Sunday, September 28, 2008

Surmontil Shortage

A weird thing happened to me recently. I was unable to refill my prescription for Surmontil. I have been taking this medication on and off for about eighteen years. It was first prescribed to me for sleep problems associated with depression and until a week and a half ago I took it for sleep problems asscociated with fibromyalgia. Sometimes I would get it as Surmontil and sometimes as the cheaper generic version Trimipramine (the same thing) but I have never had trouble refilling it before. Occasionally the pharmacy could only give me a limited number and would have to order the rest for me to pick up a few days later but that is the only difficulty I ever had obtaining it. It seems like the perfect drug for me because it definitely helps me sleep well but is free of side effects and does not produce an artificial feeling of sleepiness. Anyway, when I recently tried to buy a refill at my Walmart Pharmacy, they repeatedly told me over the period of a week that it was on order. At the end of the week, they told me that it was simply unavailable. I was stunned. Maybe I am naive but I didn't think we ran out of medicines in the United States. One of the people working in the pharmacy called about ten pharmacies in the area to see if they had it but no one did.
Actually, before this happened I had decided to wean myself from Surmontil. I don't have depression anymore and I'm learning how to cope with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I have taken this medication for many years and I think it would be better for my long term health if I discontinued it. But I would like to do so gradually. Abrupt cessation of the drug can cause headaches, nausea and malaise. I omitted one dose per week in September, planned to omit two doses per week in October and so on until I was off of it.
If I had been aware of this shortage, I would have started the weaning process earlier. But with this recent development, I was forced to stop abruptly. I have gone through the headaches, nausea and malaise--it only lasted about five days so it wasn't too bad. I am feeling pretty good now and I have been sleeping fairly well too.
Yet I am curious what happened. Why would such a helpful drug go off the market? Is the reason too much competition from Prozac and other such meds? Is the pharmaceutical company creating the shortage artificially so they can raise the price? Is there something wrong with it so that doctors no longer are prescribing it? Does anybody out there know?
One friend suggested that there may be a connection between my long term use of Surmontil and my fibromyalgia symptoms. Could that be? It would be interesting if my fibromyalgia symptoms gradually disappear. If so, I could end up feeling grateful for the Surmontil shortage.

Sigur Ros at Red Rocks

Kim, Sean, James and I went to Red Rocks last night to hear the Icelandic Band, Sigur Ros. It was so much fun. Red Rocks is a gorgeous venue for a concert. As well as enjoying the creative genius of various musicians, you can also enjoy the creative genius of God's great creation. Huge red rocks fringed with evergreens embrace the amphitheatre. It is set high above the city of Denver and by the time you reach your seat from the parking lot you feel as though you have climbed a mountain. Stars twinkle above and city lights twinkle below. It is magical.

To me the music of Sigur Ros sounds primeval, mystical, northern and nature-y. It is unique with features like the lead singer playing his guitar with a bow. I have always assumed that they sing in Icelandic but last night I learned that they sing in a made up language of their own. So their music is weak on lyrics but they really know how to create a mood.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A 90th Birthday Celebration

The Carlson family gathered in Rockford, IL on Labor Day Weekend to celebrate Lois Carlson's 90th birthday (which actually took place on August 21). All of our family had the good fortune to be there; Sean and James took a road trip with Kim and I. Sarah, Andrew and Henry flew from Boston. Lance and Marti flew up from Atlanta. We missed Chris and Alison, Kevin and Katie and Clayton but we know they were with us in spirit. We were blessed with gorgeous weather. It was a great time of being with family. We celebrated multiple times at such settings as The Stockholm Inn (we got one of the Carl Larson rooms this time!), JMK Nippon (my favorite Japanese American restaurant) and the new restaurant at Anderson Gardens Kim's Mom was the special birthday person but I think all would admit that Henry was dangerously close to stealing the show with his cuteness and winning ways.