Saturday, November 2, 2013

Anti-nausea as a potential life-saver

Pam has had several (many) long visits to hospital, particularly when her PEG-tube used to enter her stomach, to be treated for aspiration pneumonia caused by breathing into her lungs regurgitations from her stomach, as a result of nausea.  As you have possibly read, it now enters her jejunum to attempt to mitigate the nausea, but Pam's stomach still produces digestive juices - and it's possibly this that keeps the occasional insipid nausea upsets yet happening.

Each aspiration pneumonia attack destroys a bit more of Pam's poor lungs.

On recent hospital Pam-repair visits, I have become aware of Ondansetron tablets,  These tablets are amazing insofar as how quickly they eliminate the feeling of nausea.  The poor folk who receive chemotherapy as a result of cancer treatment can get these tablets on the PBS.  Sadly, I somehow think that that attitude is an example of tunnel-vision.  I cannot deny that they should indeed be freely available (to Safety Net card holders) for easing the horrors of chemotherapy side-effects - but I would also tend to think that they should also be PBS items for people such as Pam, for whom nausea relief is potentially life-saving.

Anyway, notwithstanding this lacking ideal, today I used a non-PBS prescription from my GP and purchased 4 tablets of Ondansetron for $16 from a particular pharmacist.  Another pharmacist in town charges $30 for the same thing.  Please don't misunderstand me - any tablet worthy of saving my dear Pammy's life is worth its weight in gold!  It's just that the rule-makers seem reluctant to include another worthy category.

I sent a letter to Mr Andrew Broad MP to see if he could do anything - it just irks me that the life-saving potential for a tablet counts less than does it's 'life-tolerating' aspect.

I must say that it amused me to see how they packaged the 4 tablets.  I have a photograph thereof, but when I look at it, I wonder how else they might have done so - maybe not quite so big and wasteful of plastic.  Ah, but $16 has to pay for something, I suppose... 

I'll say it again though - the tablets are well worth their weight in pure gold because of their speed of anti-nausea effect, and their potential life-saving effect in Pam's case.