Saturday, September 21, 2013

Magic Pills

When I was a child, so very long ago now, my brother, my young uncle, and I would pretend that we had magic pills.

Generally these were either M&Ms - usually the red ones - or a Smartie. Smarties are sugar candies that come in rolls of pastel colors, information I add because it seems to me not everyone eats these.

Anyway, I think the purple Smartie was the ultimate "magic pill" in our play.

Rather like Alice when she would drink something, the "pills" would "change" us somehow - make us smarter, or able to leap from tall buildings (which meant jumping from a chair with a towel for a cape). I think I usually went for the "make me smarter" pills, leaving the cavorting to the boys. I think I fancied myself the smart one, sort of like Velma in Scooby Doo.

We also took a children's multivitamin, which I remember as Flintstones even though they weren't around until 1968 according to Wikipedia. These were also magic pills, handed out daily by my grandmother, who kept my brother and me until we began school, and then again during the summers. Grandma would give us the vitamins and we'd run around like crazy superhuman beings for about five minutes afterwards, because the "magic" had to wear off.

So even back in the 1960s, the hunt was on for the magic pill. These days, here in my golden years, the magic pill would be the one that cures the asthma, eases the allergies, halts the pain. And there are no magic pills for those conditions. Most medication is really some kind of poison and side effects can be killers. It is something to keep in mind.

My mother believed that doctors could fix everything, and she gave me whatever they offered. That was frequent because I was a sickly child. I am fairly certain that up until I was married, I had imbibed in every antibiotic potion known to mankind. That is no longer the case, thanks to new drugs that I eschew and to a mindset that I keep that says "buyer beware" when I am offered a new drug.

Even so, I take far too many medications. I don't search for the happy pills, or the smart pills, or the weight loss pills, but the doctors have handed me instead blood pressure pills, thyroid pills, and allergy medication that I take year-round. Here a drug, there a drug, everywhere a drug drug.

None of them are magic pills, little round droplets that cure what ails me. They may help or control but they aren't fixes. Medication seldom fixes or cures, I fear. I'm not sure that anything does.

This morning as I took a 30-minute walk on the treadmill I was thinking of those times so long ago when I was naïve enough to think that just by believing it I could make an M&M be the magic pill that would make me smart. I learned long ago it takes hard work and lots of study to increase my knowledge. It takes hard work and lots of sweat to make a body healthy (something I am still not very good at). Pill-popping is a long-lived habit that I wish I had never learned.

This also came to mind because I have been reading that even Tylenol isn't safe. I have long known it could damage your liver and have been judicious in my consumption of that particular drug, but as I age I suspect I will be taking more of it. I don't tolerate the NSAIDS or aspirin, and that leaves acetaminophen. I'm not sure what has made the drug a topic for discussion all of a sudden, but it doesn't bode well for a pain-free old age.

I wonder if I tossed some magic M&Ms in the air, and made a wish, if anything would change.


  1. I am waiting for the Star Trek days when they wave a small device that lights up and cures us. You are right to worry about most drugs. They might fix the problem, but the side effects can be worse than the original disease.

    But aren't you glad you took all those smart pills? They really worked!

  2. I am taking Spice Drop candy today as my happy pill. Oy... Wish I had a bag of M&Ms. My son-in-law in Arizona and their family started eating all fresh foods and for the first time in ten years he no longer needs to take allergy pills. I think eating the correct foods can fix a lot of wrongs in our bodies.

  3. Sometime it might ~ mind over matter works in some case like the pacebo in test studies so go ahead and toss some blue M& M s :)

  4. Mind over matter works for not having thoughts about things that you can't change or that you are sorry happened. Sometimes I just like to remember that I am, on the atomic level, not even the same person anymore, though the brain does retain the memories. Also, I take all three of the meds you take. Well, and then some BUT, they have made me better in the long run. Walk on the treadmill and throw out thoughts you don't want to have. You rule that nice brain of yours; no one else.

  5. We are brainwashed to take a pill for everything. It is my pet peeve. There is even a commercial out now for a drug to help you with something called "shift disease." That is when you get tired because you work the eleven-to-seven shift. Can you believe it?! I'm glad you have the "buyer beware" mindset. Too many people take too many drugs without thinking. We are an impatient society who is intolerant of any kind of aches and pains and who looks for the quick fix. Which really doesn't exist. Like Di, I also know a family who switched their diet to all natural foods and before long they got off all their medications. If you really need it, medications can help. But too often they hurt. There are tons of side effects. And once you start taking one, before long you'll have a carousel full of pills on your kitchen table because one drug leads to another.


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