Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Death of My Hero

First, the introduction. Readers: my hero. Hero: my readers.

Went to the pharmacy to pick up an inhaler refill this weekend. When I got home and opened the bag, this jumped right out at me:

Holy Gol' durned smokes! They're taking away the inhalers that I need to survive! (I should have thought a little more before I used the word "smokes." Obviously, I don't smoke.)

I support green initiatives. I recycle like mad and haven't bought anything aerosol since I was in high school. That was back when there were still aerosol deodorants! That, my friends, was many aeons ago. I'm what they used to call a "natural" (think Birks, broomstick skirts, whole foods and Buddha), and I never thought I had any use for hairspray, anyway. When I do drive it's a tiny Toyota I've had 11 years that still has under 100,000 miles on it. And the crowner? I even think Al Gore is kind of cute in an extra-large suited, geeky way.

But my immediate reaction to seeing this notice was seeing red. Alarm! Don't take away my inhaler! I went as ballistic as a wheezing asthmatic can go--which is, of necessity, rather quiet and snide, like the upset Geico Caveman, but with a wheeze. My mind instantly reeled with snotty comebacks of righteous indignation.
  1. Get your big, fat pharmaceutically correct hands off my barely functioning lungs
  2. Al Gore, I love you, but kiss my big, fat ugly cellulite hiney (uhm, was that too much information?)
  3. Environmental impact? Yeah, but what about the big, fat impact on my lung environment?
  4. LOOK OUT! I'm armed and dangerous! Next person to threaten, discontinue, or confiscate my inhaler gets a shot of cholorflourocarbonated albuterol in the big, fat face! Don't come any closer or the ozone gets it!
My elder kid said, "Mom! You're so stupid! It's not about the inhaler itself. It's about the harmful byproducts of the manufacture of the inhaler!" The Tyke had to pipe up, too, "Yeah, Mom! Gosh!"

I had to admit this was a good idea. Kid is pretty smart. But I had to check it out. I suddenly felt like an ignorant, crotchety old person. I gave Kid his due. "Perhaps it is about the manufacture," I thought, so I went to the suggested website. Of course, all you get is advertising about the pharmaceutical company's alternative to the discontinued inhalers. (Note: the link in the image below doesn't work; it is just a graphic.)

This is their verbatim information (and the copyright is theirs; I'm just quoting):

Inhalers Are Changing

You may have already heard about earth-friendly rescue inhalers. Soon all rescue inhalers will be made environmentally safe. This means the inhaler you know may change.

Most traditional albuterol inhalers use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the propellant to deliver the medicine into your lungs. They're safe for you, but hurt the environment. CFCs alter the ozone layer in earth's atmosphere, allowing more of the sun's harmful rays to pass freely through it. So the United States is switching to hydrofluoroalkane (HFA), an earth-friendly alternative to CFC. This change will help make the air better for everyone.

HFA inhalers contain the same medicine and provide the same relief as your current CFC inhaler. Learn more about them and find out why they're safe for you and the environment.

Be sure to ask your health care professional for more information about earth-friendly HFA inhalers.

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At 4/26/2007 11:20 AM, Blogger sputnik said...

I apologize for the screwy-looking quote--Blogger misbehaving today in one of its myriad ways.

At 4/27/2007 2:35 AM, Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

This is a really interesting post. I guess it will be about the manufacture process of the inhaler but they also really need to reduce the pollution out there that adds to asthma.

At 4/27/2007 9:18 AM, Blogger sputnik said...

Crafty Green, you are so right. It's pretty ironic that an implement invented to help people breathe is also an enemy to the environment in which people are trying to breathe . . . vicious cycle.


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