First Rule: Think About It

Another day dedicated to rest and recuperation – yippee only another four plus weeks to go.  I’m sure by then I’ll have an opinion about most of the woes that exist on planet earth.  Today started along these lines anyway, who knows about tomorrow.

Earlier today I had a telephone call from a friend of many years, who lives far, far away from me.  Just checking in, she said, need to know that you are on track, you know, on the mend.  I assured her I was, and key to my return to health was the consumption of lots and lots of water.  The prescription was for at least eight, eight ounce glasses a day.  Water, good nutrition, a bit of daily exercise accompanied by rest – that’ll do it.  Healing happens, that’s what the body tries to do, when it is able.  The problem is, I said to her, that doesn’t help my mind, not that my brain is anything special, but I find it difficult to stop thinking.  Curious type that she is, she asked me what was on my mind today.

Sooooo, today I was pondering over the millions and millions of dollars that are raised annually in support of cancer research.  This, the subject of cancer donations, is something that has been stuck in my craw since before Kevin’s death.  I found that after he died, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t do the ‘in lieu of flowers donations to ….’ thing, especially not for the Cancer Society.  I don’t respect the fundraising branch of the Cancer Society, actually, I have serious concerns.

It may be suggested that without the fundraising done so rigorously throughout the world, and the subsequent raising of millions or even billions of dollars globally, then without this financial support the research and development (R & D) would be significantly impacted.  Consider this: what happens when R & D comes up with a product, a viable, potentially life-saving product?  It’s been discovered using public funds, or that’s the perception. That’s the campaign slogan or equivalent that the Cancer Society touts.  Help us find a cure.  That suggests R & D, to me it does anyway.

What happens when the R & D pays off, something proves viable, great promise and potential is identified.  Well, I suspect that the new medicine is likely closely guarded at least until it is patented.  Then some pharmaceutical company will own the rights to the product, the product that you and I (read general public) funded, right?  Then the pharmaceutical company will assign each medicinally determined unit or dosage with a value, ostensibly to recoup costs incurred during the what, oh yes, the R & D phase of the product’s development.  What were our fundraising efforts for?

Then these drugs are offered to the health care system, and depending on what type of health care plan you have, you may or may not qualify for certain drugs.  But wait, we all contributed, people from all walks of life, to finding a cure.  Now that we have this new product, supposedly effective, why is it that availability may be predicated on medical coverage?

Oh, people out there may say, no the donations help to pay for the infrastructure, the administration and the payroll.  I would suggest that if Big Pharma is reaping the benefits, then Big Pharma should pay for all that stuff.  I know pharmaceuticals are a ruthlessly competitive market – why is that do you suppose?  The answer is obvious: because one “wonder drug” has the potential to break the bank. (Check out the annual reported revenues of some of these companies.)  So, someone, and I have no idea who, decides that to keep the playing field level, it’s much better to have the general public pay for all the upfront, exploratory costs, because that’s the impartial, non-partisan way to do business.

I feel so much better.

Blood Pressure

So a new twist on the whole process.  Low blood pressure.  The man has been on blood pressure medications for over 6 years for high blood pressure.  He takes one 81 mg aspirin, one amlodipine, and one bisoprolol on a daily basis.  Two weeks ago, at our weekly visit to the doctor, we discussed his excessive fatigue.  The fatigue is definitely tied to the pain medications that he is taking but it also is a result of very low blood pressure.  The doctor reduced his amlodipine to 1/2 tablet, and then to a 1/4 tablet.  Yesterday she took him off of the amlodipine altogether and reduced his bisoprolol to 1/2 tablet.  Despite the reductions, we are still looking at blood pressure that is fairly low (100/72) for him. 

It is no wonder that he’s tired, his poor body is struggling to adjust to all these pain medications and then the side effect of the pain meds is the reduction in blood pressure.  Thank goodness we have a cuff in the house to measure his pressure.  We also have a glucose monitor and will, from this point forward, take his blood sugars twice daily.  It’s hard to imagine how the body will react to the significant changes it is going through.  For my husband, who is an extremely high energy individual, to have to go through each day in a daze, with absolutely zero energy to do anything is a new kind of mental torture to go along with the physical pain. 

This whole process is quite baffling and frightening.  We have been lost right from the beginning.  We have been depending on other “experts” who don’t reside in his body or have his illness.  Their expertise is through observation and science.  No doubt we need them and they are vital to the treatment process.  But “we” are more vital.  We talked through this last night and decided to stop letting the disease control us and start working on controlling the disease.