I’ve been under the weather for nearly the whole month! That’s gotta be a new record.
First, it started out as some sort of cold/flu bug, then my allergy-induced asthma kicked in overtime and stretched it out. Normally the asthma isn’t a big deal, and I used to be able to keep it in check with an over-the-counter inhaler. Unfortunately, all OTC inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbon propellants were taken off the market on December 31, 2011. Apparently, a few years ago, some green eco-friendly legislation was passed by Congress to ban CFCs because they make the hole in the ozone layer bigger, and the clock ran out on December 31 for Primatene Mist.
Anyway, that means I now have to visit a doctor and get on a prescription regimen if I want to feel like my old self again. That’ll cost me $150 if I go to one of the local clinics. We’ve been eating ramen noodles and pretzels for most of the month because my wife got screwed out of her January teaching hours at the last minute by her pointy headed boss, and my earnings alone are barely enough to keep the bills paid. I don’t have $150. In comparison, a Primatene Mist refill only cost me $18 at the local grocery store back when it was available. That was nice while it lasted.
I’ve had to improvise by substituting the Primatene tablets, which are still available. Unfortunately, the reason I was using the inhaler in the first place is because it was faster-acting, more effective, and didn’t have the side effects that the tablets do. The ephedrine (the bronchodilator component) in the tablets is a stimulant that also wires me like caffeine, and the guaifenesin (the expectorant component) makes me pee like a racehorse every 45-60 minutes. So, between the overstimulation and the full bladder, my sleeping patterns are out of whack.
In addition to that, the 20-plus minutes it takes for the tablets to kick in and their relatively short half life means they’re just not an adequate substitute for a fast-acting inhaler if an actual attack occurs, and I’d just as soon avoid an expensive trip to the emergency room, which also means I have to use them prophylactically instead of only when I need them. It’s not an ideal treatment regimen by any stretch, but it’ll have to do until I can afford to see the doctor.
I guess nobody told our politicians that sunburned Antarctic penguins aren’t a voting constituency! 😆