Preface: Here is a conversation I had earlier with some "friends." Specifically, Friend #2 (Libby, aka Hot Mom), Friend #3 (Marcia, aka Marcia Cohen), and Friend #4 (Caroline aka Carolyn). I'm not calling them by their assigned Friend numbers, I'm calling them by their given names in this transcript. I transcribe, you decide.
Marcia: "Ellen, did you tell them" (gestures at others) "what you told me about your new medicine?"
Caroline: (With an expression of concern) "What happened?"
Ellen: "Well, it's no big deal. You know I've got this new MS medicine, Copaxone. I was in the hotel in Kansas City and I gave myself my shot, and pulled out the needle, and I couldn't breathe. So I staggered into the hotel room, and lay on the bed, and then I got very red and my back spasmed, so I fell on the floor. And Gary was running around yelling that I needed a doctor, but it was exactly the type of side effect they describe in the Copaxone brochure. And it was over in 15 minutes or so."
Caroline: "That sounds scary."
Me: "Well, it would have been, except I knew it was the side effect. They say 10% of the people who take Copaxone have it."
Marcia: "Listen carefully. Nine. One. One."
Libby: "Yes, you should have called the hotel doctor."
Me: "Why? They would tell me it was a side effect of the medicine. Besides, that one wasn't so bad. It was what happened night before last that was bad."
Marcia: "You mean when you almost died?"
Marcia: (laughing) "Because you don't know about 911?"
Me: "Shut up." (To Caroline and Libby, who still appear to be sympathetic.) "Okay, so I gave myself my shot at home, then I started to feel flushed, then I had trouble breathing again, so I lay down." (Marcia at this point is giggling, which makes Libby giggle.) "Then I started puking. Gary said I was puking 'violently,' but Gary's never seen anyone puke before, so he isn't a good judge -"
Libby: "Wait. He's never seen someone puke?"
Ellen: "Well, he doesn't puke, because he was born with an extra-long uvula and it rested on his gag reflex and dulled it. So he doesn't puke, and I try to avoid puking right in front of him -- why are you laughing?"
Libby: "Thank God you never had children." (Caroline and Marcia are just amused because I said 'gag reflex.')
Me: "Okay, well, not only did he see me puke, for some reason I peed on myself every time I puked." (Everyone laughs at this unsympathetically.) "So after I stopped puking in the bowl and peeing on myself I started having chills, so I sent Gary away and just lay there a while. With the dog. Mac was sweet, except he kept putting his paw on my windpipe."
Marcia: (snorting) "He was trying to tap out Nine...One...One..."
Libby: (snorting) "He was saying 'Don't die! Don't leave me with the man who makes the Cone of Food!'"
Me: (turning to Caroline, who at least has the grace to appear to look concerned) "So, I was having these violent chills, and I was hugging myself, and I didn't realize it but laying down makes it harder to breathe. Just so you know, if you ever have trouble breathing you shouldn't lie down, you should get into a comfortable seated position." (Caroline nods solemnly.) "Anyway, when Gary came back in after about fifteen minutes of this, I took my hands out from under the covers and they were this weird color of gray-blue. I thought, 'Oh, I hope Gary doesn't notice that,' but then Gary screamed 'Your lips! Your lips are blue!'"
Marcia: "This is hysterical!"
Libby: "Oh, what if she had called 911? They would come and say 'You are cyanotic,' and she'd say, 'No, it says in the drug information booklet, 'The drug may cause cyanosis. See? It's right there!'"
Marcia: "Her last words, 'No, I know what this is, it's a side effe - gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh...'"
Me: "Are you through?"
Marcia: "What do you have against 911?"
Me: "Okay fine, if my hands had stayed blue I might have called them. But Gary held me so I was sitting straight up, except I was kind of jackknifed in bed because he also put my feet up because he said I was in shock."
Libby: (doubled over with laughter) "A 'comfortable seated position.'"
Me: "Look, I was able to breathe and I turned pink again" (this was met with much laughter) "and the chills stopped. Then in an hour my fever was down, and the next day I couldn't quite feel my hands. But they're better now."
Marcia: (laughing) "'Side effects: May cause death and loss of hands.'"
Caroline: (laughing) "So, did you call your doctor?"
Marcia: (laughing) "No, that's like calling 911."
Me: "Shut up, you know I called my doctor. But I called the Copaxone people too. They said it sounded like the classic injection reaction that ten percent have - "
Marcia: "Oh, you mean the ten percent who die?"
Me: "No, no one dies. Because the Copaxone nurse said they only have the reaction once - "
Libby: "Yeah, because they die!"
Me: "Seriously, they said it's rare to have the reaction twice" (I just ignored the 'Dead people can't take shots' this time) "and that my reaction was particularly violent. So, I shouldn't take the Copaxone till I talk to my doctor."
Everyone: "No! Get out! No, really? AhahahahahahHAHAHAHHA."
Me: "And then I talked to my doctor, and I got as far as 'blue' and he said, 'Yeah. This is not the drug for you.'"
Epilogue: So, I get to be drug free for the next two weeks, then the doctor wants to decide what to do next. I'm guessing it's on to Rebif, or else I'm flying without a net, since Tysrabi is really for more advanced cases. Hey! Maybe I'll have an exacerbation! That would amuse Marcia, Libby and Caroline to no end, I am sure.