Sanity v. Money

The other day I went to the doctor to get some shots for my upcoming trip to India (Pulao and I leave Xmas day for a long vacation to her parents’ homestead in Delhi). Although there’s not much risk of malaria in Delhi, my doc says its pretty standard to take some kind of malarial prophylaxis when visiting India. OK, I say.

“There’re two drugs that are good. A cheap one with side effects, and an expensive one with none.”

This sounds to me like the intro to a parable, or a joke. “What are the side effects for the cheap one?” I say.

“Well, some people have gastro-intestinal problems. And some people go batty in the head.”

Ooo-kay . . .That’s the medical term, I’m guessing. From the Latin “batum”.

The expensive one, I find out — the sans-insanity one — is five bucks a pill. And you take one a day for a month. (For the math-addled or lazy, that’s $150). The cheap ones are only $20 for a month’s supply. I guess you can’t expect a prescription drug to keep you safe from malaria and psychosis for the price of a large pizza.

How much am I willing to pay for my peace of mind? You know, literally? Or all the pieces of my mind?

In other medical news, I got a couple of shots-in-the-arm vaccines, but also an oral one for typhoid. “This is a live, weakened strain of typhoid bacterium,” the doc said, holding up four pills. “So you have to take care of it. You have to take it on an empty stomach with lots of cool water, to make sure it lives long enough to get into your small intestines.”

Are you sure, Doc, that we want typhoid flourishing in my intestines? You know, if I took it on a full stomach, and the typhoid died, would that be so bad?

As a person who is already pretty batty, without medications, I tell you — it was hard for me to swallow that prescription typhoid. I wanted to wash my hands after I touched the pill but, you know, that would have been crazy.

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