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Lisa K. Friedman

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Medical Ads: 'Ask Your Doctor About...'

Posted: 08/14/2012 8:22 am

I was watching the Olympics last night when I felt a twitch in my leg. Then, a burning sensation pinched my knee and I jerked, kicking the remote control right out of my husband's hand. "What's wrong with you?" He asked. "I think I have restless leg syndrome," I said, shifting again. Turns out, it wasn't restless leg syndrome at all. I was sitting on one of my dog's chew toys.

I wish they'd stop running television ads for medical problems. I have a relatively healthy body for a person my age, and yet I'm suddenly concerned about conditions I don't even have. Should I take Boniva to keep my bones strong? Do I need to buy an automatic blood pressure monitor? What about starting on a low dose of Aricept, just in case I get Alzheimer's disease? And, how can I prevent whatever is bothering that poor guy on the bus who's toting around a sloshing bucket of uric acid?

Commercials have come a long way since those matching bathtubs on the hill. Of course I'm still worried about erectile dysfunction, but first I must get a handle on my LDL and HDL. Which one indicates a cholesterol problem again? In just one evening of watching the Olympic games, I was tormented by the miseries of dry eyes, feminine odor, hair loss, night sweats, sleeplessness, toenail fungus, and reflux. I missed the balance beam finals because I was busy taking my own temperature, checking for signs of "the secret killer," better known as generalized inflammation. For people like me, suggestion is a dicey thing. If you suggest it, I will be up all night worrying about it.

And I am not the only one. My sister diagnosed herself with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition neither of us had ever heard of before (and we're the daughters of a gynecologist). "I'm cyclically irritable, depressed and I'm grinding my teeth," she said.

"But you're too old for PMDD." I reminded her we'd both already passed through menopause but she was sure a course of medication was required. "Hey, it's worth a try," was her response.

My cousin bought oracea for her rosy-hued skin. "I never knew what it was called." She was excited. "But it's obvious I have rosacea." I thought her pink cheeks meant she was healthy and excited to see me but I didn't say that. She'd already spent a lot of money on that cream.

My son was determined to cure his acne before he ever sprouted a single pimple. My 78-year-old uncle wanted invisible braces to straighten his six remaining teeth. What is happening here? Judging by our advertising, we are a miserable and complaining collection of pain-riddled dyssomniacs, dyspeptic and constipated, with bad skin and leaky bladders. If humans were cars, we'd be melted down for scrap.

What's next? Lycanthropy? I can picture it already: a sexy vixen in a Victoria's Secret teddy with matte hair coating her shoulders and back like a pelt. Now that's great television! However, I won't worry about turning into a wolf just yet. First, I have to figure out my triglycerides.

 
 
 

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