Monday, November 28, 2005

Drug Stabbing Time

When I got back to work today I had an email waiting (one of 103) of a scanned letter sent by a lady from Virginia thanking the company for a drug that has recently been approved by the FDA for market. To quote:

'My 81 year old father has suffered with Post Herpetic Neuralgia for over 2 years. The pain he has endured had taken away his life. He was unable to put clothes on his upper body due to the lingering pain from his Shingles.

On September 23, 2005, we received the good news
[drug approved]. His doctor prescribed the medication on October 4, 2005; and on October 12, 2005 he was able to put a shirt on for
nearly the first time in 2 years! I talked to him yesterday and even though he has some
residual pain in his chest, it is nothing compared to what he had suffered before.

He has been on a variety of drugs for the last 2 years, but nothing provided relief. He tried acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, and many other avenues. It was very depressing to find nothing that would work. Thanks to the researchers and those who participated in the clinical
trials. This drug has given my father is life back.

I don't know if drug companies ever receive thank you letters
[apparently mine never does, hence we all got sent this letter]. You always see bad things in the news regarding drug companies. I want you to know that this drug literally saved my father's life. Thank you from one very grateful family.'

Reading it sent a warm feeling through me. I worked on the manufacture of this drug last year and, even though any half-competent spanner could do what I do, as opposed to the R&D people who really deserve the credit, it felt good knowing something I'd worked on had helped someone in genuine pain. Neuropathic pain, described as the feeling of having a hot iron pressed against your flesh, is seriously debilitating and this man would have been suffering to the point of wanting his life to end.

People who realise that acupuncture and homeopathy are just tools for fooling people into stress-relief often claim that they do no harm. Well here's an example where this quackery does do harm - giving people false hope in avenues where none exists.

Things about Montreal...
My half-assed French was so well understood in one book store that the lady behind the counter started yammering on to me for nearly a minute. I went pure red and had to butt in and tell her that I hadn't a clue what she was saying. She loudly told half the shop making me the butt of a (hilarious) joke I can only guess at. This means, however, that the people in the bar in Paris last year (who pretended not to have a clue what I was saying when I did my best to converse in their language) understood every word of my rant about them being a big bunch of cowards that lost every war they ever fought.
Two English lads on the train going up on Thursday got a hell of a grilling from Canadian immigration - almost twenty minutes in front of everyone else on the carriage. They stayed remarkably even-tempered and polite, despite some questions that were totally uncalled for. I have to say I was really hoping one of them would lose it and scream "Listen, bitch, whose f#@king queen's head is on the front of whose f$%king money!?
It shows you how good U2 must have been that I never mentioned Arcade Fire. Well they were excellent too in front of their home town crowd. It was some difference from the time The Golden Horde were booed and insulted off the stage at Zooropa in the RDS (ah, memories...)
I went to more art galleries while in Montreal. That's after being to galleries in Paris, Florence, Rome and New York. I still know sweet feck all about art, though. I'm clearly wasting my time.
(A painting depicting Homer's return from his Odyssey and slaying all the men after his mott Penelope)
I also forgot to mention that Bono broke into Rock The Casbah during the show (set list)and paid homage to Joe Strummer. That was class, for me anyway.
Lennyism 2: (another outrageous conclusion drawn from scant evidence) 'Awww... I'd say the atmosphere in New York will be better on the 9th than on the 2nd, d'y'know. I'd say New Yorkurzzz would be in a relaxed post Thanksgiving mood on the 2nd and then more up for Chrimbo the following weekend, d'y'know hey...' Lenny attempts to differentiate between trips to New York on December 2nd and December 9th by psychologically pigeon-holing the mood of a city of 8 million odd people.
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