Monday, August 6, 2012

Poison frog venom and ground fetuses

The Opthomalogist was young, smart, and insecure. “Hmm. That’s not the regular pattern. Usually there is an eruption in one place.”

Yes I know that’s not the regular pattern. I also know there is no such a thing as a regular pattern. A regular pattern only exists when you choose to ignore the anomalies. Are doctors not required to read James Gleick in medical school?

“Why do you think you have shingles?” He asked.

My psychic told me.

Of course I did not answer him thus. I need this guy on my side.

The Opthomologist did the right thing, of course. I went to the best hopsital in SD County. They brought in the Cornea Specialist. He was looking for damage to the cornea resulting from shingles lesions, which can cause blindness. He didn’t find any. He told me the antivirals I am already taking for shingles is the only thing I should be on at this point, even with an infection inside the eye. He said the drops should not be used unless needed.

He is right. But his rational only works when one has insurance. When you can’t pay the bill, and can’t afford to return (to the same place twice), the likelihood of getting treated on time dwindles.

I had already tried the night before at the CVS downtown. I asked the pharmacist, since he was already filling my anti-viral prescription, couldn’t he also just give me the Acyclovir eye drops. I told him how goopey and blurry my eyes were, and how they itched and burned, and how my forehead, scalp, eyes, and ears itched and burned. “That’s a different prescription”, he said. “Oh, I have to get a second piece of paper for that? Even thought it’s the same anti-viral in liquid form?” I feigned ignorance.

I also got a prescription from my acupuncturist. I went to the Chinese herbalist and requested Liushen Wan. The herbalist said nothing for a little while. He busied himself putting some little plastic bags of fungi in a drawer, although he’d come out from the back when I walked in. Finally he looked at me carefully, looked down at my service dog, and said quietly: “We don’t sell that.”

“Why not?” I asked.

After a pause he said: “One of the ingredients is not approved by the FDA.”

“It’s not ground human fetuses, is it?” I asked him.

The herbalist didn’t answer. Not sure if he didn’t understand me, or didn’t know how much I knew. I think he thought I was an undercover cop. That happens a lot.

I asked if I could get it elsewhere, or buy it online. He wasn’t sure. I left thinking he probably had it, but didn’t trust me.

I called my acupuncturist afterward and told her what the Herbalist said. She laughed and told me the illegal ingredient is poisonous frog venom. I had been instructed to take the pills by mouth (when I am not on the anti-virals) or to open them, mix with vinegar, and spread onto the affected skin.

I read an article recently about how a large batch of pills were confiscated going from China to (South?) Korea. The pills were hidden in cargo. There were thousands and thousands of them, brown powder pills in plastic popup packaging. They were tested and found to contain ground human fetuses. My acupuncturist told me this preparation was common, and available here at the chinese herbalists – it is commonly administered to women who’ve just given birth, and they use both placenta and fetus for this preparation. My doctor started to tell me the name of this preparation. But I didn't want to know its name.

 Consider that the fetus pills confiscated were traveling from China to Korea, and that the Chinese conduct forced abortions – a tidy arrangment as long as this activity remains clandestine. It is, of course, illegal – on earth. But just as Bugsy Siegel recognised in Las Vegas, there is a window of time wherein one may operate without deference to law, and may set and secure specific legal precedents or exceptions.

Whereas americans might devour only the reddest portion of a ripe watermelon on a hot day, discarding the rest into landfills, the chinese will save the hard rind and seeds, rendering them into dried edibles that last into the winter. On Mars each station must operate with optimal efficiency. Nothing may be wasted.

In the U.S. a top organ and tissue provider (worked with UCLA and other top medical centers) was found to have illegally mined cadavers for parts, and sold these untested possibly diseased parts for transplant procedures.

What I wonder is: if illegal trade in cadavers already exists, how will cadavers be handled on Mars?  In particular if there is a failure to provide adequate protein? After all, the lab meat we read about in the news requires a “starter” of live tissue. And surely we won’t have a corral of fat pigs at the ready, when the Meat Lab gets hungry. At the very least any live tissue would be indirectly exploited have to be used for its usefulness in growing plants.

1 comment:

  1. FYI I did obtain Liushen Wan and it works well against shingles, if you dissolve it in cider vinegar and apply it topically. I found out it contains Arsenic in addition to poison frog venom. Use care as the amount of arsenic can vary in this product and can damage skin.