As a kid my only exposure to natural remedies included consuming Bhaskar Lavan Churna, which used to be stocked by my Nanaji, behind his bed pillow. And we cousins would everyday eat a pinch or more of this churna post lunch, during our summer holidays.
We used to love sprinkling the churna on our guava pieces post lunch. And occasionally, since I loved the salty, spicy, sourness of its taste, I would ask my Nanaji for an extra helping.
Eventually as we grew up, the convenience of the packed form of Hajmola, attracted my Nanaji more, and he switched to the Hajmola tablets. As for me, that Hajmola bottle was like a magical candy land. I would to consume the Hajmolas like candy from my Nanajis stock, just like current day kids likely do with their chocolates and candies.
My other venture into Ayurveda as a kid, was the consumption of Kalmegh as a general tonic for health, promoted by my dad. But its use only lasted for a few months, since the bitter after taste of Kalmegh was as dark as its name, and too much to stomach for us.
US Pharmacy Journey
As a Pharmacist in US in my twenties, where medications of any form are consumed like candy by the patients there, I saw the patients living in an endless cycle of monthly medications, seasonal medications and regular addictions as well.
The elderly patients’ monthly medications for their different disease states were understandable, and as was the medications picked up by parents or caregivers for the occasional flu and other seasonal diseases.
But what affected me the most as a pharmacist, and also wore down my spirit a bit, was the increasing prescribing by certain unethical prescribers and the resultant addictive consumption of prescription pain medications.
There were some patients and doctors who used and prescribed pain medications discretely. But a significantly large number of patients either coerced, conned or abused the prescription laws to get significantly large amounts of certain pain medications, either for their own use, or for diversion to sell to other addicted patients.
This addiction to pain medications, instilled a deep wariness in my heart towards pain medications.
Another thing that bothered me immensely about the US healthcare was the inner emotional pain of the patients and the huge prescribing and consumption of anti-depressants. Many patients kept increasing their anti-depression medicine count and went from taking one medication regularly to three or more medications for their depression, but with no hope in sight to ending their pain and emotional misery.
A Patient’s Journey
Until my late twenties I was a healthy person, though a bit overweight, but I hardly ever fell sick and could function quite well in college and university with late night movie watching with friends and last minute studying for exams and assignments.
But in my thirties, my poor lifestyle of the twenties caught up, and as did the heartbreak of seeing sick patients regularly with either no one in their life to care for them, and also seeing patients seeking medicine and pharmacy staff as a substitute for company, companionship and human contact. All these things combined finally took a toll on my health.
It wasn’t just the destitute depression, addiction and isolated lives of the patients, but also the studying for additional university degrees while also working, and the personal life challenges that led to my falling sick with the flu regularly.
This happened despite going to the gym almost daily, taking regular annual flu shots, and being relatively fit weight wise.
In fact after a few years, when I had stopped working as a pharmacist while studying full time as a University student, my health worsened, and this time I had no patients or overworked study and work life to blame.
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