Thursday, September 27, 2007

Goddam NaziCops!

So I've still got my cold, right? After 12 days, I've still got my cold, but then we've already established that my immune system is fucked.

I've been taking TheraFlu, which is this mixture of a decongestant and analgesic in a packet, and you pour this packet in boiling water and you drink it like tea. Which is a nice, relaxing thing to do if you've got a cold, and the medicine gets absorbed by your stomach lining and goes straight to work.

But there's a problem with TheraFlu, and every other cold remedy on the planet, because what they use for a painkiller is acetominophen. Paracetamol. Tylenol. "The most prescribed pain reliever in the world," as they say in the ads.

Except they don't have to prescribe it, they give the stuff away by the metric tonne. They put it in every over-the-counter remedy whether you want it there or not.

The reason it's so common is that acetominophen has fewer side effects than aspirin. But it does have some nasty interactions. If you take it with hydrocodone or codeine or any other opiate, it wildly increases the chance that you will OD. And if you take it with alcohol, there is a non-zero chance that your liver will cease to function and you will die.

And you will die. There is no way to reverse this, once it happens.

Benign ol' Tylenol, "the most prescribed pain reliever in the world," can kill you dead.

So I have been refraining from alcohol while I've had my cold. Which is a shame, because quite frankly the cold would have been more fun if I'd been splayed in my easy chair watching Dr. Who while hammered on margaritas. I mean, I already had the headache, y'know?

But this weekend I'll be out of town at a literary event (see the poster below, somewhere), and nice folks will be taking me out to dinner, and I thought it would be nice if I could have a beer with said dinner.

So I went to the pharmacy in search of a decongestant that I had no acetominophen in it. And the only one I could find was Sudafed. Which was not actually on the shelf, but was available in the form of a ticket that I could take to the pharmacy counter.

Why? Because speed freaks were buying cartloads of Sudafed to take home, dump into plastic trash cans, and brew up into crystal meth, which they would then sell to other meth junkies, including (presumably) the pair who broke into my home last year. So you are restricted as to how much pseudoephedrine you can purchase at a time.

Not that this practice seems to be slowing the growth of yaabaa as a recreational drug, because it isn't.

So anyway, I take my little ticket to the counter, and I ask, "Can I have two packets, or will that put me on the DEA list?"

And the pharmacist says, "I'll check." And then she asks for my ID.

So the next thing you know, she'd entering the contents of my driver's license into a computer, and then informs me that "They" will allow me to have only one packet. I don't know whether "They" is the government or Big Pharma.

So. I am now on The List, as a Suspicious Person who bought twenty little capsules of pseudoephedrine.

I don't know what The List is used for. I don't know who keeps it. I don't know who has access to it. I'm just pissed off that it fucking exists at all!

Another element in the Total Surveillance Society, slipped in without anyone noticing.

Our Superiors have concluded that the way to combat meth abuse is to treat ordinary citizens as if they were criminals, or at least parolees. Just as the way to combat terrorism is to treat ordinary citizens as if they were terrorists, and make them take their shoes off in airports.

Fuck that. Fuck them. Fuck them all.

On a more positive note, Judge Ann Aiken has struck down two provisions of the Patriot Act.

"Prior to the amendments [to FISA], the three branches of government operated with thoughtful and deliberate checks and balances -- a principle upon which our nation was founded," Aiken wrote.

But the Patriot Act, she said, eliminated "the constitutionally required interplay between executive action, judicial decision and Congressional enactment."

"For over 200 years, this nation has adhered to the rule of law -- with unparalleled success. A shift to a nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised," she wrote.

To quote Jim McDonald, "we applaud the courageous judge who struck down two of its provisions while at the same time mourning that a judge would have to be courageous to do so."

17 Comments:

Blogger Max Kaehn said...

I think it's just an effort to drive up the price of meth and annoy those of us with allergies.

6:19 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

I checked with a doctor friend, who said, "What was unusual about this is that the girl entered your data while you were standing there. Usually they wait till you leave."

It turns out that all your medical records--- that is ALL YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS--- are in a database available to any law enforcement agency who cares to look them up.

Mind you, YOU won't have access to them. Only the police.

So if you need to find out what's ailing you, ask a cop.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Tarl Neustaedter said...

On an unrelated note to being beholden to big pharmacist (and by the way, watch your blood pressure while taking that Sudafed), what's this junk of clicking in the background of your page takes me to someone else's page? Specifically, I seem to end up at:

http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/

This is a pain in the ass to me because I tend to click in background areas of pages to select the frame to allow me to scroll. And today, trying to scroll your page sends me off your page.

9:32 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

I dunno, man. I've looked at the page with Firefox and with Internet Explorer, and I don't have that problem.

It's probably Their fault.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Brian Borchers said...

This is particularly irritating to me because the decongestants without pseudoephedrine that are now being marketed all seem to bear a "not for diabetics" warning label.

I'm told by our local pharmacy that the law in New Mexico says that pills containing pseudoephedrine can only be sold in foil packs (no more bottles of 100 tablets) and I believe that the limit is one package of 24 per customer.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Oz said...

If your post weren't funny enough, the 'google ad' at the top of your blog this morning is for pseudoephedrine. Must have keyed off of some of your content.

I usually stock up the house with 3 different kinds of Sudafed products as winter starts. That made me VERY interesting to the pharmacy the last time I did it, which was before it was all stocked behind the counter and inaccessible. I just don't like one of us to get a cold and not have our drug of choice. No longer. My store doesn't even have something out so you can choose between the products for the one you prefer.

Most of the time now I just rough it out and try not to take anything. And Tylenol? I despise the stuff. Give me good ol' Bufferin most days.

Sorry the cold is still hanging onto you.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Michael Grosberg said...

Obviously, writing the short story "Side effects" got you blacklisted for life by the pharmaceutical industry.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

It turns out that all your medical records--- that is ALL YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS--- are in a database available to any law enforcement agency who cares to look them up.

So there's an upside to being without health insurance and medical care . . . .

Love, C.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Dave Bishop said...

The toxicity of paracetamol/acetominophen may be worse than you think, Walter. An article in yesterday's (27.09.070 Independent newspaper (UK) states the following: "Consuming large amounts of caffeine while taking paracetamol could increase liver damage ...Scientists found that caffeine triples the amount of a toxic by-product created when paracetamol is broken down. The toxin is the same as the one responsible for liver [damage] in toxic reactions involving alcohol and paracetamol."
The quoted study is published in the journal 'Chemical Research and Toxicology' and "tested the effects of paracetamol and caffeine on E. coli bacteria genetically engineered to express a key human enzyme in the liver that detoxifies many ... drugs."

What is particularly worrying about this is that, as I understand it, many paracetamol containing OTC medicines are actually formulated with caffeine - better check the label from now on!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You might want to try Osha tincture. I used it this summer to kill off a lingering cold. I'm not generally an evangelist for all things natural, but it worked for me.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Tarl Neustaedter said...

Ahh. On the mysterious background issue, the problem is that the last three entries in the I Power Blogger column (Pagan Prattle, Howard Waldrop and Jeff Vandermeer) are improperly formatted.

They go (using square instead of angle brackets) [p][a href=url] name [p]

They are missing a terminating [/a], so the last entry ends up being the default click for the entire page. It manifests as a problem under Safari but not Firefox. It's obvious looking at the source that the most recent entries are different.

1:53 PM  
Blogger halojones-fan said...

Analgesic toxicity has been known about for a long time. Indeed, if most of the analgesics currently on the market were submitted as new drugs, they'd be rejected out of hand...

Also: Originally I had a big rant here, but you've already published a counter-rant in the "Hardwired" supplement for "Cyberpunk", so it seems that you've stolen a march.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

In this case I think it would be accurate to talk about the Republicans and their clones, the Democrats.

Or maybe AARP ads where kids say they'd vote for the candidates with answers, as though we're supposed to look to the government for answers.

Unintended consequences and all that. No one in either party is going to take a libertarian stand on drugs because no one in either party could get elected if they did.

When it comes to law abiding citizens being treated like criminals "for the children" and losing our good cold meds (NyQuil is now pointless as well) maybe we could manage some push-back if we worked together.

3:35 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Okay, I've gone through the template and fixed the sidebar problem. Supposedly.

Cold's nearly over. I've taken the remaining Sudafed, wrapped them in tinfoil and bubble wrap, and buried them in the back yard so that the Authorities can't find them. Then I've drawn a map to the location, digitized it, coded it, and hidden it on a disk filled with scans of old photos from my trip to Europe in 1975.

Think I'm safe enough, now?

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Tarl Neustaedter said...

Background is mucho mas better. I no longer go flying off into the weeds trying to scroll your page.

As to being safe enough - I don't think so. They don't care about you possessing the sudafed, they just want to make sure you haven't re-sold it to your local meth dealer slash terrorist.

Presumably this means they will take a sample of your hair for chromatographic analysis to make sure you consumed all the capsules you bought. And demand proof of how you disposed of the remnants :-)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Scorpio said...

You might just go for a hot toddy with aspirin and sudafed. Honey to cover the bottom of a cup, lemon juice (bottled or real) for half an inch, boiling water (or put in microwave at this point). When hot, add a shot of rye whiskey. Heaven!

12:43 AM  
Blogger halojones-fan said...

Scorpio: Or, you could go the easy route and just drink the whiskey.

7:54 PM  

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