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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Mental Restrictor Plate

Tuesday
July 18, 2006

For the past four years or so, I've been taking Topamax to help combat my migraine headaches. At least, that's what I thought it was doing. In reality, it might've simply been working as a restrictor plate for my brain.

In doing some internet research (since I know so much about nothing, as L1 astutely observed recently), I found that Topamax can cause "Memory loss, aphasia (weird words coming out in place of what you meant to say or write), word find problems (not being able to recall the names of people, things or concepts), and a general cognitive impairment that has earned this drug the nicknames "Stupamax" and "Dopamax." Guess how much of that I was told when it was prescribed to me, or any time I had a doctor re-up it for me?

It was prescribed to me for "off-label" use; it's an anti-seizure medication. But here's the thing: it did nothing to cure my migraines, which I believe are brought on by muscle spasms in my neck.

I quit taking Topamax on Sunday, and already I can see the results. It's like there was a plastic wrap over my brain that has been removed. Now when I'm asked about things in the warehouse at work, I'm not struggling to think of what the item is called and feeling like an idiot. Seriously, I could tell the difference today versus even Friday. You have no idea how crazy feeling like something is constantly on the tip of your tongue (i.e. you can't quite think of what it is) can make you feel. For me, I felt like I was coming across like a simpleton, which was causing a near Memento-level of paranoia for me.

So now my mind has been completely unleashed. As long as the Baclofin muscle relaxers don't end up having insane side effects, I should be alright. I have the internet to thank for it. My suggestion: if you are prescribed any new medicine, look it up online. It's quite possible there are things about it that you might not be told...

If you're from Alaska, you should be embarrassed by your senior Senator, Ted Stevens. Check out this YouTube video, which mixes Stevens' insane rambling on Net Neutrality (which includes outright lies, i.e. claiming that Net Neutrality would create two tiers, which is the exact OPPOSITE of what it would do) with music.

If you don't have time for it, just remember these three words: Support Net Neutrality.

See if you can find your favorite modern cartoon character at ThePictureOfEverything.com. Whoever drew the pictures there is a very talented artist.

One follow-up from last week is how the American League yet again won the All-Star Game. I thought about it... and while I don't like the idea of an All-Star exhibition having more meaning that it should, it is nice that it would give the Yankees home field should they make the World Series. But first things first in that AL East race...


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