Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I don't wanna party like it's 1499.

There's this game I always used to play. After I'd get over a particularly bad illness or infection, I'd ask myself, "If I lived back in medieval days, would that have killed me?"

(You can change up the game and substitute "wagon train days" or "the Victorian era", etc., to give yourself improved odds.)

Consider your own health history. Would you have made it this far? Not me.

The way I figure it, if I were living back in the days of King Louis XII, I'd for sure be a goner. I had a horrid "peri-tonsillar abscess" back in '97 that made my throat swell almost completely shut. It took surgery, IV penicillin, and several hospital visits to straighten that sucker out. So, that would have done me in--at the tender age of 23.

And actually, who's to say that, back then, I wouldn't have contracted some disease that my modern-day vaccinations have thus far prevented? No rubella, whooping cough, nor beriberi for me, thank you very much.

[Side note: Does anyone know ANYONE who has actually gotten the disease beriberi? It's my favorite disease name. Not to make light of it. I'm sure in reality it's no picnic.]

Back to the topic at hand:
Also, if I lived back in "the days of yore," I could have also contracted one of their plagues (Black death, or one of those other pandemic flus they had going around. You know, "back then.")

Or: I might have drunk some water from the same community well where the oxen had just relieved themselves (after gorging on a rancid carcass, probably.) Or I might have drunk some mead that had "turned". Or, died in childbirth (at the age of 15, for heaven's sake!) Who knows.

Them was some bad times.

I'm also glad I didn't get cancer anytime other than NOW. Even a few decades back, say in the 1970s, with my current situation, my future would have been pretty grim. Chemo is really advanced these days, and it works! This wasn't always the case. Medicine is truly making some incredible strides. (As far as I can tell. For the record, I did not attend med school.)

But then again, don't we always think, "THIS is the best time to get sick. Medicine is SO advanced now." ?? It's funny to think they were probably saying the same thing back in 1906. Right before they leeched you.

Friends, if you're going to follow my example and get cancer, please: WAIT A WHILE! Don't do it for another 20 years. Or more! Just think of the medicine they'll have by then. You'll be FINE. It'll be like getting rid of a bad staph infection. A little of WonderDrug X, and the cancer'll be history.

(FYI: Also in 20 years, we'll each have our own private droid, and we'll all drive around in spaceships.)


  1. I play that game sometimes Shelly. With my terrible vision and severe knee injury when i was 16, i would be a blind lame OLD lady at this point. I'm glad neither of us have to live in 1499, or wagon train days, or ancient Rome. Woot!

  2. I was just playing that game this week because I am on week 3 of WHOOPING COUGH. That's right - turns out it's morphed to outwit the vaccines we got in the 70s. Booster shots now recommended for adults -- apparently I didn't get that memo.

  3. I'm still waiting for hovercars. We were promised hovercars by this age.

  4. I wouldn't have made it this far either. The IV antibiotics have saved me, too.

    And Beriberi, only issue is it's due to deficiency of vitamin B. Not vaccine preventable. Did see one guy in medical school with it, I think. Someone did a presentation on it at rounds; I remember that. Just keep on eating those veggies, legumes and meat and you'll avoid Beriberi like that plague you mention...
    Love the blog, Shels.