The Placebo Effect is alive and well…

Got up this morning at 07.00, feeling quite good, knew I’d taken my meds and – for once – they were working as they should, with pain reasonably well controlled and everything else ticking over nicely.

Fired up the PC, logged into Twitter,said hi to a couple of tweeps and – oops, forgot the rest. Sorry folks, nothing personal. Checked my email – I have no idea how I stand so much excitement!

Hit the kitchen, to make a batch of pickled eggs, already boiled and cracked last night, so just needed peeling and dunking in spiced vinegar.

I spent several days obsessively turning the egg box every couple of hours, to persuade the yolks to move to the centre of the eggs. Out of a dozen I got 9 which complied with greater or lesser degrees of efficacy (lesser means an older egg, and the yolk was anchoring itself in position (one looks like it has already started to develop as a foetus – I’ll cut into that one very carefully!

Of the other three, two yolks were firmly anchored, and the fag-paper-thin white tore, so I’ve pickled them on their own – put in the main jar they’d make all the vinegar cloudy with particles from the yolk. In their own jar it doesn’t matter. The third one was broken in two, probably by careless handling (by me, or possibly Sod’s Law **). That’ll make an egg mayo sandwich for later.

**If you’re reading this in the US you’ll more likely know that as Murphy’s Law – which must seriously piss off the Irish.

And as I was finishing, it occurred to me that my diuretic hadn’t kicked in, so I went to the bedroom to check that no meds had accidentally been dropped on the floor, or otherwise missed, as happens very occasionally to anyone who takes drugs while in bed, as any hospital floor will testify.

Turned out I’d missed them all, they were still in their bottle and the cap screwed down tight – my memory was false and I was running on empty and on the Placebo Effect. So I took them.

Every night I put out my meds for the following morning, so I need do nothing more complicated than reach out for them, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve taken them entirely on autopilot (and on trust that I hadn’t forgotten to put them out!)

The nurse was here by then, and she suggested I make a list of my drugs, and tick off each one as taken. I take my first meds – 9 drugs, 16 tabs and caps (out of 63 tabs and caps in the course of the day, not counting extras like Doxy, which starts this afternoon, 2 tabs a day) – at 05.00 and if I have to wake up to the degree needed to check them off on a list I’m never going to get back to sleep. This is never going to happen.

Anyway, I digress, as I often do, and there’s no getting away from the fact that, for 3 waking hours, I was up, active, and feeling pretty good on zero medication. That’s not to say I don’t need my meds – I do, a has been proven to cynical doctors repeatedly. Were I to stop my meds – all my meds – I’d either be in hospital or dead in very short order – drugs are what keep me upright and drawing breath.

My point here is that the Placebo Effect is immensely powerful – often the most, or second most, powerful influence in drug trials. This is why you often see “Drug X is somewhat better than a placebo,” normally used dismissively, but given how powerful the Placebo Effect is, I’d take that as an endorsement!

Let’s face it, this morning, for a short while, the Placebo Effect was way better than what I normally get from a combination of 9 drugs.

That’s a force that should be harnessed, not dismissed but, sadly, the only people who seem to have realised this are the quacks. The fact that they might not know they are quacks – though I’m sure they must on some level – does not exonerate them from their crimes against the desperate and the bewildered, of whom there are many.

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6 thoughts on “The Placebo Effect is alive and well…

  1. Quite an “eggy” tale Ron ! Enjoy mate, I love them. You seem “up” today and a very interesting Rant indeed. With your accurate description of your GP as a quack I had wondered if you might have pickled a dozen duck eggs. ;-)

    • Nooo . . . I took great care not to describe my GP as a quack. I might have been disparaging of late, but I was fair and it was no more than he deserved (he fucked up my Gaba script – no getting away from that), but I never tagged him as a quack. Since I need him, that would have been extremely foolish.

      • Gaba update – almost zero side-effects tonight on the full 600mg dose. I followed it with half a litre of water, spread over a couple of hours, and either something in the water shut down the problems, or it hurried it through my stomach into the gut, where absorption is a lot slower – that’s my favourite theory right now, especially as, in the past, the evening dose was the only one where I didn’t have a drink on hand. From now on, it’s Gaba with a water chaser (and crossed fingers).

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