Tuesday, January 06, 2009

First Gripe of the New Year! UPDATE*

(*Thank you to the guy who suggested to go HERE to do something about all this. It may not be much, but it just might work, and there is more info there too.)

Aren't you just so excited to find out what it's all about?

First, go here.

Okay, now that you are fully informed, I can start with the griping.

I am so mad about this every time I talk about it, that I start shaking.

My beloved, manly, wonderful, sexy husband has had asthma since birth. It's allergy induced (and sometimes exercise) but he's tried to control it and not let it get in the way of his ADLs. He was very active in sports in high school, partied hard in college, and works hard doing physical labor for a living now. PLUS, he throws the ball around with the kids and wrestles in the living room. OH, and even though he's allergic to grasses/pollens/outside stuff in general, he loves to do yard work and make the lawn look nice.

(He's also cool enough to make fun of himself for Halloween picture purposes. Aren't you all jealous?)

So, to keep from using his inhaler too much, he's been using Advair (which is very expensive) every day as a preventative. He still uses his rescue inhaler about 4+ times a day. If he runs out of the Advair or forgets to take it, he's using his inhaler about twice that amount. In the winter, it's very many more times than that because he's outside and the wind is very hard on his lungs.If I were in charge of the world, I would reach my hand out to the idiots who thought that "cutting CFCs out of asthma inhalers" was a good idea and WRING THEIR EVER LOVIN NECKS. Then THEY could feel what it's like not to breathe. You see, I know it might be a really difficult concept for people who desire to save the earth from "depleted ozone layers" and "changing climate" (God forbid we have more warmer days, I just love the cold oh so much), but human beings actually need to respirate to live. I KNOW! WEIRD, HUH?

Now, I'm not a doctor (I only play one at my home when someone is sick), and I haven't done any specific, peer reviewed studies or anything (I did ask the pharmacist about it and they all say that patients who use the new inhalers hate them)...but I am a wife of an chronic asthmatic and I can tell you that these new inhalers suck eggs.

Here's the explanation of WHY this has happened:

"The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer. As a Party to the Montreal Protocol, the United States has committed to phasing out and eventually eliminating substances that deplete the ozone layer, including CFCs. It is estimated that actions to protect and restore the ozone layer will save an estimated 6.3 million U.S. lives that would have otherwise been lost to skin cancer."

Okayyyyyy, so a bunch of people MIGHT have died from MAYBE getting skin cancer, possibly if we MAYBE got rid of stuff that MIGHT possibly deplete the ozone layer? Soooooo, a huge, belching factory in some third world country that has been shooting ozone depleting junk into the atmosphere for years and years may EVENTUALLY be gotten to and forced to comply with the "protocol" (...at least according to the Canadians...love the geese, by the way...they produce more ozone depleting waste into our ponds and on our sidewalks in one day than all the inhalers put together! Okay, that's not scientific, but I bet it's true!) but hey, you'd better get all those patients who shoot a teeny amount of propelled medication into their lungs to BREATHE on a daily basis? I've got some news for you. You can cover up your skin but you can't breathe if you can't breathe. I could save everyone a whole ton of trouble by telling everyone "Hey, if you don't want to get skin cancer (not even sure the sun causes it) cover your skin with some clothes and limit your exposure, m'kay?" instead of putting this inferior product on the market for millions of people who will now have to shell out more money, use MORE of it, and suffer more EVERY DAY. Hey, I'm not one to turn away a little suffering but COME ONNNNNNNNN. What about all the little kids who don't understand why their medicine doesn't work right? What about people like my husband who work outside and when their rescue inhaler dies about 2 months before it should can't get to a pharmacy or doctor in a reasonable amount of time and may have to spend thousands of dollars to visit the emergency room? "Hey, why not keep several of them on hand so you don't have to worry about running out?". Yeah, the thing is, it's a controlled prescription and you need to visit a doctor to get one more than once every few weeks. If we've lost one or ran out before the "designated time", we are SOL and have to visit the doctor again or get one by "illegal means". I love feeling like a criminal for having asthma (I have seasonal asthma and need inhalers in the fall and spring or when I'm pregnant.).

I can't believe that they made me give up my Rave aerosol hairspray, and now this. How super funny ironic that they are trying to make the "environment" more "safe" for, you know BREATHING and they are taking away the very thing that makes it possible TO BREATHE (in some people).

All kidding aside (was I kidding?), the new inhalers were phased in starting about two years ago and I at least thought that the old kind would be available if the new ones weren't effective. OH NO! The Environment Nazis have complete and total control here and the old, evilly propelled medicine is now defunct as of the First of this year. Nice. So, all those old inhalers? Where are they? Are they being destroyed in an environmentally friendly way? Are they being put in a jet and rocketed into outer space? Do alien beings in outer space have breathing difficulties on their planets? If so, I hope they can put all those inhalers to good use. Are the old inhalers being sold in the underground, inhaler black market? FOR SHAME! Can you imagine how maligned a doctor could be if it was found out that he was distributing free samples of leftover non-CFC-free inhalers? They could be sent to jail for doing something nice for a patient. It IS breaking the law, after all.

Here is the EPA's "explanation" of "what is happening with the CFC inhalers":

"What is happening with CFC-albuterol MDIs?
EPA coordinates with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine which CFC MDIs continue to be essential for public health as alternatives penetrate the market. In 2005, FDA removed the essential use designation for albuterol used in oral pressurized MDIs as of December 31, 2008
FDA rulemaking (PDF) (26, pp., 212 kb, About PDF). Therefore, after December 31, 2008, CFC-albuterol MDIs cannot be sold, distributed or offered for sale or distribution in interstate commerce pursuant to Section 610 of the Clean Air Act (information on nonessential products ban). The term "interstate commerce" refers to the product’s entire distribution chain up to, and including, the point of sale to the ultimate consumer."

Yeah...Wowie, I don't know about you, but now I understand it perfectly. Hey!..."pursuant"...THAT's fun to say!

What a silly joke this has all become. I'm laughing and crying at the same time. Powerlessness does that to me.

If you work for the EPA, you'd better not come within an inhalers puff reach of me right now, I'm likely to light a match in front of my old CFCfull inhaler and blow you away.