Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just say `non`

posted Mon, 09 Aug 2004

I had grand intentions of removing all my light fixtures, shaking out the dead bugs (how they get in there I don’t know), washing them and replacing them tonight, but when I got home from work, I still had a headache despite 75 mg of imitrex. Imitrex is a painkiller for migraines. I don’t get migraines, but I get migraine-like headaches when there is a change in the barometric pressure, which seems to be about twice a week here in the summer. This morning I thought the pressure I was feeling behind my eyeballs was from all the extra water from the pickles (you laugh, but it happens), but I finally realized it was more than that.

So I have this migraine medication, which is good because it works. I have been through Claratin and Allegra and Zyrtec and the d-versions of all three and I have had the $1,200 CT scan of my sinuses and I have taken the mega antibiotics, all in a quest to rid myself of these headaches. No allergies. Nothing structurally wrong with my sinuses (rats – I was sort of hoping to get a nose job and perhaps a face job out of that one). Antibiotics did what antibiotics do. Women, you know what I am talking about.

Then I tried various painkillers. I don’t care what’s causing the headache as long as I can get rid of it, I told my doctor. The only thing that for sure dulled the pain were the codeine tablets I got in France a few years ago. Some pharmacies there will sell them to you without a prescription (try the drugstore in the Lyons train station), so I always stock up when I go. Sure, I am slightly troubled by the fact that this might be a tiny bit illegal, but if the French don’t demand a prescription, then it must be OK. Right?

The drawback of the codeine is that it puts me to sleep. And that I am almost out of them and can get them only in France. (I have asked my doctor and he won’t prescribe it for me.) As much as I have enjoyed all my trips to France, I am not going to travel there right now because I am so annoyed at the way they have acted about Iraq. The only reason they didn’t want to go to war was because they had a sweetheart deal with Saddam. Chirac and the German guy never asked for proof of WMD because they had the purchase orders!

But I digress. I can’t take codeine during the day at work because 1) I will fall asleep at my desk and not get anything done and 2) I do not want to drive after I have taken it for the reason stated in #1.

So I tried Fioricet. Didn’t work. I tried Ultracet. Not only didn’t work, but made me sleepy and then WOULDN’T LET ME SLEEP! I had a bunch of vicodin left over from some oral surgery a few years ago, but I would have to be in pain close to death to use that stuff. It makes me so nauseated that I would rather be in pain. I cannot believe people take that stuff for fun. They must be nuts.

And of course I already knew that aspirin, ibuprofen, acetomin – Tylenol, didn’t work.

It took a woman at the gym telling me about imitrex for me to find relief. Here’s the drawback. Those things cost almost $30 apiece. I don’t have to pay for that directly – my insurance copay is $35 for an RX – there are nine pills in a one-month pack – but sooner or later, that comes out of my pocket. Higher premiums eventually. I don’t have a problem with drug companies making money (it’s how they stay in business, you lefties), but selfishly, I wish this drug had already gone off patent.

So here’s how you handle it: when you have an expensive drug that’s not a time-release sort, you have the doc (not the “health-care provider – I am convinced that is a way for the health insurers to de-professionalize doctors in the eyes of the public so they can get away with cutting their reimbursements) write the RX for the largest pill possible, then you cut the pill into pieces.

I checked on imitrex. The retail price is the same for the 100-mg pack as it is for the 50-mg pack – but you get twice as much medication in the 100-mg pack. I have a stash of imitrex in my refrigerator, right on top of the chocolate, in the emergency medicines section.

So I took another ¼ tablet when I got home. I still was going to clean the light fixtures, but I discovered that I can’t reach them just standing on a chair. I decided to use my headache and massive medication consumption as a reason not to use the ladder to reach. What if the imitrex made me sleepy right when I was at the top of the ladder? If I fell off the ladder, I could hurt myself and no one would know. Safety first is what I always say, so I decided it would be better if I just read my new Bon Apetit, Men’s Health and Esquire and had a little bit of medicinal chocolate.

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