Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Banzel Bonds

I had a good laugh, today, with my friend Jennifer in Wisconsin. We met through work that we both do for children with special healthcare needs. One of the truly blessed things that happens when you have one of these children is that you meet people and are instantaneously bonded to them despite vast differences. This doesn't always happen for me -- there are plenty of mothers and fathers from whom I'd rather run. But Jennifer is a blessing -- she's intelligent and funny and warm and caring. She's dealt with her daughter's seizure disorder with uncommon grace and humor, and she's always willing to bounce around ideas. Today's telephone discussion revolved around The New Drug. She's considering putting her daughter on it and wondered what I thought. I gave her the update -- that Sophie is doing somewhat better although it's nothing to feel ecstatic about. The side effects appear minimal and my main concern is that I've been unable to locate anyone who knows about it or is trying it. Jennifer said that she knew of several people who were, and we decided that we all, in a sense, have a Banzel bond. I've been calling the drug rufinamide because I just can't stand the trade name.


Who names these drugs anyway, and is there any sense to their monikers? I decided to surf around word origin sites and broke the word into what I thought were the two roots:

ban and zel

Here's what I found on the Online Etymology Dictionary for ban:

O.E. bannan "to summon by proclamation," a sense surviving only in banns of marriage (1198; spelling with double -n- attested from 1549), which also is partly from O.Fr. ban "public proclamation," from Frank. *ban, cognate of the O.E. word. Main modern sense of "prohibit" is from O.N. banna "curse, prohibit," and probably in part from O.Fr. ban, which also meant "outlawry, banishment." O.E., Frank. and O.N. words all are from P.Gmc. *bannan "proclaim, command, forbid" (cf. O.H.G. bannan "to command or forbit under threat of punishment," Ger. bannen "banish, expel, curse"), from PIE base *bha- "to speak" (cf. O.Ir. bann "law," from the same root; see fame). Sense evolved from "speak" to "proclaim a threat" to "curse." Banned in Boston dates from 1920s, in allusion to the excessive zeal and power of that city's Watch and Ward Society.

And here's what I got for Zel:

Zel Zel A Moorish finger cymbal.

Non-English Usage: "ZEL" is also a word in the following language with English translations in parentheses.

Romanian (Ardor, ardour, devoutness, eagerness, earnestness, fervour, forwardness, gumption, metal, mettle, readiness, solicitude, vim, warmth, zeal).

I'm not sure what all this means:

Prohibit cymbals?
Prohit ardor?


Proclaim a threat to mettle?

You might just think I'm crazy to ramble on here about the origin of the word Banzel otherwise known as rufinamide otherwise known as the The New Drug that is sort of working for Sophie.

But I also stumbled on this:

"Where, some hours since, was heard the swell
Of trumpet, and the clash of zel."

Thomas Moore: Fire-Worshippers

I'm going with the zel and forgetting about the ban. I'm hoping that Banzel is a cause for celebration. NOt just for Sophie but for Jennifer's girl and any other family brave or desperate enough to try something new.

And I'm still going to call it rufinamide (don't get me started...).


  1. I have found something similar with other mothers of children who have cancer, or who have passed away. We come from very different backgrounds and lead different lives, but once you have walked that path with your child, you just KNOW. I am so glad that you have a community of understanding as you walk what must be, at times, such a bewildering landscape with your beloved family.

  2. LOL - I can so relate!! I'm huge into words and wondered the same thing when you said Banzel - odd choice for a drug.
    Love your posts hon - so glad you have found people here who help you carry your load!! You are an amazing person - don't forget that!!!!

  3. I don't know your daughters condition but I do know a little about epilepsy and its trauma and finding the right medication seems to be incredibly difficult. My niece is Rhetts lives in NZ and had terrible seizures for years, she seems to be better now she is older. Your daughter is beautiful, she does look like she has a little Selchie blood... There are legends abound here that some people are descendant from a seal clan ( something I am using in my book) I am glad she finds comfort from the ocean energy. Blessings to your family.

  4. Perhaps there is a likening between the reverberations of finger cymbals and the internal reverberations of a seizure?

    Though, finger cymbals don't seem like they would cause much in the way of reverb.

    Other suggestions they should have considered if this were the direction they were heading:

    and, my personal favorite, Banbam

  5. This is a wonderful way to deal with your relationship with this drug. I looked up Moore's "The Fire-Worshippers" and wondered once more what it is about Zoroastrian women that so intrigues Western men. Here we have a Romeo-Juliet romance between a Muslim man and a Persian woman set during the Arab conquest of Iran. Jules Verne made the love interest of "Around the World in Eighty Days" a Parsi. And I'm plodding away at a novel where the heroine's mother was Parsi.

    In any case, you're right to concentrate on zel.



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