Coping: With the “The Truth” We Don’t Want to Hear

This morning, I want to share a comment from a reader who lives outside the USA (Ecuador) who used to be a very big deal in advertising in a large eastern seaboard city.

She was kind enough to relate some personal experience related to the topic we got to Monday, namely the role of Big Pharm in ‘Merican Bidness.

“Neither me or my spouse take any pharmaceuticals and we are in our mid-60’s. We’re not nuts about it and I would take a pain med after surgery or if I had an illness that I couldn’t cure naturally, I’d take a drug that did.

But the “take one a day for the rest of your life” drugs we avoid like the plague.

I had most of the major Big Pharma players as clients, and I’ll just share the story of the last straw that convinced me to leave my profession.

I was in a client meeting to go over the research on a new drug. I won’t name the company. I think it would be “Wiser” not to.

The drug failed in 97 out of 100 categories it was intended to perform in. It performed barely adequately in only three.

I stated that I was sorry the drug had performed so badly, when the exec from Paris said, “What are you talking about?! This is the new drug for XYZ…the three categories where it actually DID something. I argued with this exec for hours and that exec’s boss from London.

It prompted my boss to lean over and whisper, “If I had known you were going toe to toe with “Wiser” I would have brought a change of clothes.

After several hours of arguing with me the Brit said, “No one will find out about this for two years and by that time we will all have promoted to other positions and it will be someone else’s problem. We’re launching this drug and you’re going to market it.”

They launched it. I left advertising.

This was not an isolated incident.

You learn quickly never to use the word “cure” in this industry. They will be quick to point out that they do not cure, they treat.

If people were well, what would happen to the US economy? Drugs are big business.

Cancer is big business. Why else murder 40 holistic practitioners who were routinely curing cancer? Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez had cured numerous stage four pancreatic cancer patients who were still cancer free 20 years later.

Everything is a business model, even tiny children dying of leukemia.

I also left the country where everything is a business model and moved to the country where almost nothing is a business model, and that can drive you crazy too, but Ecuador from it’s government to it’s law to it’s culture cares more about people than property. They only take drugs if they are sick and stop when they are well,and they are so much healthier than people in the US that the local insurance companies don’t have to insure gringos.”

This is not to say all drugs are bad.  Yes, there are many that keep people alive in living productive lives.

However, as we continuously remind people, Pharma sort of blazed the trail for Social Media in a certain sense:  A product in today’s world need not be best=of-class or even necessarily beneficial for the broad range of users.  It must do only one thing:

Generate more sales than expense.

And that, dear reader, is the Terrible Truth that American’s aren’t ready to hear.  We have been adjudged by our owners “unable to handle the truth.” 

Their assessment is correct, too.  Which is why we are now entering what in longwave economics is the revolution cycle and why we peasants still have pitchforks and don’t trust those in Big Houses.

A few remember “menthols.”  Definitely not Kool how that worked out.

Vitamin K2, K4, K7

While I wait for the vitamins to show up for my latest self-medication experiment, I have started taking garlic pills again, thanks to a reader reminder about how they do seem to be involved in lowering bad cholesterol.

The only side effect so far has been singing mock opera to Zeus the Cat who is threatening to call his lawyer.

An odd through crossed my mind Monday.  (It’s a short crossing, if you follow.)

Is there any connection between K vitamins and what was billed as the U.S. Ski Team Diet back in the 1970’s?

For those who don’t remember, the Ski Team Diet was largely made up of dark green veggies (like spinach and kale), lean beef (often lean ground round), lots of eggs, and glasses of unsweetened grapefruit juice.

Until this week, I’d completely forgotten that one, but sure enough, thanks to the internet, it is easy enough to find.  On the 32 Fat Chicks website (here) if you scroll down, you can find the diet all neatly laid out.

Going through it, it looked like a prescription for acidification of the body and forcing it into ketosis (fat burning) mode with almost no carbies.  With the restriction of only two weeks at a time, I could probably only make it to about lunchtime on Day One.

Still, it got me to meal planning.  And that gets me to some background…

Elaine and I are off traveling from mid-July (eyes permitting) while Panama (and wife) are watching the humble “shack stack in the Outback.”  Any Seattle trip, naturally, gets me thinking of my favorite places to hang-out (and eat and EAT) in Seattle. 

On this list this trip I have added a Joe’s Special to one of our trips to 13 Coins.  I figure the “special” which has cheese, egg, spinach, and ground round would be about an ideal high K2,4, and 7 dish…but time will tell.

Seattle-Tacoma Meal Planner:  9-Days in Porkatory

OK, speaking of food (slurp!) here’s my foodie list for the trip:  If gluttony is a sin, can I get two pickets, please?

13 Coins:  Near Sea-Tac Airport between Seattle and Tacoma   One visit for an SST Sandwich which I think they still make on demand along with the huge thumb-sized fries (13 of them) stacked up log-cabin style.  Trip #2 for the Joe’s special. mid morning parking is easier – good for early lunch/dinner which works for us being from the wrong time zone.

Harbor Lights: (Tacoma waterfront) One trip for the cod fish and chips (3 pieces) with two extra.  Red potatoes instead of fries.  Dungeness crab cocktail.  3 Martinis.  Designated driver.  Repeat 3 times minimum.

Ivar’s Acres of Clams:   (Pier 54, downtown waterfront a parking lot and fire station #5 away from the Ferry terminal.) Inside:  Fish and Chips (3 piece) with fries, two extra.  I’ll take fries, cup of white chowder,  Dungeness crap cocktail.  1 Martini.  Walk waterfront.  Return to reality later in the afternoon.  (Might come over with friends from Braindead Bainbridge Island.

The Old Spaghetti Factory:  (Near University of Washington campus downtown Tacoma)  Yeah, we all know wheat is bad for you, but doesn’t the white clam sauce linguini and a bit salad kind of offset that?  See if they have Italian dressing for the salad…They didn’t have it last trip.  Ure was shocked. I will have seconds until they can make some up this trip.

Johnny’s Dock.  (Tacoma on the waterway near Tacoma Dome)  Man does not life by sea food (or see food) alone.  One must have big pieces of red meat.  Roasted backed potato. No chives (don’t want to get fat).   Dungeness crap cocktail first.  Small cuppa chowder.  Prime rib.  Caesar salad.  2 Martinis, one glass of red wine with meat.  Watch the boats go by marina.  Call that designated driver…she’s just across the table.

Eating In:  (Stadium Thriftway, Tacoma)  Since we have rented an AirBnB condo in downtown Tacoma (central for all our friends) we will be eating some meals in. 

To do this, we’ll be back to a favorite old haunt, the Thriftway store near Stadium High.  Normally, I wouldn’t mention such a store, but it has earned it.  Not only do they have a grand meat department (with kick-butt seafood) but they have lots of little things.  They bake on site and have a floral department.

I’ll be the guy in the express line with 10 pounds of cod, 5 pounds of Dungeness, and a jug of cocktail sauce.  Payback for half a Subway meatball parm at a Love’s truck stop getting there.  Balance in the Universe, you see, must be maintained.

If this seems a little extreme, let me remind you of a little personal history if you haven’t been around here since UrbanSurvival was founded on our sailboat circa 1997 (The Magic Elf , last seen in San Diego):  We became very accustomed to eating well on the boat.  There isn’t a lot of room to do much else besides work out (cleaning), writing or reading, and cooking.

The sailboat accounts for my love of seafood.  Used to be a Suquamish Indian oyster boat that worked from Agate Pass (behind Bainbridge) and on down to Brownsville, or so.  A gunny sack of oysters, bottle of a modest white wine, and a loaf of Sluy’s Poulsbo bakery, all consumed anchored on the back side of Blake Island at one of the state park moorings…well, life doesn’t get any better.

I don’t let that much locally here in Texas – especially since TEXIT has come up again.  But when we go on vacation we dip further into the kitty than planned each and every time.

Have I ever regretted it, even for a minute?

Hell no.  Life’s about living and if you can’t live it up once in a while, then you’re failing the point of it all.  This is a memory-making and collection plane, as I’ve got ‘er figured.

Why, just looking at the old haunts, I notice a 50 foot boat could be moored for about $6-bucks a foot.  $300 a month.  Oh, sure, that’s a lot, but how much does property tax work out to in such areas if you owned a house?  No…we won’t go there, but to say it doesn’t cross our (or at least MY) mind when the temps are pushing 100 would be a lie.

On a boat, I never wanted to own a sling psychrometer.  Here?  Different tale for another morning.  I somehow get the sense you’d lose interest in my dissertation about psychrometers versus capacitive hygrometers.  (When you write long enough, you get a feel for that sort of thing.)

Write when you get rich…we won’t be.  You can’t take it with you and I’ll have another piece of fish, please…         or toss something into the comments section.

25 thoughts on “Coping: With the “The Truth” We Don’t Want to Hear”

  1. Not to put too fine a point on it, but here is something else about the pharmaceutical industry that your readers might find interesting. I know it came as a shock to me. It only takes less than 25% success in trials for the FDA to approve a drug. I can’t remember the exact percent, but I think it’s 23%. But many drugs work less than 25% of the time. What happens is that, since everything is a business model, when they pour time and money in research and development, it is more cost effective to keep doing trials than to scrap a bad drug and start over. They know that if they do enough trials they will eventually get enough flukes, that they can show this 23% effective rate through the handful of flukes, no matter how many trials it failed in, and get the drug past the FDA. So doctors prescribe it and if it works for you, then it’s just a fluke. Or more likely, it’s the placebo effect. So you are taking a drug that just gives you side effects and builds toxins in your liver and system. Holistic practitioners say the single hardest thing to detox from the body is pharmaceutical drugs. And should you doubt the power of the placebo effect…I worked on Rogaine,the drug that grows hair. In trials 23% of the bald men who used Rogaine grew hair on their heads. So this drug does work almost 25% of the time. But what I found interesting is that of the men who took a sugar pill in the placebo group, 17% grew hair on their bald heads. I remember thinking that the placebo effect is what they should be researching. But of course, if we could all cure ourselves with the power of our minds and our belief, then where’s the money in that???
    So it does not surprise me that independent studies show many drugs don’t work. The people who make them know they don’t.
    And I’m not saying all drugs are bad. Some are lifesaving. My girlfriend is holistic and all natural and she tried every natural way to shrink a brain tumor. She used a pharmaceutical drug that shrank it when nothing else would. The cost of the drug in the US for the year was $10,000. and she couldn’t afford that. So she came to Ecuador and got a year’s supply of the same drug, not a generic, for $940. So, as you can see, the price you’re charged for these drugs is also very arbitrary.

  2. America is no longer the best country to live in and the only way Americans are exceptional now is in their ignorance and apathy. I am 70, not in the best of health, and looking forward to going home. This is not the country I grew up in after WW2. I loved that place; this one, not so much. It’s too late for me to relocate, so I pay less attention to what is going on to keep my blood pressure down. George, I suggest that living to 100 is not what you think it may be. Americans are not known for healthy longevity, but may you be the one who gets it. Live long and prosper.

    • Millions of us remember the America that you grew up in, we grew up in it, too! There does come a time, when you have to contain yourself to increase health which as you know, means mental health! The Serenity Prayer comes to mind and is worth repeating: God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

  3. I consult in IT in various healthcare companies (non-pharma). I agree that with the healthcare system being a “sickness maintenance” system that grows every day to try to keep symptoms growing, it is one of those systems where the “first rule of a system is to protect the system”. Billing companies enjoy more claims and more bills put through. Healthcare companies don’t mind more claims as long as the rates continue to go up in order to pay for them. How about we try to get healthcare providers to push back on doctors who over-prescribe (which is one of the leading causes of opioid addiction in the USA). It is also a health care system that does not really treat elderly people well and I believe that the “theory” of death panels actually exists to help usher out the older folks.

    • most doctors do not and never did ‘over-prescribe opioids’ but rather it is usually the patient themselves that demand or connive to get the more than necessary pills and since complete banning of heroine has stopped nothing how much better will it be to put thousands of people in pain and misery and save nearly no one from these ‘horrible’ addictions. Booze kills more people in a few weeks than opioids do in a few years why don’t you go stop that!
      Or how about one better idea — mind your own business and let others manage and lead their own lives.

    • I experienced the ‘death panel’ first hand. MIL went in on a Sunday for a slight fall, maybe TIA, recovered quickly so was told she would be discharged the next day. “Something” happened overnight while she was alone and she went from going home to going up the cardiac floor, elevated heart rate. They tried 4 hours to lower her heart rate. When it would not lower, they counseled the family to let her go! I kid you not!!! She was put on hospice, no more medicines, no more food, NO more water, just ‘comfort’ care in the form of morphine. (They would not even MOVE her body in the bed, didn’t want to disturb her!) First day on hospice, morphine was 10 mg every 12 hours. Second day of hospice until she passed 2 days later, 4 mg every 2 hours until dead. Worked like a charm. She died within the allowable 5 day limit (while on hospice) in the hospital, they didn’t even need to transfer her to a secondary location. My Dad, 22 years ago, first big bout of congestive heart failure which included elevated heart rate, the doctor’s got 20 pounds of water off of him in 48 hours, then worked with his health to stabilize the heart rate and he lived 22 more years even with 19% ejection fraction. He got up every single day of his life and was active, watched his diet, exercised, even with Parkinson’s. I was shocked at the CHANGE in treatment protocols!!!! Needless to say, the family even though counseled by doctors to let her go, still feel blindsided and are second guessing how fast this happened; they just did not have enough ‘medical knowledge’ to question the process.

  4. George,

    I could go on a damn fine rant this morning about big pharma and how they gotten people to believe there’s a pill for every ill, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that the American people will believe anything, providing that it isn’t true.

    What I do want to rant (in a happy way) about is the fine food to be had in the PNW in the Sea-Tac corridor. I was once a resident of that soggy land and last time I was up there for .mil business…a year ago in April…myself and a few others stopped in at Harbor Lights on the Tacoma waterfront the day before we left town. It was excellent and I had a fine time. The weather was even good and we sat outside and enjoyed some fresh Puget Sound breezes. It was also an opportunity to school some of my lesser traveled padawans (Jedi-in-training)on the superiority of west coast crab cakes over the east coast variety.

    I hope you and the missus have a great trip.


  5. My placebo definition: If you believe something will work, it will.
    In the Bible Mark 9:23-24 explains it well for me,”all things are possible to him that believeth…Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”
    Recommended reading: Escaping Cultural Hypnosis by Rogue Hypnotist. $0.99 at Amazon

    • I agree with your Bible quote LG and the need for the prayer for help too. Because the conscious mind, which is the part we can marshal, is only 10%. So consciously believing isn’t enough, unfortunately. The rest of the mind is subconscious and unconscious, so unless they are on board too, you will need some divine help.
      I remember a famous study that took seniors and put them into a living facility for a month. Everything in their environment was from the 50’s from what came over the radio, to what was on tv, to the newspapers, recipes and decor so that the subconscious mind could absorb it. At the end of the month, people who went in with walkers came out skipping and running. If our subconscious minds think something, it tends to manifest for us in spite of what our conscious minds tell us. I think when the placebo effect works, it’s a combination of things that include the guys in lab coats and the method of dosing the group and the medical setting, and the conscious knowledge that you are just as likely to be getting the real thing as not that makes the difference. But this is an area that deserves more study, and I’m just guessing.

  6. Umm . . . I agree with your choice of pasta place – though its a chain they have some great sauces . . . I first noticed however you talking about drinking a lot of grapefruit juice. While I think it is an acquired taste, I remember reading how for some reason that juice interacts with some medicine and is mentioned specifically in some ‘warnings’ . . . my dad used to have to have his half a grapefruit every morning. For him, I think consumption of the fruit was pretty much a ‘wash’. Just mentioning . . .

    • Yes, supposedly coumadin (Warfarin), however, we never had any problems with grapefruit juice and coumadin with my 85 year old Dad (meaning he drank it whenever he wanted it). He was on coumadin for 22 years. Did not die of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, but he did pass from having Parkinson’s and pancreatic cancer.

  7. If you plan to go to Seattle via I-5 Pack a lunch as Seatacoma is a total mess and downtown Seattle is to be avoided at all costs..

  8. Love the linguini with white clam sauce at Spaghetti Factory. If you haven’t tried it yet, get it with the Mizithra cheese added. Heavenly!

  9. Wow, that was quite a soliloquy straight out of the horses mouth. Proof that what I believe IS the truth about Big Pharma. Since you mentioned ketosis, I thought you might enjoy watching this You Tube Video made by Dr. Michael VanDerschelden, one of the chiropractors I go to. He speaks about The Ketogenic Diet and how it fights cancer. I found it to be very interesting.

  10. If I remember correctly, isn’t one of the roles of vitamin K to aid blood clotting. This should balance out your daily aspirin.

  11. The placebo effect has been shown to be as high as 60% in some clinical trials. And yes, the industry is notorious for running multiple parallel trials and then discarding the trials with unfavorable results/side effects.

    As any older nurse will tell you, if the modern version of some medicine doesn’t work, try the medication they were using 20 years earlier for that condition. What changes as new drugs are released is not only the price, but they may be replacing a drug with an expired patent and an 80 % effectiveness rate with one that only has a 30% or less rate.

  12. And you have to be out of your mind to eat seafood in the USA without running a radiation meter over it. The gulf is a huge polluted dead zone, the east coast is fished out, and the west coast is irradiated. The rest is farmed with heavy antibiotic use, and tilapia is raised on a diet of corn soaked in cooking oil. Some real nutrition in that. In some salmon runs in Canada, 80+% of salmon are showing up yellow instead of pink. Orcas have not successfully reproduced since 2011.

  13. Oh big pharma.. shoot.. its all about the Benjamin’s.. I had a pill I had to take.. to buy it here it was 1250.00 they had a pharmacy that would fax your script to canada and they would send it overnight to you for 250.00 same lot number manufacture date etc.. name brand.. then pharma went before the big boys lobbyist with pocket books.. and they voted that you couldn’t buy medications from over the border.. needless to say.. even though this medication was made right there.. actually I think all of them are made outside the USA right now.. its all a business model.. back in the seventies everyone even part time had insurance.. then laws were changed and insurance was a thing of the past.. creating a self generating beast.. raise costs because people are forced to seek out treatment in ER’s and then complain about the rising rates.. nothing but profit for a few big boys.. then when the bill was written that no one read.. oh hey did they vote to fast track bills now.. shoot do they even go to the office.. oh no I am on a rant

  14. “Bad cholesterol”? It’ll make you live longer.
    “A University of South Florida professor and an international team of experts have found that older people with high levels of a certain type of cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), live as long, and often longer, than their peers with low levels of this same cholesterol.”

  15. Amen on the pharmaceutical warning. I’ve avoided everything I could with the exception of the stomach acid reducers given their reported side effects. Trying to stick to the calcium tablets once or twice a day which usually works so far.

    When the wife and I were stationed in Bremerton we lived just south of the city in a development on a small man-made lake in an A-frame that obviously originated from a boxed kit. Being from Texas we loved the snow, eventually got used to the almost constant rain and ate as much sea food as we could possibly stand (imagine being sick of steak!) until our taste for spicy foods finally prevailed. I’m amazed how fast the spiciness of foods falls off once you get North of Texas and N. Mexico’s Northern boarder. We finally succumbed to the “quest for fire” and drove for a few hours through gorgeous country to find a lonely Taco Bell run by a Greek on the other side of the peninsula. Hey, whatever works, right? The food still wasn’t as hot as what we were accustomed to but it worked. “Grexican” can be downright strange, though but nothing matches the flavor of the sea food on the Left coast! Still want to go back one day but, dang!, the drive of several days or putting up with TSA keeps us back here in Texas.

Comments are closed.