Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get On Lipitor Now

I've read all the debate about statin drugs such as Lipitor. I know about the (small) possibility of muscle cramps and liver problems, and those are only the legit concerns. The Internet's full of humbug conjecture about how Lipitor's one of the big bads of big pharma.

Everyone I know with actual scientific acumen loves the drug. My long-time technical advisor Pierre says it may even grow back cardiac arteries around blockage. He says Lipitor is one's friend. And my doctor - ordinarily not the type to suggest frivolous medication - had urged it on me 15 years ago. I'd received a borderline high cholesterol reading, and she told me it's a really good drug which she really wanted me to take, and I asked whether I could try to address the problem with diet and exercise.

I lost a bunch of weight, the cholesterol came down to high-normal, and we let it go. Since then, my weight's been high, it's been low, my diet's been immaculate, and my diet's been dodgy. And, to make a long story short, last week I had a stent put in to relieve congestion in one of my blood vessels. My cholesterol, which I hadn't had checked in some time (hey, my diet and fitness were fine!), was through the roof.

No worries. The stent fixed things perfectly, and I'll have no lingering issues going forward. But only because I was lucky.

I'm now on the maxi dose of Lipitor, and cursing myself for having been such an idiot - for ignoring my doctor and my most informed friends. For the first half of the 20th century, we were all pill happy, what with all the medical miracles appearing all the time. Then the pendulum swung (as pendulums always swing) too far the other way, and many of us have come to treat our doctors as if they were trying to kill us with drugs. And maybe they are, who knows. But Lipitor is different. Here's the thing to understand:

Medicine has gotten miraculously good at treating cardiac issues. Better than you've even heard! I should not be alive right now. If alive, I ought to be hobbled. Instead, I'm bopping around, same as ever, running up steps and standing on my head. It's fantastic, it's downright futuristic! But it's only because the blockage happened to be noticed and reversed early. If it hadn't been, none of those miracle procedures would have helped. I'd have been 1923-style hobbled, or even dead.

And the thing about congestion is that you don't know if you've got it. I felt completely okay in the days leading up to the discovery. So it's a crap shoot. If discovered early, you might remain as futuristically vibrant as I've wound up. If not, welcome to 1923.

If (big "if"!) you have high cholesterol and/or family history, you have no way of knowing whether you have a ticking time bomb in your chest, and Lipitor is your friend. If your doctor has ever suggested Lipitor, and you've resisted out of pure obstinate anti-pill sentiment, don't be a moron like I was. Get on the pills and enjoy the privilege of good health. There are people out there trying to convince us that cholesterol's a red herring and Lipitor's a bugaboo. The thing is, though, that our hearts really like oxygen a lot. That's sufficient imperative to disregard the noise and the nonsense.

To repeat: I am completely okay. No restrictions, no recuperation. It's like nothing ever happened. So there's no need for sympathy, concern, wishes for a speedy recovery, or anything like that. Hey, welcome to the future (I'm feeling a lot less miffed about not having a jet-pack).


John Clark said...

Facing this decision right now, and what about no grapefruit EVER? I love grapefruit

Jim Leff said...

1. http://jimleff.blogspot.com/2014/07/lasagna-and-depression.html

2. http://jimleff.blogspot.com/2009/01/monks-and-coffee.html

3. Oranges. Tangerines. Tangelos. Lemons. Citrons. Etc.

Peter C said...


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