Monday, January 7, 2008

Your word of the day, people

Finally I know what's wrong with me! I should have suspected it all along!

After all, my problems began with an HMO in Seattle that shall remain nameless lest THEY sue ME. A bout of dizziness, a bit of unsteadiness, a lot of pain, incredible fatigue, and yet they came up empty of a diagnosis. It isn't for lack of trying. They did everything including an operation on my knee to explore the reasons for the constant popping and clicking. I didn't heal up so well from that, and my problems seemed to continue.

Oh, there have been doctors who had opinions, doctors who overprescribed, doctors who never even looked me in the eye (so poor was their bedside manner). MRIs, CT scans, Xrays, blood work, etc. ,etc., etc. A family medical history rife with cancer (took out my dad and all of his siblings that lived to adulthood as well as a bunch on Mom's side), heart disease, diabetes, Crohn's, lupus, shall I go on? Certainly it seemed as though they had some clues.

Yet here I am FOURTEEN YEARS LATER with no diagnosis. Except ...

could I be a valetudinarian???

It's a word that popped up on my Word of the Day screensaver whilst I worked on the other computer for my "real" job. Here it is:

Pronunciation: \ˌva-lə-ˌtü-də-ˈner-ē-ən, -ˌtyü-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin valetudinarius sickly, infirm, from valetudin-, valetudo state of health, sickness, from valēre to be strong, be well — more at wield
Date: 1703: a person of a weak or sickly constitution; especially : one whose chief concern is his or her ill health

Notice the date the word originated, though - 1703. Ya think they were very good at diagnosing illness back then? "I'm sorry, your mother died because she was valitudinous. We found nothing whatsoever wrong with her."

I had to laugh, after I flashed with anger at seeing this word on my computer. I felt like it had been planted there to taunt me! Yes, some doctors might think this was my diagnosis. I'm not nearly so worried about my health now that my pain is under control and most times not even noticeable anymore. Funny how you tend to get a little anxious about your health when you can barely friggin' stand to get out of bed anymore.

It occurred to me, too, that Big Pharma is making a killing by turning us all into some level of valetudinarian.
  • If you can't get it up, take this pill.
  • If it won't go down after you take this pill, rush to the ER. ("Oh nurse? I can't get rid of my erection. Will you help me?")
  • Take an aspirin a day; it helps EVERYONE. (No mention of those of us who tend to bleed due to lesions in our small intestine or those people who have ulcers).
  • If you can't pee, take this.
  • If you can't poop, take this (side effects may include diarrhea)
  • If you can't stop peeing, see your doctor (because you won't have to see your doctor to get these friggin' drugs??)
  • If you have a yeast infection, use this - but see your doctor if you're not sure it's a yeast infection? Or use this test to see if it is.
  • Everyone should be on a statin (tell your doctor if you have liver problems...do I KNOW? Wait...shouldn't HE know??)
  • You're no match for a clot, so take Plavix (no mention of the fact that they don't want to pay if you nearly bleed to death, because that's a side effect in their literature...you could DIE!)
Don't get me started. Don't even get me started.

So sure, we're all a little worried about our health. We're no longer advised just to eat right, exercise, and take Geritol every day. My God, we have to be on a chemical soup of statins, blood thinners, aspirin, Valtrex ("I didn't know I was contagious..." WHAT??), Cialis, Plavix, Zelnorm, Abilify (if you happen to actually be seeing those pink ponies and haven't seen a shrink yet...ask your doctor...?????).... A nation of valetudinarians. That's us. A nation of fatties. That's us, too. Sickly, worried, unhealthy, obese, and getting worse all the time.

Jane, stop this crazy thing indeed.

Word.

Peace - D

1 comment:

Heather said...

Yeah, we're just basically just a highly-medicated society. It sucks. What kills me is the whole autism thing. Now, autism organizations and teachers are trying to peg gifted children and adults (Einstein included) as autistic because they're lacking in social skills. Amazing.

You should watch the movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale. Yeah, it's a shoot 'em up, but it also speaks about a society that is mandated by the government to stay medicated or be killed. Scary!