4.26.2006

A finger in the dike

Well folks, that pretty much sums up Zofran. It's an anti-emetic medication that costs an arm and a leg but is the only thing that comes anywhere near handling Mel's nausea and vomiting. It's no magic bullet, but it has allowed her to have 24 hours that didn't involve throwing up and even included some moments of semi-normalcy. Last time around, when she was pregnant with Addie, Mel was on Zofran for the entire pregnancy. This time we had not been able to get any yet due to insurance wrangling, but thanks to God's intervention, I've got a small bottle of the stuff that will hopefully last us until the insurance companies agree to pay for it.

Outright, the pills are about $35 a piece. Twice a day. Quite the drug habit. So what does that get you, you ask? Perhaps it courses through the body, destroying hormones that cause nausea? Maybe it contains a substance of its own that would make you feel outright fantastic if you weren't already sick? Surely it contains some amazing substance that plays an active role in the body. No, in fact, it's simply the right shape.

That's right, the right shape. This miracle drug, this amazing product that costs an arm and a leg, consists merely of molecules that happen to be the right shape so that they plug up the right holes. The way I understand the drug info sheet (which, admittedly, may not be entirely accurate given that my education was MBC and not Harvard Med), Zofran is a bunch of tiny molecules that happen to be in some particular sense, the same shape as the serotonin which causes extreme nausea. Released into the body, the Zofran molecules get plugged into the holes that would normally be filled by serotonin, thereby leaving the serotonin free to wander around as it pleases, but not plug into any receptors. So it's kinda like having a key that, although it's not right to unlock the door, will still fit in the lock. And as long as that key is sitting in there, the right key can't get in. Eventually all the Zofran molecules dissolve or whatever it is they do, then there aren't any more left floating around, the serotonins start finding open receptors, and you feel gross again until you pop another Zofran.

So in the end, Zofran is the wrong cork in the right bottle, and nothing makes me happier right now than the fact that there's plenty of those wrong corks floating around inside my wife right now on her birthday.

2 comments:

Jeana said...

=( Poor girl! Happy Birthday, Mel!

Hutch said...

Glad she's corked.