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11/22/2005 Archived Entry: ""Oh. The feds ..." and herbal anti-nausea medicine"

LAST WEEK AN ACQUAINTANCE STARTED CHEMOTHERAPY. Horrible, horrible thing. A month ago, this lively lady -- a veritable saint of animal rescue work, a real heroine -- seemed well. Now, she can barely lift her head from the pillow -- except to vomit repeatedly.

Thanks to greatheartedness of one of my friends -- who doesn't know this woman at all -- she received a gift of herbal anti-nausea medication. Neither the woman nor her husband have any experience with this medication, nor have they closely followed the legal wranglings over its status.

I explained to the husband (call him Pete) that medical use of the herb was legal in their location. I gave them contact information for a co-op where they might be able to get more if their doctor was willing and if he wasn't too frightened to write the required letter of recommendation.

Why would the doctor be frightened, Pete wondered?

"The feds," I shrugged. "It's legal in your state, but the feds still come down on doctors. And sometimes on patients."

"Oh. The feds," this totally non-political, sixty-something retired businessman responded.

And in his voice was the most glorious dismissal. The most natural contempt. "Oh. The feds," he said. As if the feds were cockroaches -- nuisances that one sometimes has to put up with but that certainly present no great moral force or potent terror. "Oh. The feds." As if the world's most vicious drug warriors were a grease spot on his otherwise pristine driveway.

He was far too polite to say it, but in this kindly, apolitical gentleman's voice was, "F**k the feds. And all their dirty works. We'll live our lives and take care of our own, in spite of them."

Pete then offered to pay for the herbal gift. But the friend who gave it had already said of the sick woman, "She never charged for the good things she did, did she?" All payment refused.

This is why I prefer the world of real human beings and individual moral choices over the best "system" ever devised.

Posted by Claire @ 09:46 AM CST

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