The Medicine of Meat

When I was a kid, it was a very noble claim to aspire to be a doctor. After all, doctors were the healers of dreams, the saviors of lives and the experts of health. That was 30 something years ago. I don’t know what happened in the last 3 decades but apparently something changed allowing all kinds of idiots to become “healers” and embark on long fruitful careers of endangering lives, scribbling reckless prescriptions and becoming agents of a scary trend: the profitable business of health.

It’s very unfortunate but it seems that there are no more “good doctors”, rather very differing and subjective experiences. You walk into a clinic with a mild fever and suddenly you are prescribed antibiotics by the truck load for treating bubonic plague. You suffer from pain in your back and up jumps the man in white walking you through a surgery where they will implant metal rods into your spine because let’s face it, everything is solved with a metal rod up your… back. Your nose is running? Holy shit, it’s a sign that your brains are turning to liquid and unless you swallow 75 kinds of multicolored pills, you will surely turn into a zombie and be responsible for the destruction of humanity.

The pharmacy industry has made great strides in giving us wonder drugs, sure, but it has also intruded on a sacred trust that anyone should be able to have with ANY doctor. Technically, it is illegal and immoral for any doctor to push pills to honor any sort of agreement, but with the rate of over prescription seen with so many cases, one wonders if the clear cut line has not faded into an indistinct gray.

When you’re sick, it’s a shame to run into one of these representatives who have completely eliminated the “care’ from health care and replaced it with “business”. It’s a shame when instead of asking a few follow up questions, the person immediately scribbles drug notes, while avoiding eye contact, for all sorts of ailments you don’t suffer from. A while ago, I visited a doctor because I was suffering from a horrible cold. He examined me and said “I’ll take a swab of your throat but if it’s a virus, there’s no point in taking antibiotics. Just drink plenty of fluids and rest.” I was amazed and extremely saddened by the encounter. This great man should be the norm, not the exception!

We do have one weapon on our side though: easy access to knowledge thanks to the internet. And when I say knowledge, I don’t mean blogs, promoted websites, Wikipedia (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27586356) or astrology consultants. I mean WebMD, NHS, and medical association sites. While it’s always a good thing to do some research on your own, bear in mind that no amount of reading will make you a doctor and you cannot diagnose that mole as cancerous because of an image you saw online. Resources are there to help, not diagnose.

The world has changed and so have doctors. It seems that nowadays just about any idiot can enter and pass med school. Maybe standards have gone down, maybe this is the price we are paying for having too many idiots in the world, maybe somebody fell asleep at the wrong place at the wrong time. Even though it’s sad that many healers have evolved into pill pushers and incompetent assholes that get to wear white lab coats, the good news is that when you do come across a horrible experience, it is well within your right to give this person a piece or two of your mind. By keeping silent, we are relegating ourselves to the shelf, like quiet pieces of meat in a factory. And whether I’m wearing a hospital gown or a skimpy dress, I am no piece of meat.

Get the nuggets out of my box

TV commercials; we all hate them, we are all forced to watch them sometimes. If you’re not quick enough to record a movie, you are stuck sitting through long minutes of asinine drivel about disgusting products you would never buy. At least, I’m referring to advertising here in the region. Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to have to watch a movie streamed live, and hence the clash with tortuous ads, 95% of which were trying to sell me fast food garbage.

The only time I’ll walk into a fast food mess is when I’m considerably inebriated, everything is spinning, and I feel the vomit churning in my tummy, wondering which exit route to take. That is the only time I will shove fast “food” down my throat, and clearly because by that point your body needs the insane amount of grease to reestablish your center of gravity.

It was really quite sad: out of 4 commercials, only one was nonfood related; it was about cleaning products and the script/acting/production were so bad I wanted to crawl into a corner and chew my own toes off one by one. The rest might as well have been advertisements for how to block your arteries quickly, or a vacation to the afterlife to meet your maker because surely regular consumption of this garbage would have you in a body bag in no time.

This was unbelievably frustrating. Why are there no ads for healthy food? Aren’t salads sexy enough? I would much rather watch a cabbage unfurl slowly than processed cheese ooze out of some deep fried crust of saw dust and rat droppings! And it’s not like we don’t have the products to advertise; the Abu Dhabi Farmer’s Market has really taken off and they have been producing great local produce. Ripe Markets in the UAE are bringing excellent organic products, and there are many places that boast healthy menus. So why don’t these entities have a voice in the ad slots?

It’s 2015. The cat is out of the bag; fast food is unbelievably bad for you and obesity levels are rising alarmingly in the Middle East. How are these chains still thriving? Even in the US, the source of this fat mess, the tide has started to take a turn (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mcdonalds-to-close-more-stores-than-it-opens-in-us-for-first-time-in-40-years-10333642.html). Why are we allowing a rejected trend from its point of origin to proliferate in our backyard? And it’s replacing a healthy and balanced cuisine! It should be a criminal offence to replace Tabbouleh and grilled meat for a big mac and fries.

I would really like to meet the person who is in charge of regulating ads in our region. I would like to strap him in a chair for a week, and each time a fast food ad came on, I would force him to eat that product in its entirety. It’s not fair that only the poisonous shit gets ample representation on the idiot box. In the interest of democracy, I’m not advocating the complete ban of fast crap (although that would be pure bliss). Rather, I would like to see some hot salads, blushing fruits and slutty greens parade on the screen as well. I believe it’s high time for equal representation; bring out those polygamous broccolis!