Today's Topic:

I find it odd that, throughout my high school years, the California State School System spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on films and propaganda designed for the sole purpose of keeping me off drugs, but now, twenty-five years later, it seems that I can't talk to a doctor without being told to start a new prescription. I understand that it's not like they are asking me to smoke pot or shoot heroin, but I still find the shift in attitude to be odd. First it was, "Drugs are bad. Drugs are bad." Now it's, "You better start taking these drugs right now." Below is a list of drugs that I have taken over the past twelve months at the Doctor's orders, both in and out of the hospital. The names are one hundred percent accurate. The descriptions of what they do are not.

Colace: This is a stool softener. I went around and tried it on our bar stools and on the tall chairs around our dinner table. It did not work on any of them. None are noticeably cushier.

Hydrocortisone: Reduces swelling, especially in your head if you start getting cocky about your work, artistic or otherwise. The same effects can be achieved by asking people for their opinions, but why go through all that effort when you can get the same results in a pill?

Morphine: Supposed to reduce pain. Sounds suspiciously like one of those drugs they kept talking about in high school when they were telling me what drugs I shouldn't take. Special note: If you are on this medicine and you ask your nurse how your Midichlorian levels are, the nurse may immediately take you off the Morphine, which is a shame because your pain comes back, and it shows that few people get a good Star Wars reference.

Lisinopril: If you are stressed about suddenly having to take too many pills and keep track of them all, then this pill will help you with your heightened blood pressure.

Metroprolol ER Succinate: If the Lisinopril causes side effects like coughing and sudden fits of giggling for no reason, you can replace it with Metroprolol ER Succinate, which is Latin for "Suffering Succotash! I live in a hospital emergency room of a major metropolis." If you continue to take all of the medications that are prescribed for you, this may very well be true.

Maxide: A "water" pill that makes you pee a little more than you normally do. No one has successfully explained to me why this is necessary, and I am beginning to suspect that it is some kind of sick little practical joke that the doctors like to play.

Bromocriptine: This drug is designed to make you feel nauseous all the time. When I was young, they told me that medicine was supposed to make you feel better. Once again, I was misinformed.

Cabergoline: A newfangled replacement for Bromocriptine. So far, it hasn't done anything except take away the nausea that the Bromocriptine caused.

Leflunomide: Among other things, it reduces your resistance to infection and disease. Again, I'm little confused about what these drugs are actually supposed to accomplish.

Norco: This is a pain reliever, but it is also the name of a town near where we live that has a lot of horse properties. When the nurse asks, "How's the Norco working?" it's always fun to say, "Just great, except for the problems residents are having with the new ordinance requiring paved sidewalks where they would prefer to have horse trails." I love it when medical care professionals stare at me blankly.

Amitriptyline: This was prescribed for a burning sensation I was experiencing in my feet, but it is also used to treat depression. I found that it made me apathetic, and it also made me stop caring about things. But the main benefit was that when I was having trouble dozing off at my computer at work like I usually do, it helped me fall right to sleep.

Pantaprozole: If your stomach is very sensitive to medicine, this is what they give you so you can take more medicine. If you do not see the irony here, then perhaps there is nothing that can be done for you.