Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Research Objects

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect-like creature.” ~~Franz Kafka (The Metamorphosis)

The human condition is absurd.

Ten hours into 2014, I’d broken the only resolution I made: to give no advice.  I shrugged with an “okay, nobody takes it anyway.”  Even when they ask for it.

He’d cyber’d, “Thanks for encouraging me to_________ “ It doesn’t matter who or what I advised. Only that after this expression of gratitude for my advice, advice he took briefly, he then detoured, hurting people, throwing pain into a world already submerged in it, adding insult to insult, injury to injury.

Later, opening email, I saw a name in my inbox. At first nothing registered. Suddenly, it did. Because I’d opened the OTHER side of the story. There’s always more than one side—he said/she said, you know. Witnessing the butterfly effect, I imagined someone’s pulling the wings off fragilities. The man who’d thanked me for encouraging him had become a microcosm of Empire, like US foreign policy in its self-fulfilling prophesy.

(As Missy Beattie awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, she found herself transformed in her bed into a gigantic insect-like creature.)

I made a new resolution. I will stop climbing the walls in anxiety. When I feel the familiar alert, the change in heart rate, the hyperhidrosis, I’ll visualize a STOP sign, a popup—to remind me of absurdities.

Two-thirds of the Sisterhood drove to St. Simons today. Laura and Erma loaded their Lesbaru with the cats, cat carriers, workout equipment, groceries, suitcases, beach chairs, computers, and myriad other STUFF. This leaves me to work the resolution alone. Okay, Laura NEVER worries. Laura will not wake up, transformed in her bed into a gigantic insect-like creature. Erma’s on my angst-card.

All these years, my anxiety has been productive—yes, producing acid that scalds my esophagus, which led me to take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for over 10 years to check said production.  Little did I know the PPI was depleting my body of vitamin B-12, and perhaps contributing to depression, nerve damage, and dementia. Those who take a PPI for more than two years are at risk. Earlier findings linking PPIs to bone fractures and impaired vascular health are enormously alarming, and so is this latest research.

PPIs are big business, one of the largest classes of drugs sold in the US with sales in the billions. Drug companies may minimize or dismiss the findings about their use. Those who take these medications must weigh the benefits against the risks—really, a prudent measure for any decision.

Some months ago I met friends for lunch in DC. One is Charles’s former colleague, a physician and scientist. Another researcher joined us. When they discussed drug trials, I asked about the length of these studies. My friend’s colleague said he’s interested in long-term follow-up observation. He gave the example of a drug that was removed from the market because those using it had increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. And then he said that a significant number of people who took this drug now have Alzheimer’s. Obviously, short clinical trials can’t test for effects that occur years later. (Hmm, now there’s a connection, circling back to giving advice, taking it, or not. Advice one gives or takes in the short term may have unexpected consequences years later.)

When Charles was sick, I Googled Parkinsonism etiology and found that research supports both genetic and environmental factors. Later, someone mentioned my husband’s exposure, as an anesthesiologist,
to anesthetic agents. I dismissed this, thinking that more anesthesiologists would have Parkinson’s. Wouldn’t this link be established?  I don’t know. I considered many things, his hobby before we met, photography development. The chemicals necessary.  And that he operated the nuclear reactor at New York University.  So many variables.

We want to find something, some cause, that we can limit contact with or avoid.  I say to my children. “Don’t eat that meat with all those antibiotics and Mad Cow prions.” I’ve inflicted my don’ts on them so many times they no longer take me seriously.

Some of us die worse than others. I’d like to exit this place without a diagnosis of dementia. Certainly, I prefer not to be Frankenmammal, a neurologically impaired byproduct of pharmacology. It’s that I have these rules, a plan—about end of life choices, the right to choose time and place. We cling to life though, even when it isn’t really living. Is this innate? I don’t know. I just hope I have the courage someday to say, “I love you, goodbye.” Before I’m a burden. My children are funny. If I read this to them, they’d say, “You’re a burden now.”

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]