Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Failure of the Day: Precedent

Visited good ole Doc Goodin today, my neurologist. They moved the UCSF MS Center to a new building and I forgot which floor it was on. I got off the elevator on 8 instead of on 9, and started to go in the door that I thought was MS but was actually the Organ Transplant Center. I don't need this door, I thought to myself, at least not yet.

Goodin did the usual business, rubber hammers and such. When we went over the list of medications I take, I told him that I take an Advil every time I inject the Betaseron to prevent the nasty side effects that sometimes come. He added the Advil to my list of meds, which surprised me because I didn't think they cared much about the OTC drugs. But as long as we were on the subject, I mentioned that I take upward of 12 Tylenols a day when I've got a headache cluster going.

I should have kept my mouth shut because he immediately got out a lab slip. They drew blood last time I was there and everything was fine, so I didn't think they'd have to slip me the needle again this time. No such luck. Turns out he doesn't like me taking so much Tylenol. What I wanted to say was "Ok then, doc, how's about we set a little precedent here and you be the first MD in 12 years to actually pay attention to my headaches?"

What I actually said was, "Oh, I don't know…a couple of years ago I took so much Advil that my gall bladder exploded, and I thought I'd just keep the trend going." He's a good guy, so he said, "Good plan! You'll just knock out your organs one by one!" Then he suggested that if I wanted to save my liver until a little further down the list, I might try upping my other migraine meds to see if it helped me cut down on the Tylenols. And that seemed like a perfectly fine idea.

I went to catch the 44 home so I could stop by Green Apple and see if the new Chuck Palahniuk book was out yet (it isn't), and on the corner of 9th and Judah, there's one of those big "living proof" ads for UCSF that are all over the place and that feature pictures of UCSF patients who managed to not die from their diseases. But sure enough, the one right there was a liver transplant lady. That's three times that livers and transplants came up in the course of a single hour.

I'm not particularly superstitious, but I think I really will cut back on the Tylenol.


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