information

I have this love/hate relationship with the news media. I love to stay informed, but one must define what “informed” is exactly. Is it informed or overwhelmed? There is a fine line, and my trigeminal neuralgia excels at pointing out the difference. I check different news sites—everything from the BBC, NY Times, CNN, and NHK. By far the most irritating or amusing, depending on your point of view, is CNN.

• How Pilates can help women with MS
• 11 ways to manage spine arthritis
• Solving the riddle of RA
• Tips for a sound sleep with MS
• 8 rheumatoid arthritis exercises
• The 123s of treating afib
• 8 ways to live better with RA

I want to know who decided to post all of these different things at once on the same day. Now maybe some people with either RA or MS will think, “Wow, a bonanza of information for me!” I’ve yet to meet that person, by the way. If you’re, indeed, out there, maybe you could explain it to me. Did CNN ever stop to consider that there are some people who might think, “Geez, can I not even just look at the news without being inundated with BS about the disease I live every moment with?”

A friend tells me she believes the news is really about coming up with stories that keep people distressed and frightened the longest. The more sensational and terrifying the stuff is, the more people click on it. Does that mean that when CNN runs 5 pieces on RA and MS in one day, people just go nuts clicking because they want to see how cripples live or cope and be happy in the knowledge that they don’t have THAT disease to contend with? All I have to say is, “Wow, people. Maybe you need a more constructive hobby.” I’m great. Thanks for wondering.

I’ve looked at articles (pages clearly paid for by drug companies to advertise their products) like these. My partner and I laugh as I read off the tips for dealing with MS like, “Reserve energy by making as few trips as possible (wherever you happen to be going), go to bed early to get plenty of rest, or spread tasks out over the day” I’ve yet to see anything that one who lives with these conditions doesn’t just instinctively figure out. The common sense nature of the advice just seems denigrating. Maybe I’m just being cranky.

This is yet a different day’s offering from CNN:
• Take control of RA
• 5 tips for brides with diabetes
• Beating the fatigue of MS
• Injections best for schizophrenia?
• 7 tips for taking HIV drugs
• Carb basics for diabetics
• Time to switch RA treatment?

Under beating the fatigue of MS we have the typical conserve energy stuff, but we also have this:
• Lassitude.The most common type of fatigue among people with MS is called lassitude. Lassitude isn’t completely understood, but it seems to stem from a chemical reaction in the brain. It causes sudden and overwhelming tiredness that gets worse throughout the day and can be aggravated by heat or stress, or stupid people, annoying “news” articles, or just plain dealing with having an incurable illness.) Oh, could you tell this last part was my addition? Sorry for the quick edit. I’ve got to tell you that after living with MS since 1991, this is a new one on me.

But don’t worry, we have medication to fix that.
A number of medications have been shown to combat lassitude. Amantidine (Symmetrel) is a medication that affects the nervous system. Some antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft), may help, even if you aren’t depressed. Stimulant medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) also may be used. Ask your doctor if medication may be right for you.

I already was familiar with this word, obviously, but I’ve never heard it applied to MS. If one looks up the word lassitude, you can find similar yet slightly different definitions:

las•si•tude (dictionary.com)
[las-i-tood, -tyood]
noun
1.
weariness of body or mind from strain, oppressive climate, etc.; lack of energy; listlessness; languor.
2.
a condition of indolent indifference: the pleasant lassitude of the warm summer afternoon.

or
lassitude (vocabulary.com)
Definition of lassitude : If you are feeling lassitude , you’re weary and just can’t be bothered.

Personally, I rather like, “a condition of indolent indifference.” I think it sounds rather healthy as in, “I have more important things to do and can’t be bothered with such silly matters.” Something tells me I am not seeing it as the disease-state that they wish I would. Something I require medication to treat.

Let it be understood that I do not for a moment believe the fatigue of MS is funny. I have dealt with it plenty over the past several decades. Nor do I think that one should eschew pharmaceuticals if they are useful for you. If it helps, by all means take it.

What I find disturbing, however, are these pages of so-called “helpful” information that are framed with ads from drug companies advertising their pharmaceuticals. It just doesn’t seem a very empowering or constructive manner in which to assist those of us with incurable diseases. Advertising your wares is one thing. Inducing fear to attempt to seduce people into literally buying into your blatant drug advertising. This is self-serving behavior at its lowest, in my humble opinion.

PS What is faintly amusing is that I have taken amantadine before. I stopped taking it when I started running stop signs for no apparent reason. This is how it earned its name, “the I don’t give a f— drug.” It sounds like the amantadine actually INDUCED lassitude in my case. 🙂

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