Sunday, February 17, 2008

Injecting Some Sense into this Argument

I don't play a doctor on television; I practice medicine in real life. The mind-numbing, constant barrage of Reality TV (nobody holds the clicker to your head) evidently has rendered us victim to a national stupidity.

I give injections on most days - flu shots, pneumonia vaccine, tuberculin tests, hepatitis immunizations, tetanus, B12. Over the years I'm sure I've given thousands, many to those with serious underlying health problems - cancer, diabetes, heart, lung, or renal disease. How many people have gotten abscesses from one of these injections? I can't remember one (although I'll acknowledge my memory isn't getting any better).

There is absolutely no reason I can think of (absent arms) to give a B12 injection into somebody's buttocks. Studies on cadavers years ago showed that a majority of intramuscular injections wind up in lipomatous (fat) tissue anyway. And as pop culture (movies) remind us, "pitcher's got a big butt" as in fat.

I spoke with an Orthopedist the other day whom I consider an expert in sports medicine, and a very thoughtful guy. He has performed major joint surgery on professional athletes, and attends the latest informative conferences in the field. He described his peers as believing HGH simply to be 'the fountain of youth'. I didn't ask him whether he uses it in his practice, but it certainly makes you wonder.

Let's make this perfectly clear - the use of performance enhancing drugs isn't about right or wrong, vanity, establishing any moral high ground, or staking out new territory in human frailty, it is all about the money. Whether we're discussing Andy Pettitte, Rodney Harrison, Ben Johnson, Lance Armstrong, or other celebrity-athletes, the conversation revolves around the direct link between superior performance and escalating salaries and endorsements.

Yes, professional athletes pride themselves on 'helping the team' and playing at peak efficiency. But society rewards them and their sport for the performance, not the effort. If were all about effort, the Special Olympics would be America's top sport.

But what about Congressional hearings? That's another story, face time for politicians who aspire to power, the other side of the ego and money coin.

Yes, I'm sure Roger Clemens and many of his peers are 'great guys'. After all, isn't shaking down little kids for 20 dollar autographs the American Dream?

No comments: