Aug. 31, 2019

DRUGS AREN'T MIRACLES; MIRACLES DON'T HAVE SIDE EFFECTS.

I easily-remember the first time I met Fred. Tall, dark, and handsome-- he had “the look” that turned heads.  Apparently attracted to my oldest daughter, Fred invited her to join him for a dinner date.

Soon after meeting Fred, I left Atlanta and returned to Pine Bluff.  By this time both of my daughters were working in Atlanta and attending local colleges.  I don’t know how long Myra dated Fred before she decided to stop seeing him. I remember asking her “why” but…she chose not to answer my question. I only learned more specific details when—late one night-- I received a phone call from Fred. 

I listened for more than 3 hours while a very sensitive young man I barely knew--- shared years of hurt, tragedy, and numerous disappointments.  I listened and learned.

From an early age, Fred showed promise as a swimmer.  So much so that he ranked among the professional swimmers being groomed for the Olympics.  He received full scholarships to the most outstanding colleges and universities and was in the process of making his choice when tragedy hit.

 In fact, he was returning to the US from a Swimming Competition in Hawaii when he began to hemorrhage.  His bleeding was so out-of-control that his plane had no choice but return to Hawaii.

Surgeons moved quickly to save his life.  His father had no time; he must sign the consent form immediately or Fred would die.  Without hesitating, Fred’s father signed the form, allowing doctors to remove 3/4 of his son’s intestines, his colon and rectum… so that Fred could live.

I heard the anguish in Fred’s voice, the resentment toward his father. Losing his major organs in one operation was—indeed--a shocking experience for anyone so young.  Learning that his bodily functions would no longer be “normal”----that, for the rest of his life, this promising young man would wear a colostomy bag attached to his side---must have been beyond devastating.

I continued to listen as Fred talked about his teenage acne and how he anguished over every bump.  When an Atlanta dermatologist recommended the newest wonder drug for acne…called Accutane…Fred could hardly wait for his prescription.

As his skin miraculously improved….Fred decided to increase the dosage for faster action.  After all, he wanted to look good for all-his-many swim meets. His skin kept looking better and better while his doctor signed  more and more Accutane refills.

 Accutane was new; it was considered the "miracle” cure for acne and no one thought about side effects, certainly not Fred, until…..

Today, Accutane is off the market. Deadly hemorrhaging occurred in too-many cases; side effects became too- numerous and too-deadly. The last time I checked, the internet was overflowing with Law Suits filed on behalf of Accutane victims. I know Fred was one of those Law Suits….I just never heard the results.

The last time I spoke with Fred he was dating a nurse. I hope he found happiness with someone who could appreciate him as a person.

Only once was I able to get my daughter to comment about Fred.  She said: “Mother, I noticed that when he hugged me…there was always a crackling sound like he had a wad of cellophane in his pocket.  I knew something was different and it scared me. I don’t like weird.”

When we’re young, romantic, and life is new, perhaps we aren’t ready for “different”….I understand.  But isn’t it a shame that just-beyond “different”…. there just-might be a world of possibilities, happiness, and just-maybe….real love?

IF ONLY we—as caring individuals---could move far-beyond the exterior and so-called“normal”.

Stay Well My Friends and Stay Close,

Sally