Wednesday, December 14, 2005


There is a study going on, trying to find the protein markers for ALS, or some such malarky, They may have already found the protein markers, and want to cure this disorder or something. Anyway, my friend Jansenist who I have made fun of in this space before -- he wants to donate blood and spinal fluid to help this study. To get spinal fluid, they have to stick a needle in your spine...

The picture is of me getting a spinal tap on December 30, 2003. It wasn't extremely painful, but it was very unwelcome. I wrote then:

It's kind of viscerally unacceptable when that needle slides into your spine. And like all the other procedures you are supposed to remain calm and hold still. In my case a dull but deep ache shot through my pelvis and down my right leg.

And then you have to lie flat for 24 hours else you might wind up with an enormous, blinding migraine. The cure for the headache is simple: Just go to the local emergency room, and they'll draw some of your blood and inject it into your spine with a needle! Imagine waiting six hours in an emergency room, with a giant pain in your head, for that!

I told Jansenist not to let them take a spinal fluid sample. I figure they can get it from corpses of highway accident victims, and from reuse of samples taken from people who suffer from conditions other than ALS.

Jansenist said he wanted to do it anyway.

I called him a chump.

They're probably just going to turn around and sell his CSF at $100 per milliliter to some exotic restaurant where people who are tired of shark-fin soup, whale meat, panda-paw salad, and live monkey brains go to get a real dining thrill: Human CSF soup!

Jansenist is going to do this on Feb. 3rd, hoping to help find a cure for ALS.

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