Who Forgot Her Yoga Pants?

My husband and I love our quirky uptown neighborhood of Clifton. We love Clifton for its diversity, its walkability, its independent movie theater, its big urban park. When we moved here sixteen years ago, we noticed that there were an awful lot of eccentric looking, opinionated old folks drifting around Clifton. The scene I’m about to describe from this morning is all too typical.

Setting: Checkout counter at CVS Pharmacy on Ludlow Ave, 9:10 am

Middle aged lady, silver streaked hair in a messy bun, wears an embroidered dress, bare legs, no socks, and school-bus yellow Converses. She plops a pair of gray yoga pants onto the CVS counter.

Middle aged lady: “I walked all the way to yoga class and forgot I wasn’t wearing any bike shorts underneath.”

CVS employee: “Would you care to add a donation to fight Alzheimer’s?”

Middle aged lady: “No way. I’m not going to help you look like the good guys when you sell drugs like Benadryl, which have a 50% correlation with dementia.”

CVS employee: “Have a nice day.”

Had I been standing in line behind that middle aged lady, I might have rolled my eyes to express sympathy for the poor check out guy, who has just been lumped in with those CVS top executives choosing to ignore the mounting evidence that drugs they sell daily are largely responsible for the growing epidemic of dementia. But I didn’t get the chance to roll my eyes at that middle aged lady, because I am that middle aged lady. Doctors I trusted have exposed me to a number of anticholinergic drugs, which are in the same risky class of medication as Benadryl.

The first time I was on a drug to calm down my bladder, I noticed right away that I was not participating in conversations as fluently as usual. When it eventually occurred to me to look up the side effects of my new medication, I read about “drowsiness,” “memory problems” and “dementia.” My urogynecologist laughed at me when I complained the medicine made my thinking fuzzy. “You’d rather think? And run around having to pee?” I quit the medication and fired that doctor. Then found that every subsequent urogynecologist was equally eager to fill a prescription for an anticholinergic drug, even after I made my preferences known, even after data from study after study confirmed an eery “correlation” between these drugs and dementia. Apparently as long as big $ is being made, this “correlation” won’t be labeled a “causation.”

That’s why I’m forever grateful to Kevin, my local pharmacist at Clifton GHA. Kevin alerted me when my current urogynecologist snuck in a prescription for an anticholinergic medication, despite my stated aversion to that class of medication. From now on, I’ll add the folks at GHA to the reasons to love my quirky little uptown neighborhood of Clifton.

Gentle Reader, if you are nervous about the side effects of your own medications, don’t listen to dotty Ms. Lab Rat. Listen to the bloggers at Harvard medical school:

“One of the best ways to make sure you’re taking the most effective drugs is to dump all your medications — prescription and nonprescription — into a bag and bring them to your next appointment with your primary care doctor.”

4 thoughts on “Who Forgot Her Yoga Pants?

  1. Great post about drugs – thank you, and thank you for being so alert and advocating, as I know you do, about your own care and what docs urge you to ingest ” for your own good.” Long ago, in the dinosaur age, a male doc prescribed a pill, ” the pill” for me that I told him promoted sudden and uncontrollable bleeding. When I told him this ( we’re talking the 1970s}, he laughed and told me I was lucky to have “easy” birth control, and a little bleeding was a small price to pay. Having read Betty Friedan by then, I got rid of the doctor!

  2. I’m reading this going, “Yeah, uh-huh…” and then I get to the last paragraph and am like, “Ouch!” It is sad that so often we can’t trust our doctors to really look out for our health. Great for your pharmacist to bring it up. And especially good for you to be so in touch with your body. It’s really hard to hear your own body when you have your doctor and medical establishment saying, this drug is the best thing. Thank you, again, for teaching us!

  3. Who are these doctors who’re just ignoring you, and are they related to the bit of playdough masquerading as a loan officer at my credit union? He called my actual house looking for my view on how the credit union’s doing, but (a) really didn’t want to hear that yeah, I don’t appreciate the New Skeeziness, or the defense of the New Skeeziness as “we get you more money”; and (b) super didn’t want to hear that I do not enjoy having salesmen with a fraction of my financial education explain products I don’t want at me like I didn’t just say “no thanks because..” This guy tried to defend himself by saying that sometimes customers don’t know things, and I say I JUST TOLD YOU THAT I KNOW MORE THAN THE DUDE DOES, and he goes around in Roomba circles doing everything but saying “Yeah, that was stupid and wrong of him to mansplain freaking overdraft fees at you, I apologize and will have a word with him.” After he ties himself up for a little while, I say, “You realize you’re doing exactly the same thing he did,” and he says, “Well, I can see that we’re not really going to get any further here,” and I say, “ANY FURTHER AT WHAT, YOU’RE THE ONE WHO CALLED ME FOR MY OPINION AND YOU GOT IT.”

    Seriously, docs deciding your bladder control’s more important than your ability to use your pretty little head, I’m not usually one for social media outrage campaigns anymore but for that guy, yes.

  4. Thanks for this post, middle-aged lady. Another side effect of Benedril. Which happens to 10% of men who take it, is the inability to pee for many hours. Quite painful. And frightening.

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