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The Good and The Bad

The Good and The Bad

I recently visited a cardiologist for the first time, and while waiting for my name to be called I was treated to a cartoon on the waiting room television. It was a cowboy cartoon titled, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

The Good: HDL cholesterol. The Bad: LDL cholesterol. And the Ugly: triglycerides.

While watching the cartoon I couldn’t help but wonder why in the heck am I watching a cartoon? You don’t see many children in a cardiologist’s waiting room, so someone must have imagined that a cartoon (apparently aimed at a fifth-grade intellect) would be the best way to communicate heart health information to adults.

At the end of the cartoon, the Good the Bad, and the Ugly “ride off into the sunset of good heart health.” But riding off into the sunset is a typical metaphor for death. So what in the world are the cartoonists trying to say here? They must figure that a fifth-grade intellect won’t question their questionable ending.

The cardiologist curiosities didn’t end there.

When I finally saw the doctor and we discussed my blood work, he noted that my LDL level was let’s just say it wasn’t a problem, but it WAS within the range that would make a Lipitor salesperson happy. And yet my doctor didn’t even MENTION Lipitor or any other statin drug. On one hand I was pleased that I didn’t have to defend my opposition to using statins, but I also wondered if an alarm had been set off at some giant drug company, making my doctor vulnerable to a stiff reprimand for missing an opportunity to enroll another statin user.

So I walked out of the office without a prescription, but I had a newfound appreciation for what life was like in the Old West for HDL and LDL and their ugly partner triglycerides.