Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mmmm...Fake Beer

The neurologist visit yesterday was OK. The big news is that on the neuro's advice, I'll be reducing my alcohol consumption by 71%. I've been a regular drinker, verging on heavy sometimes. That means every day, and anywhere from 2-4 drinks daily.

I've always loved booze, especially wine and good beer. Why so much? Well, for starters, there's a family history on my dad's side of pretty heavy consumption, though not really alcoholism that I know of. And I've probably done some self-medicating: on the one hand, my history of depression has sometimes correlated with increased consumption; on the other hand, the booze has the effect of dehydrating me in the evenings, which means my bladder doesn't wake me up at night as much. Also, my love of cooking is conducive to having a glass or two of wine even before dinner is on the table.

The neurologist suggested that I try drinking only on the weekends, so I'm going to try it. He noted that research has indicated that alcohol impacts the white matter of the brain, which MS also affects, and that alcohol's impact is reversible. He made a convincing argument: I'm already on Rebif, and he doesn't prescribe more than one of the CRAB drugs at a time. That means that the only other drug option for treating the MS itself is Novantrone. Novantrone is effective, but it's a one-time "rescue therapy" option, so save it until you need to be rescued. In the meantime, it's possible that reducing the booze could really help. So I'm gonna try only on weekends. Good thing I started on a Wednesday.

Yesterday, on the way home from work, I picked up couple kinds of fake beer to try. I'm in the habit of sitting down with the paper when I get home from work, and I enjoy sipping on something cold, but not sweet. Yesterday, I tried the O'Doul's. It was OK. Crisp and light, though it would never survive a taste test against even the humblest of mass-produced lagers.

One possible problem, though: Fake beer doesn't dehydrate the way real beer does. The bladder thing has of late been more troublesome at night. For the last month or so (about the length of time I've been on Cymbalta), I've been wetting the bed much more often. It had previously been maybe once a week, and now it's like 6 or 7 times a week, sometimes more than once a night. Last night, I wet the bed three times, and still managed to put half a liter in my bedside urinal. After the last incident, at 4:30 am, I just decided it was time to get out of bed and do some laundry.

So there are some issues to figure out. I don't want to stop taking Cymbalta before it gets a chance to work (I've been told 4-6 weeks), and I'd like to try a serious cut in alcohol consumptions, but I'm feeling rather out-of-whack.

On an up note, it appears that there may be a way to use all this pee: scientists in Singapore have developed a urine-powered battery (write your own punchline).

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