Thursday, July 12, 2007

Accu-Pain in my Ass

You know, I never knew that getting well could be more painful than getting sick... Until now.

I've been seeing a dermatologist recently about some breaking out on my hands and feet. After several visits and a biopsy that has left a nice divot in my wrist, they've finally decided that I have Lichen Planus, which sounds to me like tree growth on a peanut, but which is apparently doctor-speak for "your immune system has decided it doesn't like your skin and is attacking it."

Unfortunately, Lichen Planus is not only rare, but apparently very difficult to treat. I'm now on enough steroids to ensure I will never achieve my dream of being in the Olympics. I'm also on Prednisone, an immunosuppressant that left me sick as a dog the entire time I was on it the first time around.

And finally, the real prize, Accutane. And that's where the pain comes in...

You see, you can't just get a prescription for Accutane, take it to your pharmacy, and get it filled. No, no. It is much easier to get yellow cake uranium than it is to get Accutane. All throughout my ordeal I kept saying "I've got to blog this. This should be saved for posterity.

So here you are. The Ballad of Obtaining Accutane.

First comes the 20 minute lecture from the doctor. Don't take Accutane if I'm pregnant (not really a problem), don't get pregnant (also not much of a problem), don't give blood, oh by the way, your liver might fail, you might have a heart attack from the cholesterol spike, you might not be able to have sex, your hair might fall out, you might get the squirts, you might die.

Then you have to read a booklet that gives even more dire warnings. Did you know people kill themselves taking Accutane. Please do not kill yourself. You might become irritable (already there, according to the wife), etc.

You then have to initial 14 statements swearing that you will not give blood, will not get depressed, that you will call your doctor before offing yourself (not sure how they're going to enforce that one).

You then have to sign the statements. The doctor has to sign the statement. The nurse has to witness the doctor signing the statement.

You have to have blood drawn and analyzed once every 5 weeks so they can make sure your liver doesn't shut down.

Oh, but then it gets weird...

They give you an ID card with a number that has to be entered into a government database. Great, I'm on a government watch list. And only two days after I added Ron Paul to my Myspace friends. Coincidence? I think not!

Anyway, the nurse enters your prescription into the database. She also enters that blood has been drawn.

You then take that card to the pharmacy, who also has to log into your database.

No major problem, right? Well...

I go to the pharmacy. They have no clue how to log this in. They say they've never had one of these scrips before. Great. The largest pharmacy chain in America, and they haven't ever dispensed my meds. Like I said, it's easier to get uranium.

So the night pharmacist gets with the pharmacy manager. She has some clue, but discovers that they have none in stock. Come back Wednesday. Ok...

Come back Wednesday. They've got the meds, but they can't get the government database to work. Apparently that Ron Paul thing really threw them for a loop. They tell me to come back Thursday.

Come back today. They've finally gotten the meds, which come in a gigantic box with dire warnings, biohazard symbols, and I think I saw a skull and crossbones flag on the side. Joy.

So anyway. Assuming I don't die, I'll update you on my condition as my treatment goes on. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tell the President of Iran that I had to sign something saying I wouldn't give him my medicine to use in his nuclear weapons program.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Kel said...

A decade on Accutane (well blogged on my own site) feels you. Though the database card is a new hoop to jump through. Given my last Accu-rant, I should have seen it coming. The good part is... NO ONE would be on Accutane for a decade these days, but I'm still kicking!

*coughs*

Oh, wait! Look! One of my mongoloid children has wandered in. Gotta go!

;)

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep on blogging!

Linda/Chri

10:32 PM  

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