When the Obit is More Fun than the Front Page

I was going to write about fashion and art and whimsy (and death and depression and cancer) inspired by the obit page, but then I read something really scary and important on the NYT front page. It's about doctors being paid ("rebates") to prescribe and administer anti-anemia drugs at unsafe levels for cancer and kidney patients. According to the Times, "Critics, including prominent cancer and kidney doctors, say the payments give physicians an incentive to prescribe the medicines at levels that might increase patients’ risks of heart attacks or strokes. "
I'm lucky so far--I've had borderline anemia but my hematologist told me to take generic ferrous sulfate from the drug store. My hemoglobin counts are OK, as of Monday. I'm lucky too because this article is blasting out while my hemoglobin counts are OK. If the situation weren't so tragic I would enjoy this twisted quote: "Johnson & Johnson said yesterday in a statement that its rebates were not intended to induce doctors to use more medicine. Instead, the rebates 'reflect intense competition' in the market for the drugs, the company said."

Now for the lighter side: Isabella Blow, who I hadn't heard of until I read her obit, in the Chicago Tribune today, died at 48. That's tragic, too. But her life sounded fun. She was a British fashion editor who was being treated for cancer and depression. What struck me was that before a meeting with the crystal company Swarovski, she "wore a crystal-encrusted lobster hat to suggest new possibilities. Swarovski crystal heads soon began appearing on designer dresses and shoes." Or at least that's how I first read it, and imagined animal heads on shoes, an idea which seemed daring in its delicacy. Like Cinderella's slippers, if Cinderella had had the power to choose. Then I realized they was crystal beads.

Now looking around on-line I see that Blow may have killed herself. New York Daily News gossip columnist Ben Widdicombe said yesterday (Fashion news gets there faster.) that fashionists "are questioning the official cause of death, given as cancer." New York Times mentioned a 2005 suicide attempt, a jump that ruined her for high heels. Can you be balanced and eccentric and fun in one life?

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