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Small Town And Big Time

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When I was growing up in West Texas in the '60s, things seemed pretty simple. A walk down the block to the downtown stretch of shops along Highway 287 yielded a trip into the local drug store where the proprietor would give me my daily "growing pill," (a One-A-Day multivitamin ). I had no idea what it was at the time that the old man gave me, but I was pretty sure that with this wonder drug, and my Dad as the local preacher, I was bullet proof! I was all of five years old — man, how things have changed.

The wife and I took a trip to a new doctor the other day, one of many in our 14-year long search for relief of her headaches and other maladies. This guy actually rounded out the list as neurologist number eight, and along with the two neurosurgeons, seven internists, her own personal anesthesiologist, and an uncountable number of emergency providers, joined the ranks of a wonderful medical profession that she herself once was a member of. As a nurse back in Texas, she planned her life around taking care of the elderly, your grandparents and mine. Life's ironies are all too clear sometimes.

I noticed tonight that the FDA cleared approval for a previously banned multiple sclerosis (MS) drug to be reintroduced. Tysabri was cleared for a market return, although high financial market returns aren't expected until much later. The problem with this drug is that it has a nasty fatal infection side effect associated in rare cases. It has been deemed that this risk is acceptable by the FDA, and herein lies my rub. I so very much want to believe in the return of the magic growing pill, as do others. And I so very, very much want to believe that Big Brother has my back on this one, as do others. So where do we go from here? Oscar, the old guy back in Chillicothe, Texas, on H287 would have said "trust it Paul, it'll do the trick," but he lived far away and long ago.

Patients with MS have begged for the return of Tysabri, citing that even an eventual death from side effects is better than no treatment, and as an observer of this cruel disease's grasp, I concur to a point. And times were when we trusted the almighty government in its faithful watch to protect and serve, but now? I really have no place that I am steering this rant other than to say it is a pitiful statement of our current societal situation to say that death is better than nothing, and I don't trust the powers that be to oversee.

Imagine if you will, for just a moment, that the mainstream of society, not just us special cases, had to trust in government unequivocally, without comment. I am talking about you, what would you do if you truly had no choice, or at least, no real choice? There has to be a way to return to what was, I refuse to believe that the have's have defeated the want to's and the have nots! There is no clear way for me to enthrall you with the upcoming choices and elections, other than to say the time is here.

I think of Oscar and his magic growing pills a lot lately as I age. And as for Dad, well, I have learned that being the preacher's kid is not neccesarily a 'get out of jail' card. What I do know from my backwards West Texas roots is that when it smells like cow shit, chances are it came from a cow. That said, I also believe that there can never be enough of us cows weighing in on important matters such as what, when, and where to listen to the heifers moo.

Whether or not Tysabri flourishes is irrelevant. What is important is that the faith of Americans in our government's oversight systems is held true and fast to our overall health and well being. So when you drive up 287 from Dallas, just north of Vernon, you will run through Chillicothe, Texas. Stop in at the drug store, step north a few doors to Gatewood's Dry Cleaners and get the brim of your hat pressed, and take a very deep breath of what should have been.

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About Paul Jordan Sr