Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Ash Wednesday" and the Cost of Medications in America

"(Why should the ag/ed eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?"

I love Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" and consider it the easiest introduction to Eliot's work, as it is essentially Eliot "light" mixed with a religious sensibility. It's easy to understand. I felt like quoting the passage above since I finished revising my chapter on AW and am now into Four Quartets, which makes up half my book. It makes sense that if I spend 7,000 words on "Ash Wednesday," each of the Quartets deserves as much.

Here's a sample from the essay:

"For those who haven’t walked in Eliot’s shoes, whether raised in the faith, agnostic, atheist, or unconcerned, the difficult negotiation of a commitment to Christianity which AW belabors may seem anchorite overkill, artistic and spiritual self-flagellation. But if we think of the person behind the persona, the "politic, cautious and meticulous" Eliot of "Prufrock," and compare him to the pilgrim of AW, I am tempted to cliché ("You’ve come a long way, baby”).

In AW Eliot achieves a Christian commitment painfully, incrementally, achieving initial communication without spiritual union or the joy of deliverance. One unexpected benefit of his experience is a greater degree of acceptance of the flesh in his verse, and one presumes, his life. In AW the speaker realizes it is possible to live the spiritual life in this world despite our animal defects (not an easy admission for a perfectionistic aesthete). Looking back at "Prufrock," one might predict that Eliot would sooner have embraced monasticism than the life of the Church. The very ordinariness of his adoption of Anglicanism is the most surprising thing about his conversion. The tentative solution AW proffers is, of course, more fully treated in 4Q. "

BTW, the initial essays in Melic are no longer representative of my work and I hope soon at my website to substitute the revised versions for the earlier drafts.

My mood is holding, but I think the American public should know how much the medications that achieved that miracle cost per month at the most reasonable retailer, Costco, Each drug is priced for a month's supply.

Lamictal: $400
Abilify: $430
Prozac: $50
Wellbutrin: $200
Celebrex for two: $200
A narcotic for chronic pain: $120
Blood pressure medicine: $35

The arithmetic yields a total of $1435, mainly because three of the medications have yet to lose their exclusive patents.

After the first Rx here I order my meds from Canada for one third the price. Kathleen is working full-time just to get us insurance. Coincidentally she loves her job and likes to work! (though it's hard on her back). The insurance increases her earnings by at least 60% in terms of value.

Having her work full-time makes me the househusband/writer, cooking nightly, making her lunches, doing the dishes and wash and helping with the shopping and cleaning. I don't mind; anything for Kathleen!. In fact cooking is a good adventure. Tonight I bought a pork shoulder roast for $1/lb. and it has turned out deliciously, with the sage/pepper/olive oil/lemon/crushed garlic baste and the honey glaze.

Mmmmm... the sage is from my spice garden.

spice... the spice....

Any Dune fans out there?

I still think that David Lynch, who later disowned the movie, made a visual tour de force but he must have given up some autonomy to Dino De Laurentis in the dialogue and pacing, particularly portraying the inward thoughts of statues. In spite of this, Baron Harkonnen is one of the great characters in the history of cinema, even better than Nicholson as "The Joker" in its way.

Happy to be alive!

3 kilobunnies!


p.s. Despite the prices I am grateful to the pharmaceutical companies who took risks to create medications that saved my life--again.


  1. Incredible that you should post the costs of those medications tonight, Craig, because I looked them up today to post here tonight. I think many do not realize the cost of the drug cocktails that some without insurance require daily to survive.

    We are lucky to have insurance for our son whose meds would cost over $2000 a month...but so many families in this country are not. How can we call ourselves a world power when so many of our children, our ill, our elderly and disabled are living without adequate healthcare?


  2. Coralpoetry4:38 AM PDT


    "Happy to be alive!"

    That's good to read. Keep it up, whatever the cost, however long it takes.



Please share your opinion!

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!