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Just tripping

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Some of life’s greatest mysteries have such simple answers.

For instance, have you ever wondered why, when air hostesses take back those hot towels they hand out, they use such a long-handled pair of tongs? Well, I got the answer recently when the gentleman seated alongside me in cattle class used his to address first his neck, then both axillae, and finally his crutch – the latter very thoroughly, I must add.
I am just back from a road trip around western USA, which was heaps of fun and something to put on your bucket list. Yosemite, Zion, the Grand Canyon and the West Coast – with its awe inspiring Redwood forests – are sights you should not miss. I was hard pressed to think of grander scenery in Australia until I recalled my last dive on the Great Barrier Reef.
However, we should be very thankful that in Australia we do not have direct-to-patient marketing of pharmaceuticals as they do in the US.

Cialis, Xarelto, and Humira all flood free-to-air television advertising spots, with Cialis even trumpeting free 30-day samples of its daily pill, surely enough to get any red blooded male over 40 highly excited.
The Charlestown shooting was barely over, but this did not phase the free press in California, with both AK47s and automatic Glock pistols being advertised as Father’s Day gifts.

Again, Aussies should be glad we have very restricted access to such military hardware – and I speak as a gun owning cattle farmer as well as a rural GP.
On a positive note, the Americans are much more considerate and polite drivers than most of us, and much more gregarious and most forthcoming in offering advice on local must-do activities.
‘Obamacare’ was ratified by the Supreme Court while I was in New York and the press praised it – in words that echo the basic mantra of our AMA – as being a step towards accessible, affordable and quality health care for all Americans.

The press in USA, I must say, is more enlightened than many of our Aussie throwback, frequently extolling both the cost, and the health outcome benefits, of proactive preventive primary health care.
Same-gender marriage was backed by the Supreme Court the next day, causing much surprised and joyous celebration among the rainbow coalition. At long last, it ensured them equal rights in all states. I trust our Parliament can now be as enlightened and recognise that sexual preferences are hard-wired into DNA, and must not be legally discriminated against.
On a more worrisome note, the financial pages of the New York Times noted the strong support of US pharmaceutical giants for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, on the grounds that it would be a tool to maintain prices and ensure the longevity of patents.

If you have yet to visit New York, put it on your bucket list too. If a simple country bumpkin like me loves it on his third visit, so will you.