Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Winner!

I dusted this one off, re-worked it, and sent it in to America's Funniest Humor Writing Contest - and it won! The judges must be desperate again. You can check it out at

Anyway - here it is, with thanks to my sister Susan for the true story about squirting lemon juice into my eyes as a kid.

Health Care Now and Then

The world of health care, which has inspired so much calm and thoughtful debate recently, will be much better off now that Americans have settled all their differences.

Oh sure, there may be a teensy weensy little argument over which government bureaucracy will decide when and how people will die, but for the most part, things are looking pretty rosy in the
health arena these days.

Things are not quite so clear in the over-the-counter medicine world however, where we have a problem with choices. Allow me to illustrate this lucid reasoning.

I recently went to the drugstore for some kid’s cold remedies. As I wandered around the pain medication aisle(s) I selected a box of Children’s Tylenol Cold, then I grabbed Tylenol Dry Cough and Runny Nose, then some Tylenol Cough, Sneezing, Whining, Sore Throat, Carbuncles and Runny Nose, and finally a bottle of Tylenol Extra Strength Mostly Phlegm.

I also got Tylenol Zits, Tylenol Smelly Pee after Eating Asparagus, and Tylenol Sweat, Boils and Tumors, just to be safe.

There were flavors too - Cherry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Peach, Pine, New Car Smell, Diesel, Napalm, and Grilled Cheese.

I could administer the medication via liquid, tablets, liquid filled tablets, capsules, round pills, coated pills, caplets, nose drops, eye drops, suppositories, skin patches, needle injections, .22 caliber rimfire cartridges, caulking gun, postal delivery, taxi-cab, Morse code or Federal Express.

Contrast this confusing variety with the health substances we had growing up in the 60’s – Aspirin, Phenergan, and a thick red liquid we were told was Penicillin.

I have no idea what Phenergan was but we got it all the time. It may have just been rum in a medicine bottle for all we knew (hey…it was the sixties…have another brownie).

Here is how medical care used to work – it was simple:

Kid has fever so high Mom is cooking fried eggs on kid’s tummy? Aspirin.

Kid wakes up with spots everywhere and urps all over the kitchen? Phenergan.

Kid comes home covered in hideous scabs from ‘riding’ bike all day with no helmet? Nothing.
“Stop oozing all over the floor, I just waxed it!” Mom would say. “Now go wash up for supper”

Mom would reluctantly spoon penicillin into us only after our feverish, yellow eyeballs rolled up into our blotchy foreheads as we drifted into unconsciousness on our way to the hospital, and not a minute sooner because that stuff was expensive.

So you see, we didn’t have a health care in the world back then. Medicine was simple, yet effective. Everyone died by age 40 of course, but I’d like to ignore that point right now.

The nice thing about medicine is the human body is very resilient. You can do almost anything to it and it will usually recover, amputations excepted.

For example, my sister and her evil companion once squirted lemon juice into my eyes during a rousing game of “Let’s Torture the Little Brother We Promise It Won’t Hurt, Honest!”

Medical authorities today claim my poor eyesight is a result of astigma-something and not ‘Shrivelling of the eyeballs as caused by lemon juice infusion at age 5.’

The fact my spectacles today are as thick as a glass coffee table bears no relation whatsoever to this small act of sibling playfulness I am sure.

I forget what I was talking about.

Ah yes – health care.

In closing, here is a parting medical gift:

When a Spiderman Band-Aid does not staunch the flow of spurting arterial blood from
somewhere, remember what the guys from the TV show “Emergency!” used to do, and start an IV of Ringers Lactate.

I have no idea what that is but it usually worked, and the handsome Doctor at the hospital
always called for it.

If that doesn’t work, then I suggest a dose of Phenergan and transport immediately.

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