I’m a recent convert to medicine. After a lifetime of relative health, I had this idea that most medicines were just a corporate conspiracy. The whole idea of taking drugs to feel better seemed naïve. I’d take an Advil if I had to but I definitely tried to avoid it. I think I thought of taking medication as a kind of weakness.
But then I ran into a chronic migraine condition and after months and months of no improvement – suddenly with new medications, the environment improved by 80% and the magic powder could sometimes just make the migraine vanish. The magic powder worked better the sooner I took it – and it soon became clear that I could either take the medicine or look down the barrel of a day or two or three of abject misery. I came to understand that there was no benefit in resisting medication. Suffering through intense pain offers no rewards.
It would not make me stronger.
And so I became a believer. And I now understand how ableist and ridiculous I had been before. Medicine can be a miracle, it can be a literal lifesaver and it can also radicaly improve a quality of life. It can make the difference between rocking back and forth in the dark and going out into the world and participating in life.
I’m such a convert that now I think about Laertes’ declaration that no medicine in the world will do Hamlet good and I think – Really?
Not in the whole world? How much of the world have you seen, young man?
I’m certain this unction was sold to him as deadly – with no antidote – but I now have so much faith in medicine, I think “There must be SOME medicine that could forestall these young mens’ deaths.” But even if there was – they would not get their hands on it in enough time to save them.