Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Medical Matters and Jello

With thanks to Chuck Muth for posting these two items on his "news and views" e-newsletter!

I have to comment on these two items, even though I don't have an URL for them:

“In Jefferson Parish, La., 8-year-old Kelli Billingsley ‘brought homemade Jell-O cups to school at Boudreaux Elementary,’ reports WGNO-TV in New Orleans. ‘The girl's mom says her daughter was just trying to make a treat for her friends,’ but ‘the school suspended the girl for having a look alike drug,’ despite having tested the Jell-O and finding no trace of alcohol or any other forbidden substance. Things sure have changed since we were young. At our elementary school they had a drinking fountain that dispensed a liquid that looked just like vodka!”- James Taranto’s Best of the Web, 12/7/04

Apparently, it is now popular in some places (teacher's unions, perhaps) to create alcoholic gelatin treats for parties - thus this bizarre little ritual. Despite assurances that they were just plain old Jello (just like Bill Cosby sells!), and despite testing, the second-grader was suspended for nine days - a cruel and unusual punishment indeed when there was no crime to begin with.

“Let the Un-Drugging of America begin. The pharmaceutical industry, despite a golden age of biology that has unraveled mysteries of the genetic code and yielded miracle drugs that save thousands of lives, may be on the brink of a backlash. Millions of us are popping prescription pills for innocuous ills, when simple lifestyle changes - harped on by physicians for decades - are more effective and a lot cheaper…“Epidemiological studies have found that bad living - smoking, drinking too much alcohol, feasting on cheeseburgers - is responsible for 80% of one’s risk of heart disease and almost all the risk of diabetes. Cleaning up your act would do more to reduce that risk than popping a plethora of new pills.”- Forbes, 11/29/04
Indeed, this is something that I can speak of from experience - having various physicians attempt to diagnose me with various things and prescribe very expensive prescription-only medicines for conditions that can be changed with VERY limited diet changes and changes in schedules for me. What today is all too often seen by myopic doctors (drugs for everything) as a "serious condition" is often just the body telling you that you aren't treating it right - and it is often a fairly simple matter to find out why it is doing that. Even if it is NOT a simple matter, after you've spent $1000 on getting a diagnosis, why trap yourself into spending $50 - $100 a month for the rest of your life for some drug (with often-nasty side-effects) when a simple "no-thanks" to certain foods, or "it is too late in the day to be eating or drinking that" is so simple? (And easier to do when your body slams you in the gut once or twice.)

The problem is, in both of these articles, that we as people have SURRENDERED our decision-making abilities, and our responsibilities (for our lives or those of our children) to someone who really is not deserving of the trust we give them, to say nothing of what we pay them. If we take back control over our own lives - even just to the extent of saying "NO" to more nannies for adults, and more prisons for children - we will find that we don't NEED to trust these people to do anything but mess up their lives and the lives of those we surrender to their tender mercies.

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