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Citizens' Mail

Plague unthinkable

I am not averse to words that twist the tongue. One cannot spend time explaining. One must have technical terms. Still, there is a damnable plague of what plain people call long words.

The patient was diagnosed suffering from Dyskinesia, meaning the involuntary movement of the fingers in the left hand, otherwise known as Parkinson's disease, named after the British surgeon James Parkinson. The local specialist had prescribed 10 mg tablets of Domperidone be taken three times a day. The patient is from the school of hard knocks where he learnt to trust but verify. What he found was startling. Now he is on the horns of a dilemma. Listen to his guardian angel and does not take the drug or take the drug and sine que sera, sera -whatever will be, will be, the future is not for us to see. What he discovered was Domperidone is banned in most countries in the West due to its monstrous side effects and strictly banned in America by the FDA because Domperidone is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

How a drug that is banned in advanced countries is freely prescribed in a poor, third world country is a mystery that can be solved only by Dr Watson, the associate of the famed detective Sherlock Holmes. Whether other banned drugs are also prescribed in this country at the prodding of the giant pharmaceutical industries, with bags of carrots, torments the mind.

I often saw him from my high perch in the senior dormitory, walking solo in his brown tussore shorts, matching silk shirt, polished shoes and socks across the quadrangle towards the junior dormitory and wondered who this brat was. Later I came to know he was a brilliant student winning double promotions and then coming first in the new class. There was a rare exception. He failed a compulsory question in a prize giving test to name the author of Survivals and New Arrivals, the answer, Hilaire Belloc.

To see so many years later he would be hit by such an unkind disease, more dreadful than what the Old Testament prophet Job suffered, demonstrates the uncertainty of life. He is but one of the last links I have with my old school St Joseph's College. As the song soberly proclaims, as time goes on, we miss friends, longtime friends.

Ephrem Fernando


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