It’s been a bad year healthwise at Family neOnbubble.
First, my dad was diagnosed with the almost unpronounceable myasthenia gravis. Then my mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Luckily, both were caught early and they’re both responding well to treatment. And this week my cat stopped eating and drinking and started staring into space. A search on the internet terrified me beyond belief into concluding that his kidneys and/or liver had shut down. The vet did nothing to allay my fears initially by claiming there was a lump inside him too. As it turned out, though, he’s got feline diabetes instead. For the rest of his life – assuming he stabilises in the next 24 hours or so – I will be administering insulin injections into my cat twice a day.
I would like to sum up this year as an annus horribilis but apparently that’s already been done. I shall call it "The Year Of Arse" instead as that appears to be quite unique.
So, recently, I’ve been thinking about illnesses, diseases, and associated ailments, and, more specifically, how we can fight them in this enlightened modern age of wonders and joy. Suppose you got ill right now! What are some of your recovery options?
The pharmaceutical companies have drugs, drugs, and more drugs and they’re cock-a-hoop about getting them to you to fight any illness you may have. For your everyday, not-very-important, hardly-ever-fatal illness such as the common or garden headache or the uncommon and usually nether regions-bound itchy rash they can provide you with ointments, ungents, pills, and lotions that will cure you of your problem in marginally less time than it would have taken your body to organise its defences and do something about it anyway. What saints! For your more lethal, long-term problems with debilitating side-effects … alas, cures seem to be in short supply, but fear ye not for a lifelong treatment is available at a price that’s only exorbitant if you stop and think about it and you simply don’t have time to do that you fool, you’re going to die!!!
Pros: There are many pretty shapes and colours of pills.
Cons: Pharmaceutical companies make one million percent profit off every sale. In my mind.
Before we had drugs we had leeches and apparently we still have them now. And trepanning tools. Sometimes leeches with trepanning tools. But mostly just leeches. Iron age farmer with tennis elbow? Put a leech on it! Run over by a chariot driven by a Christian-eating lion in an amphitheatre? Take two leeches, twice a day! Building a pyramid but whip marks on your back getting you down? A coat of leeches will sort you out!
Pros: Cheaper than drugs and they double as moustaches in period costume drama emergencies.
Cons: Can be confused with slugs who tend to bore under the skin of sufferers and eat their intestines instead.
Aromatherapy candles work from the opposite end of the body to reflexology. Whereas the latter healing method connects the soles of your feet to points in your body in a miraculous display of knowledge of human biology missed by people who actually study the subject, the former illness-fighting system scoffs at the foot-based notion and promotes healing through inhaling the smell of lavender. Take that flesh-eating bacteria!
Pros: In the absence of an aromatherapy candle shop run by a hippy wearing fourteen layers of tie-dyed shawls hidden from view behind two hundred wind chimes and a thousand dreamcatchers, you can – in an emergency – sniff a granny instead. Usually from thirty metres away if my experience is anything to go by.
Cons: Discriminatory treatment cannot help those born with no nose.
Why would you trust a chemical, an annelid, some plant extract, or a lump of quartz to cure you of appendicitis when a team of experts in a tiny submarine can enter your bloodstream and attack the offending ailment head on? With lasers! That’s right! You wouldn’t! Films like The Fantastic Voyage and Innerspace have shown that if this technology isn’t available just now then it’s probably only weeks away.
Pros: Submarines may be able to sneak up and destroy any battleships accidentally swallowed as a youngster. Can paracetamol say the same?
Cons: Meg Ryan no longer wants Dennis Quaid inside her, so would you?
If the thought of injecting, swallowing, or rubbing your way to health doesn’t appeal then maybe you could do with the healing power of prayer to fight that illness. Mumble, shout aloud, or use your inner voice! It doesn’t matter because God will hear you and help! Even though He could have done something earlier if He’d really cared. Like not infect you with that syphilis. Or make you invulnerable to strokes.
Pros: There are no side-effects from prayer-based healing unless you count sandles and I do.
Cons: God doesn’t exist which can be a bit of a bugger.