Criminalizing Allergies?

Before moving to West Virginia in the 1970s, I really didn't know what allergies were. After all, I had always lived in rather large cities, with all of the concrete, buildings and houses, packed in close together. No room for the weed dust!

In the rural Mountain State, however, I was soon to learn that in the summer, the pollens started my nose running every morning, and in the winter, some other type of weed took their place.

The result was always some degree of sneezing, head congestion and the proverbial running nose.

"You ought to go to an allergist," my former wife would snap at me each morning, "Your nose running is irritating."

Well, I guess that it was, but to me, a manly sort of guy, who doesn't want to go to the doctor for an ailment so minor when a pack of Claritan can easily be bought at the pharmacy to solve the problem. Later, I added to that medicine the homeopathic "Sinus Pills," which do help solve the problem within about half an hour.

And, by the way, most of the homeopathic pills have been made right here in West Virginia for the past 200 years at Berkeley Springs' Washington Products, Inc., so I feel very "patriotic" in buying a Mountain State product. (These are very little pills, but by putting a few under your tongue in the morning, they absorb rapidly and provide timely relief. Since the homeopathic doctors made their pills from various natural, good health promoting herbs and plants, like the Native Americans of past centuries did, they were the first doctors to practice medicine in this country. They're still around, but hard to find. The renowned Philadelphia School of Homeopathic Medicine has been merged into Drexel University, I've been told.)

So, taking a Claritan pill first off in the morning and after breakfast, the little homeopathic allergy pills - do the trick for me.

To my chagrin, though, the latest time when asking for a Claritan pack at my pharmacy, it seemed like an out-of-the-ordinary big deal. In fact, I was asked for my driver's license to photocopy it. When asking why that was necessary, I was told that due to the meth problem, this was a new regulation.

Gosh, I felt like a criminal, and unlike meth users, my teeth aren't falling out, I'm not skeletal looking and, to be honest, I really don't know what meth is, except that the police tell me it's an illegal drug.

All of my experience with allergies and being an honest, law-abiding citizen, suggests to me that our Letter to the Editor writer this week (his message printed below) is right - we West Virginians don't need Senate Bill, No. 6.

William McLin, M.Ed., who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), makes sense to me. He decries enacting a new law governing the sale of standard decongestants, the 12- and 24-hour relief ones, to be made available now only by a doctor's prescription.

When our State Delegate Brent Boggs (D-34th Dist.) mentioned this bill in a recent column, I thought to myself, "This is going to cost West Virginians, many of whom are poor, a whole lot of money."

Hey, and it will cost ME a whale of a lot, too!

Gone are the days when growing up, that my doctor's visits were about $15.00. My last visit cost me about $250.00, and that was only to refer me to another doctor.

Now, if I have to get prescription renewals for Claritan, as well as my other few meds, I'll have to be making medical office appointments about once every three months - a costly hardship for most senior and other chronically ill patients, just to get prescription renewals for what are now over-the-counter meds.

Hence, for that reason and all the others that Mr. William McLin, of AAFA, enumerated, we editors entreat our state's legislators not to pass Senate Bill, No. 6 into law. If they do, we ask Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to veto it.

Postscript, No. 1

Lambert's Winery Thurs.

At 5 p.m. on this Thurs., Feb. 27, Lamberts Winery of Weston will be the "Business After 5 PM Social Hour's" host at the Glenville Inn. A wine tasting and presentation are scheduled to take place, making for a colorful first monthly business social for the New Year. This is our Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder newspapers and GSC Public Relations Dept.'s way of promoting this area's commercial endeavors. And, there ought to be a lot of "good cheer" at it, I'd guess!

Postscript, No. 2

The cultural horizon???

As always, we like to give an overview of the local, state and region's cultural events, especially for those Gilmer County residents who enjoy the fine arts.

Be alert to the regular GSC weekly advertisements and news items that focus on Glenville State College's Fine Arts Dept. and Theater Dept.'s highly popular cultural offerings at the art gallery exhibits, musical and theatrical performances. These fine arts shows are really worth seeing, so keep an eye out for them in future newspaper editions!

Another source for cultural offerings - although a two hour drive away - is at Charleston's Clay Center. Now running is an exhibit on "Every Living Thing: A Closer Look at Nature," along with an art face-off between the WVU and Marshall student artists. (But, as stressed in my column last week, I'd wager that our GSC student artists, under the able Prof. Liza Brenner, are just as good.)

The Clay Center also has an on-going film festival showing.

Finally, on Fri., Mar. 7, Crosby, Stills and Nash will perform their musical program, which promises to be very popular and well attended. For more information, call the center at 1-304-561-3570, or just log-on to: www.theclaycenter.org

Also, in Charleston on another type of musical note, I've been impressed in past years with the city's Chamber Music Society's programs. The chamber musicians are first-rate in performing on the piano, violin, and cello - a very relaxing combo sound. Unfortunately, in recent years, I've been too busy here in Glenville to be able to get away for these outstanding musical programs, which usually take place in the downtown's United Methodist Church. Right now, I do not have the Chamber Music Society's schedule of performances, so for more info, log-on to their website.

Postscript, No. 3

At Landmark in Sutton

One of this region's outstanding hidden cultural treasures is the Landmark Studio of the Arts in downtown Sutton on Main Street, diagonally across from the courthouse.

There, local and visiting performers put on some very impressive theatrical and musical performances. The plays, in particular, are both traditional favorites and modern ones. Credits go to the theater's director who makes sure that there's a good mixture of cultural experiences to keep the audience happy. Moreover, the volunteer organizers keep us editors informed, so watch for their new season's shows in this newspaper.

Conclusion

Like last week, be good area folks and try to do one "Random Act of Kindness" this week. Remember, each February is "Random Acts of Kindness Month." (I need to extend my kindnesses to others, too. I try to show my good will on Facebook, if I don't see people in person.)