I recently came down with an ailment I quickly self-diagnosed as a sinus infection. Sometimes my self-diagnosis of my various ailments is nowhere near correct. There is a reason for this. My entire medical training was obtained from Google on my computer. Well, at least it is a start.

Anyway, I gave my ailment a day to get well and it didn’t so I had to resort to a trip to the drug store. I picked out a box of 24 kapseals which promised to give me a fast cure. I can truly vouch for the fact that they did.

I was cured before the day was over, mostly because I read the information on the box and never took a one. After reading all the warnings, I decided that it might be best to stick to a simple sinus infection rather than die from a serious side-effect. There were a few on the list that would interest Dr. Kevorkian who was released from prison on June 1, and may go back to doing what he was sent up for in the first place.

Every time I read the warnings on various medications, I think of what Albert Einstein said many years ago when his mother insisted he take a dose of Castor Oil. “For every action, there is a reaction.”

It is those reactions that bother me.

I have several prescriptions around my place that I never took, and never will. The bad part about prescriptions is that you don’t have a clue what’s in one until you get it and read the warnings.

If there are not sufficient warnings listed, a quick check with Google will give you some more.

I realize why the drug companies are forced to list all these possible side-effects and hope that somebody doesn’t sue them over one they forgot to list. If they do forget one, most likely somebody will come down with it and immediately call a lawyer.

I grew up in an era when few medications were available. What there was, we were glad to get when we needed it. I don’t ever recall going into Ernest Allen’s drug store in Blanket to get a prescription filled and have Ernest say, “Harry, if I was you, I wouldn’t take this. Dr. Yantis didn’t list any side-effects.”

Nearly every medication we take warns us not to “operate machinery.” Obviously, the drug companies are convinced that most Americans do nothing but take pills and operate machinery.

I have been a resident of this planet since before they dug the Bayou and I don’t ever remember operating any machinery. Isn’t machinery like maybe cotton gins?

I do recall operating a wheel-barrow one time on a construction job but I quit when they insisted on putting concrete in it. Anyway, I was just about 17 at the time and I didn’t need any prescriptions. Nothing I had was worn out then. Now, everything I’ve got just about is.

I plan on taking good care of the few parts I have left that still work. The last time I checked, 1924 parts were getting hard to find. I even stopped smoking, which was the one thing I did really well.

One thing about it though, I wore my parts out in a normal manner doing something constructive. I didn’t wear my knee and hip joints out jogging up steep hills or lifting weights or pounding them on a treadmill.

I was forced into picking cotton in my youth and nobody knows what the long term side-effects of that might be.

I find nothing on Google under “Cotton picking side-effects.”

I can only hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Harry Marlin’s column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletin’s Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.