|cortisone||[injected] Cortisol has profound psychological effects. At one extreme, "steroid psychosis" can result. At the other, a profound sensation of well-being can occur. In between, the effects are more difficult to characterize.|
|lomotil||For diarrhea. Contains anti-cholinergic compounds, which, in toxic doses, can make someone "mad as a hatter."|
|paregoric||For diarrhea. Contains opium. Mentation is probably unaffected if used in reasonable doses, but Kenndey was taking at least 3 medications for diarrhea, suggesting that doses were high.|
|phenobarbital||A classic "downer"|
|testosterone||Was Kennedy's "bull-like" libido a side effect of testosterone? Was his cholesterol level of 410?|
|trasentine||An anti-diarrhea medication. There is very little published about this drug. Side effects include giddiness and euphoria.|
|Tuinal||A mixture of secobarbital and amobarbital Kennedy used to help him sleep. Amobarbital is better known as Amytal, one of the more common "truth serum" drugs.|
|amphetamines||Post and Robins, writing in 1993, thought it was "highly suggestive" that Kennedy took amphetamines while President, but considered it unproven 2a. The recent Atlantic article states definitively that Kennedy received injections of amphetamines and painkillers from "Dr. Feelgood," a.k.a. Max Jacobson 1a. Kennedy dismissed concerns about the injections, saying, "I don't care if it's horse piss. It works." Jacobson's medical license was revoked in 1975. Previously, in 1969, all controlled substances in his possession were confiscated by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs 2a. It is thought that Kennedy was under the influence of amphetamines when he made his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech 2a.|
There is no evidence that JFK's physical torments played any significant part in shaping the successes or shortcomings of his public actions, either before or during his presidency. Prescribed medicines and the program of exercises begun in the fall of 1961, combined with his intelligence, knowledge of history, and determination to manage presidential challenges, allowed him to address potentially disastrous problems sensibly. His presidency was not without failings (the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and his slowness to act on civil rights were glaring lapses of judgment), but they were not the result of any physical or emotional impairment. 3aLet's look at this claim in detail.
He felt the cortisone, too. Before press conferences and televised speeches, Kennedy's doctors increased his cortisone dose to ~ help him handle the associated stress 3b. This is very troubling. There ~ is certainly no untoward physical stress associated with talking to reporters or cameras. Thus, ~ we can presume he needed extra cortisone to deal with the psychological stress of such events. ~ The psychological stress involved in such events, however, must pale in comparison to the stress ~ of deciding whether to end civilization in the Cuban Missle Crisis, whether to invade Cuba, or ~ what to do with American and Soviet tanks separated by 100 yards in Berlin, loaded, and with ~ their muzzles pointed at each other. Did he call for extra cortisone then? And if he did, what ~ is the right dose to give? Do Berlin and Cuba decisions warrant a higher dose than Viet Nam decisions?
There is no evidence that JFK's physical torments played any significant part in shaping the successes or shortcomings of his public actions, either before or during his presidency.Point 1: This is classic disingenuation. Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.
Point 2: Dallek does not consider whether Kennedy's medications may have played a role.
Prescribed medicines and the program of exercises begun in the fall of 1961, combined with his intelligence, knowledge of history, and determination to manage presidential challenges, allowed him to address potentially disastrous problems sensibly.Point 1: The majority of this sentence may be translated as: "Kennedy meant well."
Point 2: Dallek does not consider that Kennedy's intelligence, knowledge, and determination may have been compromised by his medical condition or his medications (and drugs).
His presidency was not without failings (the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and his slowness to act on civil rights were glaring lapses of judgment), but they were not the result of any physical or emotional impairment.Again, Dallek takes medications and drugs out of the equation.
The Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in April 1961. At this time in Kennedy's administration, he was under the maximal influence of Dr. Feelgood and subjected to maximal polypharmacy. It seems cavalier to dismiss a "glaring lapse of judgment" from a man with "intelligence, knowledge, and determination" as not being influenced by a daily physical and mental assault.
In fact, the answer is probably unknowable. Absent an insightful realization and confession by Kennedy himself, there is no real way to prove that Kennedy's decisions on any particular day or in any particular month were influenced by medicines or by medical condition. By the same reasoning, it is impossible to prove that Kennedy's decisions were not affected.
a pp.69-70Comment: At one time Post worked for the CIA, profiling foreign leaders.
a p.61 b p.60