Passing the Platelets

by NotDownOrOut

So the latest word is that I am covered in red splotches because of the generic drug I started taking last month and not because my platelets are committing suicide. That is a relief.

I now need to go back to the hospital to submit a prescription that I hope will be filled with the name brand version of the drug.

It is an interesting thing–this brand vs. generic issue. I get the feeling it is like Coca Cola and some can that just says “cola.” The two are not the same. Of course, in the cola situation they will look alike. It is difficult to mess up “caramel color.” My medicines look different. One is bright blue. The other is white with faint blue specks. I checked the online pill identifier to make sure both were intended to address my radiation cystitis. This was not a case of pharmacist error. If you get something other than a Coke you may recognize the substitution by flavor. I happen to prefer Diet Pepsi, but have nothing against Diet Coke. I recently ordered the latter in a very pretentious restaurant. It was the kind of place where the waiter took longer to describe the seared tuna than it took to eat the four quarter-sized disks of raw fish with transparently thin slices of miniscule radishes and jalapeno peppers that set my palate afire. The Diet Coke tasted flat and watered down–but it most likely was the “real thing.”

How strange to think that a generic version of a drug could cause my rash. It has infiltrated my hairline, but I still don’t see it on my face as Dr. H did on Monday. Some areas have so many points of red that I look burned. I bought a tube of Desitin yesterday and coated the worst splotches because they were starting to get “weepy.” It may be a good thing that it is 6 degrees outside. I have been layered until most of me is hidden from view.

Diane, a dear friend, inquired whether it was the dye in the medication that brought on this allergy. I don’t know the answer to that question. I used my online M.D. (worth every penny I never paid for it) and learned that 3% of people taking my drug have petechiae. I actually am troubled less by these splotches all over me than I am by a smudge I found on my blouse yesterday. I studied it for signs of its origin for awhile yesterday before treating the mark to (I hope) avoid a stain. But I walked around with petechiae for more than a week without much reaction.

We have expressions for being insensitive to the appearance of our own skin, don’t we? Some things are only “skin deep.” No one wants to be so sensitive as to be “thin-skinned.”

I was much more concerned at the prospect of suicidal platelets. Nevertheless, now that the whole “scare” is fading and the splotches are not, I will confess that I am exhausted by the whole affair. My head aches from all the stress of even going to see the doctor, much less starting to worry that radiation cystitis could turn out to be the least of my problems.

I tend not to “catastrophize.” When I get bad news I try to tamp down panic and “chill-ax.” I hope that things will resolve themselves, given enough time. But just for today I think I will crawl into bed, pull up my quilt, cover my head, and imagine that when I wake up in a couple of hours I will look and feel brand new.

Then I’ll climb in the car and drive to the hospital and submit my prescription for processing. Having passed the platelets test I just want to catch my breath before I go back to the place where, for a week, I caught something a little scary, even though it turned out to be painless.