their time studying the human body in search of aberrations. When they find those anomalies, we suspect, they invent medical-sounding names for them. After that, they figure out some drug that supposedly can make it all better and sell said drug to consumers — always, of course, with the admonition, “Ask your doctor if this is right for you.”

Then the advertising campaign, we believe, kicks into gear. Free samples are provided to doctors. Television and newspapers are inundated with advertisements outlining the terrible consequences of this “malady” if left untreated, and bragging on the “medicine” they’re selling.

So I’ve been thinking….what would my cowboy dad say if his top hand showed up at the barn one morning and said, “I don’t think I can help clean corrals today. I didn’t get any sleep last night because of my ‘restless leg syndrome.’”

I’m thinking Dad would say, “Get those restless legs in that first corral and get busy.” I’m also thinking if it happened again the next day, the cowboy would be told to pick up his pay and take his weird legs to town.

What about the cowboy who says he can’t ride to the back side of the east pasture because he has “overactive bladder” and can’t get too far away from the house and a restroom. Let’s just think about that one a minute.

While we’re thinking, let’s picture a professional bull rider beginning to get set in the chute who suddenly lets go his bull rope, climbs over the chute and heads outta there to the bathroom. Does the arena director give him a “time out” because of his … overactive bladder? I don’t think so.

One of my favorite newly coined medical maladies is “chronic fatigue syndrome.” I’m fairly sure I suffer from that one most of the time, so I probably should purchase some of those so-called energy drinks. I read the fine print on one the other day. It contains about the same amount of caffeine as a whole pot of coffee. I figure if I drank that I’d for sure develop “overactive bladder” soon thereafter. Then I’d need to take the medicine for that, which would have another side effect. They would have me right where they want me.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression. They’re gone now, but I can easily imagine their reaction to all this. I remember my dad telling me about a family near starvation in the western New Mexico back country. He killed a deer, dressed it and hung it from a tree behind those people’s house one day just before dawn.

He later heard that father had told the man who ran the post office/general store about a mysterious guardian angel coming to his family’s rescue.

You can bet that family had no restless legs, overactive bladder or chronic fatigue syndromes.

You also can bet those pharmaceutical companies couldn’t get away with this if we all “got a life.”

Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at: