Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The newest prescription drugs and their side effects

     It has not been a banner week for me.  My doctor wanted me to change one of my medications and gave me his preference based on the success he has had.  His only caveat was that it might be expensive.  At the pharmacy, I discovered the “new” prescription would cost more than 6 times what my old one did.  So of course, I asked Doc for something different.  We eventually settled on an older class of drug geared at the same symptomatology, but with a longer market history (it was available as an affordable generic).
     This is/was my first (and hopefully only) experience with adverse side effects.  The near instantaneous nausea I experienced could be dealt with by remembering to eat well before medicating.  “Take with food,” should read take 30 minutes after eating.  It is not that I am free of the discomfort caused by the foreign substance in my stomach, but I am not as worried about a surprise visit from Ralph.
     After a few days, as the drug began reaching “maintenance” levels in my bloodstream, the true fun began.  I did not at first relate this symptom to the new medication and thought that it might be the onset of yet another idiosyncratic reminder of my age.  The onset was marked with a sudden increase in the need to use the toilet during the night, followed by a weakening urine stream, and eventually, despite biophysical needs, I was only producing a frustrating sporadic dribble.  The ability to void my bladder got progressively worse without my seeing the logical correlation to the new chemicals that I had introduced into my body.  By the time it dawned on me (in the guise of spousal interference) that this might have something to do with the prescription change, a simple metabolic urge had become a half hour painful ordeal.  Oh, and I am a coffee drinker! 
     I checked the rules in the Male Handbook and Users Guide, third edition, volume II, and it specifically said to not tell my wife, but monitor these things for a few days to see if the side effects would magically disappear.  I don’t know why I keep using that damned manual, it doesn't seem to help much and its directives are never explained.  I still can’t understand why I’m not allowed to ask for directions when lost or why I must ignore a full trash bag at least ten times before taking it outside.  I wrote to the publisher once about the inefficiency of the handbook’s advice, but the response was curt and insulting, even mentioning the threat of surgical emasculation.  That’s when I moved out of Florida and left no forwarding address.
     Well, if an upset stomach and the inability to urinate wasn't enough to piss me off, next came the wonderful world of sleeplessness.  This too was a bit different.  It wasn't caffeine stimulated restlessness or a mental tempest of illogical worry, unwritten story plots, incessant songs, unfinished to-do lists, regretted mistakes, and schizophrenic arguments.  This was a simple blockade from reaching the drop-off point into sleep.  Last night would have been my fourth night of insomnia but I had had enough.  My previous and unsuccessful strategy of using each one of the three different sleep inducers I keep on hand had yielded no essential slumber.  Last night I took all three simultaneously. 
     You know how women are always sticking their nose into matters best left to men and our all-knowing User’s Manual, well, my wife finally coerced me into confessing my physical flaws and insisted on calling the doctor herself.

     I am going to be trying the expensive newbie Rx, but I first have to be weaned off of the current offender.  So in a couple of more days, this wonder drug and all of its glorious sequelae will be out of my system and a “new and improved” chemical panacea will be coursing through my veins with another menu of discomfort.  I swear I am about ready to return to my pre-medicated dolor in lieu of these medicinal catholicons. 

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