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Bad Box

Posted Jan 20 2009 10:05am

I am a fairly trusting sort of person, not a fault finder, not inclined to be suspicious of the system.   I take the Platonic view that the work of one person is ultimately for the good of another.  


And yet, try as I might, I cannot get past the feeling that there is something wrong in the notion that one could get “a bad box” of Avonex.   This was the explanation for my recent illness as conveyed over the phone by a healthcare worker at the MS Center here in my town.  


Now I’ve heard of a bad crate of tuna, a tainted can of peaches, an out of age pack of double A batteries—but a bad batch of interferon?  


A bad   box?  I mean, isn’t this a pretty serious sort of thing, a pretty potent sort of thing even in a good box?   What might a bad box mean down the road?   How bad might a bad box be?   Maybe a really bad box will take the unlucky user beyond the flu like symptoms.   How about a seizure?   How about organ damage?   How about foaming at the mouth and then going brain dead?  


Sometimes a box gets mishandled the woman said. Sometimes you get one that is old, or just hasn’t been prepared properly.


Really?   Can it be?   Sometimes dynamite gets mishandled too.   You get a bad stick of dynamite.   It goes off prematurely and your arm goes with it.  


It happens.   Is that what she’s saying?  It happens?


What is the solution?   I am to return the bad box and get a new one.  


Sort of like a returning a jar of peanuts to the Fred Meyer store after discovering it had already been opened.   Yeah, like that.   Like a jar of peanuts.


Excuse me?


Can you imagine how freaked out I am now about receiving my next bad box of Avonex?  


I remember how my brother’s oncologist, some twenty-five years ago, pronounced him cured of his cancer.   And then two weeks later he died.  


Perhaps he got a bad IV bag of chemo.


I don’t know, folks.   From the very beginning I have gone back and forth on the MS drug question.   To shoot up or not to shoot up?   What are the proper weights and measures?   What is the true ratio between disease suppression and quality of life?


I am struggling yet, adding up the columns—but let me tell you, a big minus just went to the interferon side.


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