Thursday, February 04, 2010

Boycott medicines

After the 3rd MeTA Forum last Jan. 26-27, we have a forum for our local coalition, Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT) last Jan. 28, also at Diamond Hotel.

I jokingly told some friends and other NGO leaders there that one of my personal advocacies is not cheaper medicines but "boycott medicines". This is somehow an offshoot of MG philosophy, "Healthcare is first and foremost personal and parental responsibility." Why?

The full year 2009 and last month, or 13 months straight, I have not been taking any medicine -- no vitamins, no food supplement, no anti-biotics, etc. For me, the best medicines are good food, nutritious food. And not abusing one's body. I drink, about 2 to 3 times a month. Mostly light drinking, but sometimes heavy drinking with heavy head and hang-over the next day :-). But I don't smoke.

Last month, because of the cold season, I got a cough, which lasted for about a week. The physician in our HMO suggested that I take anti-biotics since the cause of my cough was bacterial. Here's our brief conversation:

Me: Doc, is drinking not allowed while I take the anti-biotics drug?
Dr: Yes!
Me: But I got an invite for a belated reunion with some friends tonight, with lots of food and beer!
Dr. You choose, ridding your cough quick or your beer.

After leaving the HMO office, I said I will just buy the drug tomorrow and I will choose good food and beer tonight. I just drank lots of water and juice, and beer that night.

The next day, before going to the drugstore to buy the anti-biotics, I got a text message from another friend, "Please be there on my birthday party!" That's just 2 days from now, and I know that this friend of mine always gives slam-dunkin birthday bash, with unlimited food, unlimited drinks (beer, wine, high-octane drinks, etc.). So I said, I will postpone buying the drugs for another 2 days.

Meanwhile, I continued the "water therapy" -- lots of water, juice, other liquid. It's discomforting sometimes to be going to the toilet so often to pee, but that's the result if one drinks lots of water too often.

So enjoyed the night during my friend's birthday party. Super-enjoyed that I got a bad hang-over the next day. But surprisingly, my "water therapy" was working well. Although I had a hang-over that day, my cough was getting weaker. A few days more of lots of water intake, the cough was gone!

Lesson? I did not buy the essential drugs not because I don't have the money, but because I chose beer on those 2 occasions in a span of 4 days that I was advised by my doctor to take anti-biotics!

Not taking medicines for the wrong reason :-)

But seriously, the best medicines are good food, nutritious food, and not abusing one's body with over-drinking, over-smoking, over-eating, over-fighting, over-sitting in sedentary lifestyle, etc.

When real diseases come in, say hypertension or cancer or other serious diseases, that's the time to buy prescription drugs. By then, one has a somehow healthy body and some savings to buy the necessary medication. And don't forget, the physician's fee and diagnostic tests, if one does not have a private health insurance.

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