Ask your doctor about drug X!

Let me tell you how my morning went.

Six months ago…

JT:  Hi doc.  I have problem A and problem B.  You’re a doctor.  I pay you money to fix those problems and to make me feel normal.

Doctor:  Try drug X for problem B.  It exacerbates problem A, but it can fix problem B.

JT:  Ok.

Almost six months later…

JT:  Hi doc.  Drug X does wonders for problem B.  But, as predicted, it exacerbates problem A.  I have a friend who takes drug X and has experienced the same.  Her doctor gives her drug Y as well to combat problem A.  Can I try that?

Doctor:  No.  Drug Y is a stimulant.

JT:  Does it fix problem A?

Doctor:  Yes.

JT:  So, why does it matter if it’s a stimulant?

Doctor:  Let’s try a non-stimulant.  Here’s a prescription for drug Z.

JT:  So drug Z fixes problem A?

Doctor:  Sometimes.  But it’s not a stimulant.

JT:  Ok.

One week later (today)…

(JT sits down in the exam room and sees this)

JT:  Doc, I’m allergic to drug Z.

Doctor:  That’s too bad.  Stop taking it.

JT:  Yeah, two steps ahead of you there.  Can I just try drug Y?  Y’know, the one that fixes problem A all the time?

Doctor:  No.  Drug Y fixes problem A, but it exacerbates problem B.

JT:  But, didn’t you prescribe me drug X to fix problem B even though it exacerbates problem A?

Doctor:  Yes.  That’s different though.

JT:  Why?

Doctor:  Because drug X isn’t a stimulant.

JT:  Do stimulants have some horrible side effect or something?

Doctor:  They can be addictive.

JT:  But you still prescribe them?

Doctor:  Yes.

JT:  So it can’t bug you that much.  Besides, being addicted to a drug that fixes my health problem doesn’t sound so bad.  Any other horrible issues with stimulants?  I mean, if stimulants are so problematic, why are they on the market?

Doctor:  No, no crazy side effects aside from exacerbating problem B.  They’re on the market because they fix problem A.

JT:  So because I have problem B I’m stuck with problem A?

Doctor:  No, drug Y could fix problem A.

JT:  But I can’t get drug Y.

Doctor:  You’d have to see a specialist.

JT:  …ok.  What do I have to do to see this specialist?

Doctor:  Well, none of those specialists in the area are taking patients at the moment.  You could talk to a person who can’t help you for three months, then pay for an evaluation that’s not covered by insurance, which would get you in to see the specialist.  They may not prescribe you drug Y though.

JT:  So I can’t get the drug that fixes problem A?

Doctor:  Not without spending a lot of money on a roll of the dice.  See you again in six months?

JT:  No.  You’re my doctor.  I pay you to fix my health problems.  If you can’t fix my health problems, why should I keep paying you?

Doctor:  Well, we tried drug Z.  That’s the non-stimulant that sometimes fixes problem A.

JT:  I was allergic to that.

Doctor:  *give the “that sucks” face*

JT:  I’m going to leave now.

Three cheers for the system.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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