Sunday, September 15, 2013

anti antibiotics?

Within 12 hours on Friday I went from appreciating my periodic trip to the restroom to feeling that the toilet was a cruel, cruel thing, and all because of three letters: UTI. It got so darn painful that I had to go the emergency room in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday, and was happier than I'd ever been upon the doctor pressing a plastic shell with five magical, oval-shaped saviors into my palm with the instructions, "Halb morgens und Halb abends für fünf Tage." Half a tablet in the morning and half a tablet at night for five days.

My 20-year-old self would have cried mutiny over such appreciation of antibiotics. She would have said, "But they are artificial and unnecessary! If we only took better care of ourselves in the U.S. and stopped relying on quick-fixes, we wouldn't need them!" My message to her? If you had only felt...

But still, four years and 12 hours of intense pain have not completely changed my philosophy on pharmaceutical drugs. I still imagine that today's high rate of prescription drug intake in the U.S. would not be necessary if we led overall healthier lives, for example by walking/biking more and driving less, choosing nutrition-based over convenience-based diets, etc.

In the end, however, the question in my mind is not so much whether an innovation (e.g. antibiotics) is good or bad (with the exception of nuclear weapons, military tanks, and other deadly technologies, which probably should not exist at all!), but rather whether the ways in which we use an innovation are thoughtful and life-affirming.

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