Archive for Ease and Disease

Question of the ages

Ages over 21, anyway:

I imagine it’s about the same reason we non-celebrities are similarly plagued, with the additional proviso that celebrities who are not so plagued — see, for instance, Zooey Deschanel — are considered to have “fat knees.”

Zooey Deschanel slouches a bit

Doesn’t mean, of course, that ZD is always going to look like this. (If nothing else, it encourages saving pictures; this shot is probably two or three hairstyles ago.)

Angelina Jolie in an LBDReading the actual Scottish Daily Mail article, incidentally, cost me 99 cents through PressReader: the not-Scottish (and therefore crap) Daily Mail doesn’t provide a gateway to this edition. It quotes a physician who blames sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that afflicts those of a Certain Age, and perhaps afflicts celebrities worse because they’re trying so hard to be thin and spindly. Included with the article was a shot of Angelina Jolie cranked down to Maximum Knob, as seen here, and examples which are, incredibly, even worse. (Do not go Googling any recent shots of, say, Catherine Zeta-Jones.) This is the sort of circumstance, I believe, that calls for a somewhat-lower hemline; however, Hollywood types are not known for taking my advice, and very likely never will. I do not know if high-heel abuse is a factor here, though it seems at least somewhat possible, given the distortions of the frame that seem inevitable with the elevation. The physician suggests that if you can’t rise from a seated position without using your hands, you’re already on the wrong side of the scale; for me, with my architecturally questionable knees, it depends on the height of the seat. Then again, no one, I’m quite certain, is wanting to see my legs, which, this being the dead of winter, are, in Johnny Carson’s phrase, “the color of a born gosling.”

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The alarmist

It is of course inevitable that something will eventually kill me; this is the fate of all of us, and God knows there’s no reason I ought to be spared. But I have this unfortunate tendency to see my eventual demise as, well, imminent. And it’s not. (I think.)

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That perches in the sole

There are always stops along the annual Architecture Tour, usually private residences, where Trini and I will be asked to remove our shoes, which of course we do because it’s the respectful thing to do in someone else’s house, and in all those years I’ve messed up only one pair of socks, and Trini’s never lost any. (Then again, she’s hard-nosed about socks; if I didn’t know better, and technically I don’t, I’d swear she wears socks in the shower fercrissake.)

I doubt, though, that anyone was actually worried about germs:

Unless you have a special circumstance, you probably wear shoes inside your house.

But several scientific studies suggest why that’s a bad idea — and the reasons are pretty gross.

Though some bacteria is good for us, if you’ve ever gotten a stomach virus, you’ll know that other kinds of bacteria are not.

A study done by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water (and universally present in feces), were detected on the bottoms of 96% of shoes.

In addition, E. coli was detected on 27% of the shoes, along with seven other kinds of bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infection, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections.

Various cautions:

  • This study goes back to no later than 2008, and the supporting video has long since 404ed;
  • God only knows what might be living on the surfaces of our socks;
  • Since my normal (non-winter) after-work wear consists only of shoes, I should probably be dead by now;
  • Then again, I go through a hell of a lot of mop heads.

Conclusion: The guys who wrote the linked article were hard up for material.

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Viral music

In perhaps the most literal sense. Genetic Jen explains:

I took the entire HIV-1 genome and transformed it into music. This is something I had wanted to do for quite a while. The four nucleotide base pairs are cytosine (C), thymine (T), adenine (A), and guanine (G). Every C in the sequence has become a C note. The A bases are A notes and G bases are G notes. A friend suggested making the thymine (T) a pause in the music, but I preferred the idea that every base has a note so T has become a D note.

Is it great music? No. This is just yet another way to observe the genome. This is the smallest genome I’ve worked with and the track is one hour long. Obviously it could be shortened by altering the tempo but I liked it like this. Amazingly, a number of people have actually downloaded the music.

“Clearly I do strange things when I’m bored,” she says. I don’t think it’s all that strange: it’s still the same information, information of genuine value, simply converted into a different medium. And I am admittedly somewhat drawn to the idea that every single genome has a song of its own, even if the same four notes keep coming up.

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Surprising health-integrated technologies

After reading this, I suppose I should be grateful that my knees, rather than my ankles, are giving me grief:

One of the braces the nurse gave me was a simple ankle brace that anyone who has had a sprained ankle will be familiar with. The other brace looked like a bondage device for foot fetishists. The simple ankle brace came with a forty page pamphlet in twelve European languages (including Slovenian) and four Asian languages, two of them being Chinese in both simplified and traditional pictographs. The foot fetishist’s wet dream came with no instructions in any language at all (including Slovenian). The nurse quickly showed me how to put the thing on and then rushed off to see other patients. As you might imagine, I have worn the foot fetishist’s delight exactly once, because I cannot figure out how to fasten and secure the device to my ankle. In fact, I wear the brace for my left ankle on my right ankle; it seems to work, but there may be dangers here that I will comment on at a later date. As for the left ankle brace that I wear on my right ankle, it strikes me as decidedly odd that anyone would choose to print out, in twelve European languages (including Slovenian), four Asian languages, two of them being Chinese in both simplified and traditional pictographs, detailed instructions on how to put on a sock. I realize that the bureaucratic mind will seize at any opportunity to make itself annoying to the public it allegedly serves, but this seems to be unnecessarily annoying.

My familiarity with the foot-fetish subculture is probably less than you think it is; at any rate, I can imagine a device that would make putting on a sock problematic, but I’d rather not.

And at least nobody’s having to wear bondage sandals.

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Half nuts

Hitler, said the song, “has only got one ball,” and it was assumed that shrapnel — not Henry Shrapnel himself, of course, as he died in 1842 — was responsible for der Führer’s condition. Apparently not:

A German historian claims he has proof that Adolf Hitler had just one testicle, lending credence to a World War II-era song that mocked the maniacal leader’s manhood.

Professor Peter Fleischmann of Erlangen-Nuremberg University said medical records show the tyrant’s right testicle was undescended, according to The Telegraph.

The documents, from a prison exam taken in 1923, after Hitler’s failed attempt to seize power, surfaced during a 2010 auction, but were confiscated by the Bavarian government, and have only now been properly reviewed.

The prison’s physician, Dr. Josef Steiner Brin, noted that “Adolf Hitler, artist, recently writer” was “healthy and strong” but suffered from “right-side cryptorchidism,” a condition when a testicle fails to properly descend.

No confirmation is yet available for the song’s assertion that Hermann Göring “has two, but very small.”

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The money men are wide awake

Regular readers will by now have noted that I have occasional bouts of insomnia. Often they ask why I don’t try out the Latest Technology. And the answer, ever-so-slightly simplified, comes out this way:

If you use a CPAP machine to help you sleep, be aware that they’re hardly rocket science. It was developed by a man who tested it on his friends, with no medical monitoring whatsoever. Nevertheless, if you want one you’ll have to undergo a “sleep study” costing at least hundreds, if not thousands of dollars; get a prescription from a doctor; have it sold to you by a medical supply company that inflates the price dramatically; and have that company refuse to give you the instructions you need to reprogram the machine yourself in case of changes in your sleep pattern. No, you’ve got to go back to them, and perhaps get another “sleep study”, before they’ll condescend to do that for you — all at a cost to your pocket. None of these steps except the original diagnosis are actually medically necessary, and they often don’t apply overseas.

There may be better systems, but I suspect they are cunningly designed to cost even more. My current drug cocktail is not in the least appealing, but it’s under a dollar a day.

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Nothing up my sleeve

Blood donation sticker from AANRThis is, of course, due to the fact that I have no actual sleeves at the moment.

I received the following this week in email from the American Association for Nude Recreation:

The AANR home office will be hosting a blood drive on January 29, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the AANR office in Kissimmee, Florida. AANR invites everyone in the area to stop by, donate, and meet its staff.

While January is National Blood Donor Month, you can support the thousands of people in need of blood daily, any time of the year. Let’s show AANRs support and help save a life one nudist at a time.

A nice, public-spirited thing to do, and it’s not like the staff goes to work in the nude. At least, I don’t think they do. I’ve never visited the home office, and you can’t assume anything from occasional pictures in AANR’s Bulletin.

That said, if you’d like to swap a pint for a rather unique sticker, it’s 1703 North Main Street, Suite E, Kissimmee, Florida 34744.

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All I have to do is drine

Fifty percent Dexedrine, fifty percent Benzedrine, according to this vintage promotion:

Amazingly, there seem to be four pieces of whatever left in that pan. More recently, the word “anoretic” seems to be been supplanted by “anorectic,” or, in case you didn’t get it, “anorexic.”

Speaking of Benzedrine, you might want to keep it out of your Ovaltine.

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In the midst of sassafras

Which, come to think of it, you’re probably not:

You can still buy supposed sassafras concentrate. It doesn’t taste a bit like the stuff tasted when I was young. Good sassrass faded out gradually — I used to find short lengths of the root in simply-labeled cellophane packets at the grocer’s, Indiana-produced and presumably with most of the safrole steamed away. But I guess even that was too much for the drug warriors; you’ll look in vain for it now. Safrole, the stuff that gives sassafras a distinctive taste, was determined to be more bad for you than good and withdrawn from commercial use in 1960. By 1976, the DEA labelled it a drug precursor: it’s used in the manufacture of MDMA, “Ecstasy.” And not only is it illegal as can be, overuse of MDMA appears to be not at all good for you, either, and in several ways.

Fortunately, there are those who still tend the eternal flame:

The smoke shall rise again, to the place above where it began.

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Loud booze

You already know what I think about homeopathic remedies, typically diluted beyond any recognition and then dissolved in water. (Classic, for me anyway, quote: “[D]ump a teaspoon of the stuff into Lake Itasca, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and then wait for it to show up in New Orleans.”) CVS, though, is vending a homeopathic laxative that’s made of stronger stuff:

CVS might have stopped selling cigarettes, but you can still buy booze at the drugstore chain — without even getting carded. Just head over to the homeopathic medicine section and pick up some store-brand “constipation relief,” which just happens to be 40-proof.

In a piece for Slate on homeopathic medicine, chemist and blogger Yvette “Sci Babe” d’Entremont notes that this particular CVS product is 20% ethanol, meaning it contains more alcohol by volume than beer or wine.

So it may send you to the bathroom, but not for the reason you bought it.

In her video, Sci Babe downs six 1-ounce bottles of the stuff and gets, well, thoroughly hammered. At least your Wandering Drunks, or teenagers desperate for buzz, are unlikely to mess with something at $7.99 a shot.

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Mandating the inferior

About a decade ago, decongestants containing pseudoephedrine were barred from drugstore shelves and hidden behind the counter, lest some toothless jerkwad try to brew up some methamphetamine with the stuff. Desperate to appear au courant, or simply to appear, makers of OTC drugs hurried out new preparations containing phenylephrine, which doesn’t lend itself to meth production.

There’s just one hangup. Phenylephrine doesn’t work worth a flip:

In a new study of more than 500 adult allergy sufferers, researchers found that the common, over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant, phenylephrine, was no better at unclogging noses than placebo — even when given at higher doses than those currently approved. The study’s authors called on the Food and Drug Administration to strike phenylephrine from its list of effective nasal decongestants.

Were this a rational world, sufferers would be FedExing snot samples to Washington on a regular basis as payback. But no: it is deemed necessary to preserve all the defectives splashing around in the gene pool, because diversity or something.

Study particulars:
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 2015.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaip.2015.05.007.

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Unwellness of a sort

This is no way to start a week:

I retweeted this and received an answer: Panera Bread. Nearest might have been Beverly Hills, which for some inscrutable Beverly Hills-related reason closes fairly early, though not that early. And delivery? Perhaps it would have been better had she been in Louisville.

Anyway, there was no improvement the next day:

At least she’s sticking to serious remedies.

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Whatever this may mean

I have bloodwork done a minimum of three times a year, since some of the numbers derived thencefrom have occasionally been alarming. For the last decade or so, the blood has always been drawn from my left arm — or, when the veins are too embarrassed to show themselves, from my left hand.

For some reason this week — the only good reason I can think of is that they’d moved the furniture around — they drew from my right arm. And right there in the bend, for the first time in a decade, is a nasty bruise.

I’m not sure what to think of this. I mean, it’s not like I’m all of a sudden left-handed; I have always been a northpaw, and I thought that was why they drew from the left. And the left never bruises. (Used to the trauma, I suppose.) It will go away eventually, as bruises always do, or at least as mine always have. But it’s still strange.

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Least-surprising development

This is part of a press release, but it’s so much more:

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMY), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of proprietary compounded drug therapies, today announced it has made available a customizable compounded formulation of pyrimethamine and leucovorin available for physicians to consider prescribing for their patients as a low cost alternative to Daraprim®.

Last month, Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, the sole supplier of Daraprim, increased the price of this prescription drug from $13.50 per tablet to a reported $750.00 per tablet. The FDA-approved label for Daraprim indicates that it is prescribed for toxoplasmosis and other types of infections. Toxoplasmosis can be of major concern for patients with weakened immune systems such as patients with HIV/AIDS, pregnant women and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pyrimethamine works to block folic acid synthesis in the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, the cause of toxoplasmosis, and leucovorin helps to reverse the negative effects on bone marrow caused by this mechanism of action.

Imprimis is now offering customizable compounded formulations of pyrimethamine and leucovorin in oral capsules starting as low as $99.00 for a 100 count bottle, or at a cost of under a dollar per capsule. Compounded medications may be appropriate for prescription when a commercially-available medicine does not meet the specific needs of a patient. For ordering information, please visit www.imprimiscares.com.

There is, of course, a catch:

Imprimis’ finished compounded drug formulations do not have an FDA-approval label for recommended use. Imprimis compounded formulations are not FDA approved and may only be prescribed pursuant to a physician prescription for an individually identified patient consistent with federal and state laws governing compounded drug formulations.

This state has some fairly specific laws on the subject: a long list of “Good Compounding Practices” takes up six pages of the Pharmacy Lawbook [pdf]. Still, since Imprimis claims to distribute their compounds in all 50 states, one might assume that they’re in compliance with Oklahoma law.

And truth be told, it would almost be worth it to shell out $99 (plus, presumably, shipping) for a bottle of this stuff, purely as a way of saying “Screw you, Martin Shkreli.” That would, however, be, um, illegal, since I don’t actually have toxoplasmosis. I think.

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Preemptively clearing the lawn

There is, after all, such a thing as too much connectivity:

Recently there’s been a commercial on television for a drug / alcohol rehabilitation center that emphasizes that “you can bring your cell phone and laptop!” (I’m pretty sure it caters solely to the very well heeled.) The possibility that being continuously available and perpetually connected, via one’s cell phone and the Internet, might have something to do with one’s dependencies on drugs or booze should be of interest to the proprietors of such an establishment. I do hope they know what they’re doing.

I mention this because of a bit of knowledge that seems to me to fall into the “obvious / overlooked” category:

To the extent that one concentrates on worldly things, he neglects his own mental and spiritual health.

Just so. You must have time for yourself: for hobbies, for relaxation, for contemplation. Not having that time is genuinely Bad For You.

Having time each day merely to amuse oneself, or just to sit and think, greatly improves one’s life. Yet we’re practically taught to avoid such periods — to stay as busy as possible virtually all the time. The emphasis on work, on “multitasking” (which, as a former expert in the architecture of multitasking operating systems for embedded devices, I can assure you is always an illusion) and on achieving ever more per unit time is using us up in ways we don’t always perceive and even less often appreciate. You’d almost suspect that time spent in introspection had been deemed an offense against the social norms.

One of the reasons I’ve stayed in my particular job so long is simply that I can put it aside at 4:30; I don’t take work home with me, and seldom do I take calls from the office. I consider this practice absolutely essential to my mental health, and gradually, the powers that be are seeing it my way. Poor you if your particular set of TPTB doesn’t.

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Quote of the week

This is the opening to a Daily Beast article:

What Happens When You Survive Ebola

Memory loss. Irreversible skin and nerve damage. Hair thinning. Arthritis. The lingering effects of Ebola can last a lifetime.

Glenn Reynolds replies:

To be fair, when you don’t survive Ebola, the effects also last a lifetime.

Heh. Indeed. ™

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Physician, **** thyself

Prescriptions, so far anyway, are not actually mandatory, and Roberta X isn’t interested in the most recent one pushed in her direction:

… one of those stupid damn anti-depressants they hand out to fibromyalgia sufferers* and on the package insert, in at least 24-point type, it says, MAY MAKE YOU SUICIDAL. MAY WORSEN DEPRESSION. I’m not taking that stuff. I have, in the past, long ago, been almost that depressed and I’m not going back there. I’m not even taking a chance of going back there. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin are sold at at every drug store, five-and-dime, grocery store, convenience store and corner gas station; it’s even free from the first-aid cabinet at work and if those drugs don’t make the pain go all the way away, they do well enough just about all of the time. And they don’t make you wake up wishing the planet could be improved by your absence.

I did my time on antidepressants. I still have one tablet on hand, probably expired, but it’s not here because I might need it; it’s here to remind me that I don’t.

Oh, that asterisk leads to a footnote in the original, and since her footnotes are always worth reading:

* I’m not saying that’s not a real thing — who am I to talk, after all, with my chronic pain with apparently no findable cause? — but people diagnosed with it are most certainly one of the favorite targets of those gawshawful drug-pushing ads on the TV, with twenty seconds of happy scenes and forty seconds of Dire Warnings read in a rapid monotone over still images of pastoral settings. Y’know, if the stuff was so wonderfully wonderful, M.D.s would be pushing it high, wide and mighty, ‘cos they are the kinds of people who are nagged by unsolved problems. Since they’re not — Ahem. The corollary should be obvious.

The most egregious failing of said drug-pushing ads, if you ask me, is this apparently invariable line: “Ask your doctor if [brand name of drug] is right for you.” If it then fails you, it’s your fault, because you asked for it. By name. Generics don’t advertise, which is one reason I got seven (!) prescriptions filled Friday afternoon for under $25. Meanwhile, the one brand-name drug I take is $2.50 per tab, $75 a month; the little puzzle box of Belsomra (suvorexant) is $99.99 for ten of ’em. You can buy a hell of a lot of Benadryl for a hundred bucks.

Some day, given the general trend of things, prescriptions likely will be mandatory. Remember THX 1138? The big crime was drug evasion, failing to take whatever meds were issued to you. I have to assume that Big Pharma is okay with this.

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Because you gotta have heart

This strikes me as almost certainly a Good Thing:

The National Basketball Players Association is working on a program that would fund cardiac screening and supplemental health insurance for its retired players, an initiative expedited by the recent sudden deaths of legends Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

And there are plenty of concerns:

The good-faith actions of current players were welcome news to retired veterans who have been rattled by the spate of cardiac-related deaths. Although there is no concrete data linking basketball players who are large in stature to early death from cardiac distress, the prevailing opinion among many former NBA stars is there has to be a correlation.

“It’s too close to home,” former star center Bob Lanier said. “It’s the topic nobody wants to address. How many people have we seen in our lifetime who are big and really tall and are 70-something years old? Not many. That’s because people [my size] don’t live that long.

“I know things are evolving. People are taking better care of themselves. They exercise, they watch their nutrition, they try to limit the stress in their lives. I do all of those things. But we’re still losing guys younger than we should.”

Lanier is 67; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 68. I’d hate to lose either of these guys any time soon.

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This I want

From Roger’s September Rambling #2:

From Donna: “Thinking of writing a bedtime book for grownups along the lines of Goodnight Moon. It will be titled Shutup Brain.”

Yes, yes, YES!

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Fark blurb of the week

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Life in Non-Drowsy Land

Saturday night, about five minutes before midnight, I extracted the little blue-green tablet from the card, and began my first test of Belsomra (suvorexant).

  • 12:00:  A book at bedtime.
  • 12:15:  A couple of yawns; I abandoned the book and turned off the light.
  • 1:45:  Still awake, and barely even drowsy.
  • 2:15:  Got up and cranked up the computer.
  • 4:00:  Went back to bed.
  • 4:45:  Last time I remember seeing the clock before sunrise.
  • 7:20:  Sunrise.
  • 7:25:  Discovered I’d pitched a pillow onto the floor.
  • 8:30:  Actually got around to retrieving the pillow.
  • 10:55:  Crawled out of bed.

Obviously I did get some small quantity of sleep, with various interruptions, out of this deal, but its onset was so long delayed from the time the pill was taken that I question whether it contributed anything.

Dosage: 10 mg. The prescribing information contains enough Scary Stuff to suggest that 10 would have been a heck of a lot safer than 20.

I will try again next weekend, perhaps on Friday night. I am not, however, particularly hopeful. The Holy Grail of sleep tabs — works in 15 minutes, disappears completely in six hours — has yet to be approached, let alone found. I will say this: it’s a wholly different dream function. Instead of the bad urban-fantasy stuff I find with Ambien, I got a bad memoir. Not really an improvement, but perhaps less frightening.

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All plop, no fizz

As usual this morning, I walked down the driveway toward the curb to fetch the newspaper. (I am one of those people who actually would prefer an afternoon paper, but the ten or twelve of us who still exist don’t count for much.) As usual, it was positioned on the section of concrete with the sharpest slant.

They say “Use your knees, not your back” to pick up stuff. If they had knees like mine, they never would have said such a thing. The Monday paper being generally smallish, I had a long way to go, and calculating the geometry of the matter, I spread my feet apart a few inches to buy some vertical. And then, having seized the paper, I unaccountably pitched forward, two, three steps, and wound up washing my face in the morning dew.

The fact that I was able to get up from this was heartening, or at least not leading to despondency. I dusted myself off and headed for the shop, figuring I can use the time at that traffic snarl around Penn Square to report that I wasn’t going to be in by 6:30.

No phone.

Evidently when I pulled myself off the ground, the little so-and-so stayed behind. I made a modestly mad dash in the opposite direction, retrieved the device, and started over. Okay, it was closer to 6:45. I can live with that. And they’re going to have to, you know?

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Not on your formulary

In fact, I don’t know how anybody affords this stuff at all:

A U.S. drug company is taking the Canadian government to court for its attempt to lower the price of what has been called the world’s most expensive drug.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion in Federal Court, arguing that Canada’s drug price watchdog has no authority to force the company to lower its price for Soliris.

The medication is approved to treat two rare blood diseases that affect about one in every one million people. A 12-month treatment costs about $700,000 in Canada, while in the U.S. it costs about $669,000.

Wikipedia contributes this little factoid:

Alexion tested the drug for rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicts 1 million Americans. The trials failed. But if it had worked for arthritis, Alexion would likely have had to charge a much a lower price for this use, as [it] would have to compete against drugs that cost a mere $20,000.

In other news, $20,000 a year is now considered “mere.”

I have been known to complain about a drug that costs me $75 a month. I don’t even want to imagine a drug that costs $75 an hour.

(Via Fark.)

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Overnight insensation

The one characteristic that applies to all sleep medicines: if they work at all, eventually they stop working. Trying a new one, therefore, is fraught with peril:

It’d been a while since I’d tried anything new because, frankly, after a bunch of decades at this, you get USED to being exhausted and running on “dim” or, as I like to call it, “energy-saving mode.” True, I sometimes think, “I bet I would have cured cancer already, had I been able to get plenty of quality sleep every night, all during my life. And had I not gotten the D in chemistry and been at all interested in science.” My doctor has given me STERN warnings that I need to sleep because this will “kill” me. Ok doc then gimme some good drugs. Not drugs with butterflies. I need drugs with velociraptors.

Alas, butterflies are all you get:

The Lunesta … oh how I wish it had worked. It looked so promising. The marketing! See the pretty diaphanous butterfly? The website says it’s very “fast-acting” and warns that you shouldn’t even TAKE this pill unless you’re strapped into bed in your strait jacket and have hired a home nurse or Joe Don Baker to stand vigil. All this because you will be completely zonked out in a fucking minute, you skeptic you, and you will likely be trying to paint your home’s exterior overnight, ALONE, in your deeply restful dream state.

Pfft. No piñata confetti. Not so much as a plastic drink umbrella in the bedding this morning.

The doctor will be sending over a script for Belsomra (suvorexant), a totally new concept in sleeping pills, with a totally new level of TV-commercial creepiness:

If the little cloud creatures don’t scare you to death, the warnings will.

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Purell you say

Ramones Leave Home is one of those albums that got edited shortly after the original release, owing to serious pearl-clutching over track 5, “Carbona Not Glue,” the lyrics of which expressed a definite preference among major juvenile huffing substances. Certainly, though, none of these young punks would actually drink carbon tetrachloride.

But hand sanitizer? That’s different:

A new report is cautioning parents about the risks of seemingly harmless liquid hand sanitizer, after an increase in calls to poison control centers about children who’ve ingested enough of substance to make them dangerously drunk.

Since 2010, poison control center hotlines in the United States have seen almost a 400% increase in calls related to kids under 12 consuming hand sanitizer, CNN reports, citing new analysis by the Georgia Poison Center.

The high alcohol content in liquid hand sanitizer — ranging anywhere from 45% to 95% alcohol, compared to wine and beer at 12% and 5% alcohol — can easily cause alcohol poisoning with just two or three squirts, experts say. Children may become confused, vomit or experience drowsiness, and in extreme cases, a child might stop breathing.

Obviously the kids would be better off buying beer — even Oklahoma 3.2-percent quasi-near-beer. And it wasn’t that long ago I, a person of Obvious Age, got carded for purchasing a can of Krylon spray paint.

There needs to be a central database for all the stuff kids will attempt to ingest in a desperate attempt to get a buzz. I suggest they call it the Huffing (Some) Post.

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The impatient patient

The older you get, the slower you heal, and the more likely you are to respond this way:

The first 36 hours felt like Armageddon in my body, fever, chills, pain, nausea, weakness, the whole shebang. It would take me an hour to recover from the 10 minute drive to drop off the chicks at school. Takes longer in the afternoon because, apparently, sunshine and heat are not my friends.The bottle of antibiotics has two stickers on it: one tells me to drink lots of water, the other tells me to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. It would seem I’m now a fern.

All this started about two weeks ago.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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No sugar tonight

If this be blasphemy, I plan to make the most of it. Start here:

I’m also trying to clean up my diet. Oh, I eat pretty healthfully to begin with but I panic over these things and I actually wrote NO SUGAR! NO SUGAR AT ALL for the next week on the kitchen calendar. I worry, probably needlessly, about type II diabetes (and yes, I know: it’s how you eat all the time, not just in the week before bloodwork, but I want things to look their best). I think the tv ads I see for the million medications they have, some you have to inject, some with scary sounding side effects, that has the paranoid part of my brain convinced that probably everyone is actually diabetic and just doesn’t know it yet.

Fifty percent are there or close to it, say some of the alarmists.

But here’s the kicker: WHO issues a definition of Type 2 and it’s based entirely on readings. Oh, it says “with symptoms,” but everybody and his kid sister has symptoms of some sort. One arbitrary number applies to all seven billion humanoids, regardless of age, creed, color, national origin, metabolism, or astrological sign. This is convenient for those who compile statistics, and for nobody else.

It really does feel like everything is a moving target: you do, but you could do MORE. And it just wears me out. More exercise, more vegetables, less food that actually tastes pleasurable, less time spent just relaxing. (And I’ve seen several sites lately that remind us how awful sitting is for us, and we should, I guess, stand all the time, like horses or cattle…)

And I get that I’ll eventually not be able to outrun the Grim Reaper, it’s not that … it’s the whole fact that medicine in some sectors seems to be coming back to an idea not unlike the “you sinned, so you got sick” idea of the medieval era — “You sat too much on the job, now you have diabetes.” or “You relaxed when you could have exercised, now you have heart disease” and it feels to me like unless I keep pushing, pushing, more, more, more, eventually something terrible is going to happen and someone in the health-insurance office is gonna shrug and go, “You were insufficiently pure so you are on the hook for this financially, even if you can find a doctor willing to treat you.”

“Some sectors” eventually will be all sectors, because government.

I am resigned to not living forever. However, I reserve the right to sneer at the Reaper, that scythe-wielding son of a bitch, any time I please. And should some Deputy Associate Death Panel member object to this cavalier treatment of their true god — well, chuck you, Farley, this is why you get no respect from the population, while I’m having a bowl of ice cream in any flavor other than Pumpkin Spice.

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Grootitude

If this doesn’t make you smile, you have no face:

Directing a sci-fi blockbuster can be a rewarding experience for any movie maker. But when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn found out that his character of few words — Groot — encouraged a child with a developmental coordination disorder to speak for the first time, he was astounded.

Josh Dunlap, a father to a child with dyspraxia, reached out to Gunn on Facebook to let him know how impactful Guardians of the Galaxy was on his son Sawyer… “When Guardians came out Sawyer could only say about three words and would communicate to his mother and I by other means,” Dunlap told Gunn on Facebook. “When he saw Groot, something clicked inside him and he connected with him on a level I haven’t seen.”

“He began to mimic him and he would use the word ‘Bah’ for a lot, but after he saw the film, he would change the tone in which he said it to convey a different meaning,” Dunlap added. “He would also start saying Groot for many things as well. Since that, he was finally able to go to a speech class and it has helped amazingly.”

I surmise that this probably wouldn’t have worked so well with Hodor.

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The next-to-last nerve

The same Sudden Weakness that befell me Saturday afternoon at the supermarket hit me again at the office on Wednesday. It wasn’t quite so severe, but once again, it helped that I was near something to grab.

Normally I avoid seeking medical attention. I don’t think I’ll be able to this time. There’s no sensation that anything is ripped or torn: it’s just a pang, the muscles give way for a moment, and I do what I can to regain my composure.

The office, which does regular business with an occupational-health clinic, got me some chlorzoxazone, which relieves pain on a short-term basis. Clearly, though, there’s more here to deal with.

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