Are Drugs Worth It?

For years I refused to take medication. Now I do. I won’t go into the journey I took from not taking any medication whatsoever, for any reason, to taking medication for my epilepsy. That’s another post for another day.

I will say that it was a hard decision to make. It was a hard pill to swallow, both figuratively and literally.

All medication has side effects. No medication is a cure.

But the abled tend to forget that. We disabled should be dutiful broken bodies and take what is given to us.

On paper, or a computer screen, my side effects aren’t “bad.” There are many that are much worse than mine.

But.

But they’re still something that I wouldn’t have to deal with if I’m not on medication. And these side effects are something I’m going to have to deal with as long as I’m on medication.

The side effects and risks are something we have to weigh against the benefits of the medication. Is it worth it? For me, is the constant dry mouth, the drowsiness, and the certainty of partials and seizures were I to suddenly stop taking the medication worth its benefit of guarding against potential partials and grand mals? Not to mention, the “side effect” of having to remember to take two doses of medication, the actual swallowing of the pills, and the injuries I’m sure to suffer from the said partials and grand mals (the ones I’d have if I were to go off of the meds for some reason).

Like I said, the labeled side effects of the medication aren’t as bad as many others are. The higher number of labeled side effects increases the burden of both the decision and the consequences of taking the medication.

Then you have the actual financial cost of the medication, and the trip to the pharmacy. Sounds like no big deal; if you’re able-bodied, have a car, and money isn’t an issue.

These are questions we must ask ourselves to decide: is it worth it?

I’ll say it again: drugs are not cures. We’re not considered “healed” if we take them. We not considered “normal” if we take them. The things that our taken away from us by society for our conditions are not given back once we take drugs. I’m still an epileptic regardless of whether I take drugs or not. My meds do not “fix” me, my brain, my “abnormal” brain waves.

I ask myself every time I wake in the middle of the night with a bone-dry mouth: is it worth it?

I ask myself every time, the many times a day I have to run to the bathroom for all the water I drink to keep my mouth moistened: is it worth it?

I ask myself every evening I calculate just how late to take my evening dose so I don’t dose off before I want to: is it worth it?

I ask myself every time my schedule messes up my dosage schedule and I have a series of partials: is it worth it?

You tell me.

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About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

6 Responses to Are Drugs Worth It?

  1. Sunset says:

    Interesting post. This is something I’ve noticed: the good/bad sick person as the on meds/not on meds. Particularly from my perspective as a student, the determination of whether a person is “cooperating with treatment” can determine whether or not that person is up for accommodation, or even freedom from being harassed by the system. And “cooperating with treatment” usually means “on meds.”

    I do not know if this is true outside the academic system. I know it is also true in the mental health system, that you can be denied other services because your lack of meds makes you “uncooperative” and thus not deserving of their help. Another way society polices the bodies of the disabled I guess?

  2. Brittany-Ann says:

    Ha, I’ve definitely been that “bad” sick person, and I’ve had many an EMT and ER doc harass or disparage me for refusing treatment. It’s part of the whole idea that doctors, as well as abled-bodied people in general, know better than the differently abled what’s best for us. Thanks for reading. I hope you stick around!

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  5. Sally says:

    I’ve had similar dry mouth issues in the past caused by anti-depressants. I found it really helpful to suck on sugar free sweets or chew sugar free gum. It creates the feeling of a little more moisture in the mouth. I chose sugar free products for dental health reasons. Getting back to the point of your post, I stopped taking the medication because the (many) side effects were worse than the illness. It happens to a lot of people.

  6. Lisette says:

    I’ve been asking myself the same questions lately. My medication happens to have the same sort of side effects as yours. I hope that I can quit my medication in winter.

    Thanks for the tip, Sally! It’s made the start of school a bit easier for me.

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