Dying to Lose Weight

28 02 2017

Have you seen the ad on TV for Contrave? This is a prescription weight loss medication which, according to the Contrave web site, is “Believed to work on 2 areas of the brain to reduce hunger and help control cravings.” Wait a minute you mean you aren’t sure? Supposedly, taking this medication helps to reduce hunger and cravings so one eats less. Hey, I can pop a couple of Tootsie Rolls just before dinner and accomplish the same thing.


I usually tune these types of commercials out, or run through them on my DVR; but, this one caught my attention and made me wonder just how desperate one might need to be to take this medication.


According to the ad, possible side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Risk of opioid overdose
  • Sudden opioid withdrawal
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Increase in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Liver damage or hepatitis
  • Manic  episodes
  • Visual problems

Most common side effects include:

o   nausea

o   constipation

o   headache

o   vomiting

o   dizziness

o   trouble sleeping

o   dry mouth

o   diarrhea

And, if that isn’t enough, it goes on to say, “These are not all the possible side effects of CONTRAVE.” My goodness, what’s left that could happen to a body?


This ad gives me pause to question both the competency and integrity of the FDA. I can just see a user of Contrave standing around after church speaking with friends.


“Oh, girl, I haven’t slept in two weeks, can’t keep anything down, this rash is driving me crazy and my doctor tells me I need a new liver. But, have you noticed how much thinner I am?”


I understand that many people desire to lose weight; and, also, a good many people need, for medical reasons, to lose weight; but, my heart goes out to anyone whose desire, or need, to be smaller is so great they would resort to a medication such as Contrave. Sounds a lot to me like Russian Roulette. Pull the trigger and see what happens.


The Big Weigh-In

4 08 2012

For nearly nine years I managed the employee safety program for the City of Durham, North Carolina. We had a medical department consisting of two nurses who took very good care of City employees. The nurses’ office was across from mine and just outside was a set of medical beam scales such as we’ve all used at the doctor’s office. You know, the kind that you slide the little jeest across the beam until the beam balances. Well, I had a small magnet about 3 inches long and had discovered that if I placed the magnet on the backside of the counterweight, the scale would read 7 pounds heavy.


It was Tuesday morning, following a long Easter weekend, and when I came into the office ahead of everyone else, I placed my magnet on the back of the counterweight. Not long afterward, as I sat at my desk, I heard someone outside my office getting onto the scales.


Turns out, some of the officers next door at Police Headquarters were having a contest to see who could lose the most weight. This was the first of several police officers who would come over throughout the morning to check their weight.


As he began to move the slider across the beam to balance the scale, I could hear the exasperation in his voice.


“No way!” I heard him shout to no one. “I starved myself all weekend!”


I then heard him step down from the scale and begin to remove his shoes, belt, keys, pocket change-everything except his pants and shirt came off. Still, the scale indicated he had gained, instead of lost, weight. Gauging by his attitude at the moment, I decided it was probably safer to let him leave thinking he had gained weight than to reveal my secret. That’s all I need is an angry cop waiting for me to drive out of the parking lot so he can exact his revenge.


I let the magnet ride for a few more weigh-ins. It wasn’t long before the group of officers began to compare notes and suspect, as Chris Berman or Lee Corso might say, a little trickeration. When I saw how relieved they were upon realizing they hadn’t actually gained weight, I felt it was safe for the big reveal.


And that’s how I came to be known as the prankster of City Hall.