Wednesday, August 15, 2007


They postponed my doctor's appointment yesterday for half an hour, which I hear is normally not all that bad, except that the nurse-receptionist handed over my time slot to a succession of drug reps, which makes me very uncomfortable. And jealous, cause it's not like as a web developer I'm having Microsoft and Sun and Apple comp me ballgames and vacations. I gotta pay my own way for those exciting Oracle DB and PostgreSQL conferences in lovely Tulsa or wherever the nerds hang out. I can appreciate that Big Pharma's business model requires us (wealthy) people to become ill from time to time, but the thought of my doctor getting free dinners thanks to my sickness makes me nauseous. (They should make a pill for that.) My physical took all of five minutes — either I'm extremely healthy or I'm just not a good candidate for the drug companies — and given the myriad things that could be totally fucked up with my body, I'm a little suspicious.

But then there's always the chance that I'm suspicious in the wrong direction, and I've started to wonder if the medical community isn't just making up new diseases to sell us more drugs. "Restless leg syndrome?" I don't remember that existing last year. It just popped up all of a sudden, like that song by Plain White T's, but thank God that GlaxoSmithKline had a pill waiting and ready to cure it. Lucky them, really, because without restless leg syndrome materializing out of the ether, all that time and money GSK spent on Requip would've been a total waste. I still can't believe they let this stuff out on the market; did you read the list of side effects? Requip may cause gambling or sex addiction (how'd they get a chemical compound to pull that off?), nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. And in bold print: "Requip Tablets may cause you to fall asleep or feel very sleepy during normal activities such as driving." So basically, you can't stop moving your legs, so you'll put everybody on the road in danger of you nodding off behind the wheel.

I'm sure the pharmaceutical companies will only be too happy to sell you morphine and antibiotics after you get mangled in your inevitable accident. (Plus side: no more legs means no more restless leg syndrome!)

Turns out that shaky legs was a problem before Requip, it just had a different name: Wittmaack-Ekbom Syndrome. That's not a very marketable name, so it's a good thing they renamed it something nice and simple and descriptive... otherwise we wouldn't know what to call the disease that we didn't know we had.