Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not A Perfect Poster Boy

Frequently enough I get visits here from various advertising/public relations agencies in association with post labels concerning the products they are representing--Copaxone, for instance; Avonex, NuVigil, the upcoming oral interferons, so on and so forth.

Sadly, I am afraid they will not be finding much to work with here. Rather, mine are the viewpoints strictly avoided and ignored by these interests. These people, after all, are employed to sell, not to warn, and so naturally prefer their efforts to result in the happy injection or oral imbibing of the drug in question (so good, so painless, so tasty), after which he who has received will straightaway head out for a skydiving adventure or the challenge of mountain climbing.

Why dwell on the negative things? Kidney stones, cancer, weird itchy deformities that swell under the skin, seizure-like shakes and chills? Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

Well, I'm a spoilsport. I have developed over the past three years this strange, apparently unreasonable frame of mind that insists on ascribing some sort of natural wisdom to the insistent objections of my body.

Hello? Yeah you! I'm tryin' to tell you something here, buddy. You know that stuff you just squirted into my leg? Well, it HURTS LIKE THE DEVIL! WTF, man?

Yo, did my eyes betray me, or did that pharmacy insert say something about CANCER?

Well, it probably won't happen to me. That's where we all start. That's where the race begins. It won't happen to me because . . . well, because I'm me, and not the other people it happens to.

And that is perfectly true. Right up until it happens. For, you see, MS was not something that would ever happen to me either . . . until it did.

So we begin again. We begin at MS. We learn that injected interferons cause flu-like symptoms in many users, but that these fade and all but disappear in most users after some time.

Naturally, I must be like most. In fact, I must be more than most (because, again, I am me).

A year later, lying in the bottom of the bathtub, shivering so violently that it seems I and the tub, vibrating so, must at any moment break through the wall and into the bedroom where my wife is sleeping--just like the Kool-Aid Guy--Oh Yeah!--it finally occurs to me in the most persuasive sort of way that perhaps these symptoms will not be fading after all.

On to Copaxone then. On to kidney stones. On to the ER bed in the hospital, writhing in pain I had never before imagined possible--pain straight from the bowels of hell.

You're going to shove what up my what and do what?! Lord have mercy!

And so I quit, happy at last to die a slow, seizure-less, kidney-stone-less, weird-itchy-lumpless, carcinoma-less death by MS.

Sure, I'm a spoilsport--and loving it to the bitter end.

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