Week digest: I feel like I have a million dollars for my child’s prescription flu meds | Emma Brockes


With the alarming news about this winter’s ‘triple epidemic’ – increasing numbers of RSV, flu and Covid cases, especially in children – when my child’s fever reached 103F late Monday, I did something thing i hate: dragging her around the corner to emergency care, the 24-hour walk-in clinic where, for $150, you can be seen immediately by a doctor who’s never seen you and will never see you again. It’s healthcare fast food, right down to the decor – which unnervingly consists of wall-to-wall framed photos of TV doctors, as if the place is cosplaying medical aid and clinicians have all been booked since central casting.

In fact, the doctor is very nice and after doing the tests, he says it’s the flu. He prescribes Tamiflu, surprisingly – due to poor efficacy in children, supply issues and having to take it within 48 hours of the first symptoms, we’ve never been prescribed it before – and sends us home with the words, “He waves hello to some kids, so keep an eye on her.

It doesn’t bother him. The next morning, however, I began to experience symptoms myself, and in the age-old tradition of reusing other people’s prescriptions – the leftover OxyContin from my C-section ended up at a friend of a friend’s who was in a car crash, while his own stash of Percocet, which saved his life when she threw himself in the back, came from his wife’s stockpile of cancer drugs – I lost some of the Tamiflu of my seven year old son. I think it’s best to avoid the cervix, experience brief, probably psychosomatic nausea, wonder if I should pretend I’ve knocked over the bottle to refuel without going to the doctor, decide it might signal me for drug addiction, picking a random dosage for myself and rejecting some more. I’ve been on Tamiflu all week and even though my daughter still has the flu – four days out of school and counting – I feel like a million bucks.


I don’t know if you’ve been following this story about the compulsive liar on Grey’s Anatomy TV’s writing staff? In Brief: Elisabeth Finch, a longtime writer on the medical drama who had spoken and written about using her experience as a cancer survivor to inform the show’s storylines, turns out not only to have never had cancer, but lied quite spectacularly about a bunch of other things too.

Everyone loves a good unmasked hoax story and this one is a filler. Among the 44-year-old’s lies, chronicled in Peter Kiefer’s best-selling interview with Finch for the Angler this week, were that she had lost a kidney; that she had been a worshiper at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where, in 2018, a gunman killed 11 people, including one she said she knew (she didn’t know); that her brother committed suicide (he is alive and well and lives in Florida); and, most importantly, that she had survived metastatic cancer after being diagnosed with a spinal tumor which, among other things, led her to report to work with a dummy catheter taped to her arm and a shaved head to mimic someone undergoing chemo. “I miss my fellow writers,” Finch said in the interview. “It’s like a family and…one of the things that makes it so difficult is that they got behind a false narrative that I gave.”

The false narrative is certainly one way of saying it, and having explained that its lying is in itself a clinical condition – ironic! – Finch lazily wonders if she could be forgiven enough to get a spot in the Handmaid’s Tale writers room.


In Congress, and the sight of Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler collapsing in grief at the prospect of American gays having too many rights. The discussion of the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act was a dry affair until Hartzler spoke up, arguing that the bill threatened the lives of decent, God-fearing Americans, then began, incredibly, to cry. In the strangest episode of political weeping since Matt Hancock wiped his eyes on Good Morning Britain, Hartzler concluded with a wobbly plea against “this misguided and dangerous bill”. Moments later, the bill passed, to loud applause, after 39 Republicans defected to the Democrats, although it should be added that while requiring each state to recognize the legal marriage of another state, it does not require all states to legalize the same-sex marriage in the event the Supreme Court overturns — as it did Roe v. Wade — federal law protecting that right.

Camilla, the queen consort, with a reindeer
Photo of the Week: “Oh my god, she didn’t ask you if you’re from the North Pole, did she?” Photograph: Paul Grover/AP


A tough day in journalism as New York Times staff strike for better pay, begging us to boycott their website – friend forgets, Wordle, then frantically texting ‘am I a breaker strike?” – just as media around the world stop to watch Meghan and Harry on Netflix. “We had an emergency videoconference at 6 a.m. on how to handle the day’s revelations,” a friend told a tabloid.

I took a look at it, of course, and unless I’m missing something: didn’t we already know all that? Didn’t Oprah already have this story? I’m sympathetic to Harry, and I’m inclined to side with anyone who can trigger a public meltdown in Kelvin MacKenzie. Likewise, I find it hard to believe, according to Meghan’s account, that she has never seen images of someone curtsying to the Queen, heard the British national anthem or understood that royalty could be a hierarchy-based system made up of people who aren’t the warmest or most welcoming in the world. Although the main takeaway is, obviously, what a disgraceful mess the show is of Liz Garbus, one of the greatest female documentary makers in American history, reduced to peddling PR gaffes for this pair.


Toeing the digital picket line means I have to wait a day to catch up with Diagnosis, my favorite New York Times column, also known as the weekly I-thought-I-had-a-cold-but-actually-I am dying column. Think you’re tired and just need to eat a banana? Think again, asshole. Here is a man with exactly your symptoms who turned out to have orthostatic hypotension. You thought you tripped on the street because of an uneven pavement? Hear the story of this woman who thought the same thing, then had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. I think of writing with my own contribution. You thought you would casually guzzle someone else’s prescription drugs and get away with it? This person did this and believe me they were stoned all week.

#Week #digest #feel #million #dollars #childs #prescription #flu #meds #Emma #Brockes

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