Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Real vs. Bourgeois, Round One

Project Cyclone: Giant computers solve industry's toughest problems and open new, lucrative field for women interested in mathematics
Popular Mechanics, 1955

I'm going to introduce a new series here at a moon, worn as if it had been a shell, where I'll set my mind to parsing out some of the biggest problems in the world. I'm going to do a contrast/compare kind of thing and present a REAL PROBLEM and a BOURGEOIS PROBLEM.


Bourgeois Problem:

This morning, I decided to take a shower and wash my hair for the first time since I got a few highlights put into it last week. I remembered that when your hair has been colored or highlighted, it is, in effect, fragile and perhaps even damaged, so I had bought a new bottle of shampoo to address this. The label specifically cited its efficacy in cleaning and deep-conditioning dry, damaged hair. I stood in the bathroom reading the label and wondered when, exactly, does one's hair turn from being sleek, shiny and healthy to rough, dry and damaged? Is this something I should have already addressed? Why did this happen? I hate that it happened.

Real Problem:

I got an email alert today from the Epilepsy Therapy Project, a wonderful site chock-full of everything you can imagine concerning epilepsy. Today's alert was titled Lamotrigine and Aseptic Meningitis and described the recent findings by the FDA of a strong correlation between the use of Lamictal (brand name of lamotrigine) and aseptic meningitis. Now, Sophie is no longer on Lamictal, although she took that drug for nearly seven years (aged three or so until aged ten!) and didn't develop aseptic meningitis that I know of. But Sophie is on some very new antiepileptic drugs that, I've explained here over and over, I never get used to administering to her. I describe it variously as like giving your child poison, year after year after year with no real expectation that it's giving anything but a modicum of seizure control. The Problem lies in this sentence, at the end of the article: 
This case highlights the importance that we need to continue systemic monitoring of antiepileptic drugs even after they are approved in order to fully understand the adverse effects related to any given medication.
You can read more about the Real Problem here. Is this something I should have already addressed? Why did this happen? I hate that it happened.


  1. I seriously canNOT wait until we know more about the immune system and its potential to make such drugs as chemotherapy OBSOLETE. I don't know whether that sort of research has the potential to replace the anti-seizure drugs your are talking about, but PLEASE...we must get to the point where we have better options than poison, or using things that we really don't understand, on our CHILDREN, for goodness' sake. It's such an awful feeling, when the best they have to offer us is a crap shoot with horrid side effects.

  2. Been there, done this. Scares the hell out of me. My son is 26, and the side-effects he endured when young were debilitating. I don't know if what he deals with today is a result of drug side effects or epilepsy itself. Will I ever know?

    This makes me cry.

    I don't know what else to say.

  3. I know yo already know this but you can only do your best with the information at the time.
    My mom took Premarin in the 80's and 90's to deal with menopause. Now we are told that it causes Ovarian cancer (among many other things.) I don't doubt that the pharmaceutical companies knew this when they were telling women that it was a cure for all things menopausal. But the almighty dollar rules and my mom, not knowing did what she thought was right. And it did help. She did feel better. But now... Well you know what now. I can't bare to think on it right now.
    Elizabeth, every day we have to put our feet on the floor and do the best with what we have. We make choices based on the best information that is handed to us. Sometimes we make the right choices and sometimes we don't. Remember that song "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen" when he says, Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's"? Incidentally even sunscreen now is said to be cancer causing and dangerous.
    So no, you could not have already addressed it. You are doing the best you can every day.

  4. I loved the comparison of the two problems. We do live on so many different levels, don't we? And the way you tied them both together with your ending sentences was wonderful.

    I also love that you've been doing some really nice things for yourself. The trip, your beautiful walk on the beach and now highlights. Yea!

  5. I like this idea. It's funny how wrapped up people (including me) can get in "bourgeois problems." (Mine have nothing to do with hair, though.)

    I guess you ARE addressing the medication -- you're monitoring Sophie's reactions as she takes the drugs, so you're doing exactly what the epilepsy group has asked. I hate that it happened, too.

  6. A powerful post, elizabeth. We can get so caught up in what is essentially trivia when there are matters pf much more importance as you highlight so well here.

  7. I love bourgeois problems. Not so much the other kind.

  8. Yeah, this is a great new feature on the blog.

    And I appreciate the wisdom of your readers' comments.

  9. I recently read a story of a mom whose 3 y.o. son was on Lamictal and experienced the heinous side effect of suicidal ideations.

    I just can't imagine hearing my baby say, "Mom, I hope when I go to sleep I never wake up again." It would slay me. So heartbreaking. It seems there's almost no extent to the impact these pharmaceuticals can have on our brains and bodies and spirits. The neurologists sure don't seem to get it.

  10. Fabulous new feature. I love the way you echo the mundane problem at the end of the serious one.

    It is so hard to do the right thing with the limited and/or wrong information that the "health care industry" give you and that "right thing" is a moving target.

    I know you are doing your very best by Sophie.
    Sending love. N2

  11. Crap. This is what I hate. The Teenager went through 3 drugs before we found something to control her seizures. Lamictal.

  12. This *is* a great new feature--the contrast is striking, but I like the way this contrast both drives home what's really important and lets the bourgeois problem have a small amount of space at the same time. Because honestly, the stuff that bothers us bothers us--no good denying it or shoving it aside.

    As for the real problem, what Birdie said. You can only do your best with the information you have at any given time. And you are clearly doing your very best for Sophie with all the information you can find.



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