Rather a lot of these of late have turned out to be grumbling about the sad state of my health, and that state is likely not something anyone is particularly anxious to hear: if I'm not getting any better, I'm not getting any worse, and there are people with far sadder stories than mine. This is the saddest one I've seen all week:

It's called Riluzole, and it is prescribed for one condition only. One that will get you a sympathetic look — and possibly even a hug — from your pharmacist.

Taking Riluzole may help me squeeze out a few extra months. The average, according to the huge and detailed leaflet that accompanies it, is three.

Wikipedia adds:

There has been some evidence to show that higher doses might produce more significant improvements in ALS patients but ... it is at risk of being prohibitively expensive given the modest benefit to patients.

Considering that the FDA only just approved this stuff in 1995, I am more mystified than ever how Stephen Hawking survived with ALS for fifty-five years. Divine intervention, I suppose.

That said, I do have one thing in common with hypochondriacs: should I develop a symptom — a symptom of damned near anything — I take a sharp turn toward the Slough of Despond. Unfortunately, while in this unhappy state I produce almost no lines worthy of Molière, and since I have long since become convinced that were it not for entertainment value I would be utterly without purpose in life, I tend to feel even more useless than usual. Needless to say, this prolongs my discomfort. And then I berate myself for my lack of composure, and the cycle begins anew.

And this demonstrates my point most vividly: as uaual, it's not about me, but somehow I always seem to find a way to make it about me. I often wonder if this is the only reason why I've kept this Web site going for two decades and more.

In the meantime, I have a new source of puzzlement: persistent dreams, the sort that will survive three or four periods of alleged wakefulness before finally releasing their hold on the brain. The tendency with dream abnormalities, it seems, is to blame them on Ambien, which is known to screw around with your head; however, the one I had last night demonstrated a level of persistence far beyond what one could reasonably expect from America's Hypnotic, lasting a good eleven hours, two of which I was allegedly awake and monitoring Twitter. There wasn't much plot: two separate individuals were wanting several thousand dollars each for some arcane reason, and meanwhile the adult supervision we were supposed to have had wrecked the kitchen and left the premises.

This apparently is the new, improved insomnia I can expect: I can fall asleep almost anywhere, but if I've actually climbed into bed at something resembling a reasonable time, I will wake up within 45 minutes with pain in my right knee, which won't go away no matter what painkillers are presented.

The Vent

  19 August 2018

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