Variations (6): Big Pharma

Gould was by now going to no less than four Toronto doctors…. And the doctors kept prescribing drugs. Aldomet for the high blood pressure, Nembutal for sleep, tetracycline and chloromycetin for his constant colds and infections. And Serpasil and Largostil and Stelazine and Resteclin and Librax and Clonidine and Fiorinal and Inderal and Inocid and Aristocort cream and Neocortef and Zyloprim and Butazolidin and Bactra and Septra and phenylbutazone and methyldopa and allopurinol and hydrochlorothiazide. And always, in addition to everything else, lots and lots of Valium.

—Otto Friedrich, Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations

The nurses’ log books for February 1969 make depressing reading, except that Stravinsky’s fighting spirit shows through on every page. Here, for example, is the beginning of an entry for February 5: “6:00 A.M. Threw his pillow at me but later calmed down.” The reasons for the calm may be attributed in part to the following medications:

10 A.M.
11 A.M.
12:30 A.M.
3 P.M.
4 P.M.
6:30 P.M.
9 P.M.
9:50 P.M.
12:25 A.M.
2 A.M.
3:45 A.M.
3:50 A.M.
6:15 A.M.
1 Pronestyl
100 Mg. Heparin
1 teaspoonful Butisol
½ Comp. Tylenol
1 Comp. Pronestyl
1 teaspoonful Butisol
Myloran tablet. Darvon tablet.
Pronestyl capsule. Placidyl capsule (500 mg)
Placidyl 200 Mg. p.o.
Placidyl 200 Mg. p.o.
Placidyl 200 Mg. p.o.
Pronestyl 250 Mg. p.o.
Tylenol tablet p.o.

—Vera Stravinsky and Robert Craft,
Stravinsky in Pictures and Documents

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