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The Drug Mule Muses

Posted Nov 14 2012 6:11pm

I woke up at 5 this morning in the dim gray light of daylight savings and felt the delicious release of the too- early rising, when you don't have to get up for almost two hours! and while I'm usually able to fall soundly back asleep, I lay instead on my back and pondered. I thought about Oliver and his school troubles, his -- what I'm now deciding -- dyslexia and whether the school he's in is sufficient in resources to deal with it. I thought about a school some distance from us that is known for its excellence in the area of learning disabilities but is also quite expensive -- far too expensive for us to afford unless we were to apply for financial aid for which I'm not sure we'd qualify. That thought led me to the looming property tax bill sitting on my desk and the arranging and re-arranging The Husband and I will have to do to pay it on time. I was not yet agitated, actually, by these thoughts as they were free-flowing, one into the next, and the next was the high school tour Henry and I are going on this morning, one of the three choices we are considering for him for next year. What if he doesn't get into the school of his choice? I thought and let that one ride by, the anxiety it produced a fluffy, self-indulgent kind, one that I'm aware of and try to remain vigilant about because I know I would be sucked into the Where is My Child Going to School Bullshit that so many of my peers find themselves in, a vortex that I'd rather watch with equanimity from the outside, so redolent is it of prestige and elitism and privilege. As the clock ticked toward six o'clock, I read some emails on my phone, one of which described a new epilepsy drug called Perampanel that I hadn't heard about. Lest you think me an idiot to pursue such reading before I'd even gotten out of bed, I clicked the phone and email off and lay back down, closed my eyes, did a silent meditation and drifted off to sleep. 

The drug mule is dogged, though, and plods along with dolor, her burdens secure on her back. Later, when the children were off, I put on my straw hat and began to chew. I read that Perampanel, otherwise known as Fycoma is a novel drug showing some promise with resistant epilepsies. The word novel is one that is used quite often in the epilepsy/pharmacology world, and it makes me shiver. I'd rather associate it with the beloved objects that lie everywhere I can see in my house, or with the Russians, whose novels are quite novel in their depictions of the tragedy of the human condition. But I digress. Why is this drug called Fycoma? I muse and scan the rest of the article, dismissing the other usual words of description -- unknown mechanism of action -- noncompetitive antagonist of a particular glutamate receptor known as AMPA -- those of you in the world of drug-resistant seizures will perhaps identify with my lack of enthusiasm only infinitesimally tinged by hope. The following paragraph came at the end:

The drug does have some known adverse effects associated with this drug. The most common ones are anxiety, confusion, imbalance, double vision, dizziness, gastrointestinal distress or nausea, imbalance – some of which may lead to falls on some occasions, and increased weight. The effects of Perampanel on tasks involving alertness and vigilance, such as driving, were additive to the effects of alcohol itself. Multiple doses of Perampanel increased levels of anger, confusion, and depression, particularly when taken with alcohol. Fycompa may lead to euphoria and other similar feelings in some patients. Thus, the drug will be a scheduled in the United States. Final labeling and information is not yet available.

The drug mule chews on these words placidly -- anger, confusion, depression, euphoria and other similar feelings -- and then spits them out, wet and sour, tumbling to the ground. The word coma should not be used in a name for a drug meant for the delicate wiring of the brain, the drug mule thinks. 

Fuckycoma would be better, don't you think?


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