I was reading this book called ‘ Don’t get me Started’ by Mitchell Symons over the weekend (recommend you read it too) and am going to elaborate on a point I read.
Ever notice how we tend to, for lack of a better word, ‘celebrate’ certain ailments and diseases more than others. Hear me out hear before you think I’m being inconsiderate to those with fatal diseases…. But the fact is diseases to us are like rockstars and each gets its own treatment in apathy and sympathy from the people around you. For example, someone with cancer or AIDS is generally given the highest sympathy, and deservingly so. It is a tough struggle that sometimes does not end pleasantly. And people are also sympathetic towards colds and asthama. But what about stuff that is equally serious, maybe not deadly, but just because you’ve never heard of it, you assume it can’t be too serious.
Let’s talk about me (yeah…like we were talking about anyone else in this blog). I suffered from gout and acute rheumatic fever for quite sometime. Now, did you go ‘awww’, tilt your head in pity and say ‘that’s bad dude….how’re you holding up?’ when you heard about the above two diseases???? I’m guessing not. But you would have probably felt more sympathetic if I had said that I had a cold. The reason is simple…..even among the entire gamut of diseases that one can have, my body chose the most unfashionable one. Not that I’m complaining or anything, because I know there are many out there with far more fatal ailments than what I’ve got.
I blame all this on bad marketing from the medical community. The above two cause recurring joint pains that are sometimes really bad that you can’t even form a fist with your hand, grip a pen, or even type on the keyboard. The simple task of climbing a flight of stairs is daunting. The person with the above two is generally in a lot of pain….and I mean a LOT of pain. While these are not exactly fatal, they are a big dampner on day-to-day life. My being over-weight was conveniently blamed for the same, until of course we discovered what was going on, on the inside and am on the slow road to recovery. But then, when you tell people you cant come out, or eat certain stuff because of your ‘condition’, their lack of knowledge of the ailment makes them think you’re just looking for attention. Makes matters worse if people like me start cracking jokes about it. “Oh, it can’t be that serious…he’s cracking jokes na?!”.
Ever notice kids in school who got fractures???? They got all the attention….especially from the girls. Yours truly comes from a family of strong bones and never got any fractures( I was the cause of 3 of them also…and this was before I hit high school). I’m still fracture-free (touch wood and praise the lord).Yet, the delicate boy who broke his hand because he slipped down two steps, got more attention than everyone else as though he was dying and sympathy would make him heal faster. And you wonder why I signed the cast, “Look where you’re going next time” (PS: I think a lot of the bitterness started here)
Ailments are like rockstars if you think about it. If you’ve heard about them, then you’d probably bother about them. AIDS and Cancer are like Michael Jackson…everyone has heard of them. The common cold is like Bob Dylan or The Rolling Stones….been around forever. Smallpox is like Elvis…was taken seriously back then, but now not so much. Chicken Pox is like Bryan Adams…once in your life you must go through the phase. Malaria is like Bob Marley….seems to affect only coloured people. Migraines are like Britney Spears….sorry…I meant Migraines are caused by Britney Spears. Asthama is like Shankar Mahadevan….breathless…get it ? No? H1N1 is like Lady Gaga….new kid on the block scaring the pants off everyone. Gout and Rheumatic fever however are like Sue Foley…been around with all the top people, a decade of music , but still heard of in very small circles, almost never heard of in fact.
You know what annoys me the most is that you rarely find support groups or online forums for such diseases. Check ‘breast cancer’ or ‘ dengue fever’ and you’ll have a whole host of websites which have people discussing what doctors to meet, what exercise regime to follow, what diet to follow and other stuff. But ever seen a ‘ Gout-anonymous.com’ or ‘rheumatic-fever-forum’???? Ever? No. Heck, even ‘lactose intolerance’ has more forums than we do. What’s the big deal with lactose intolerance…”don’t drink milk stupid” even if the carton has a picture of Pamela Anderson on it. But far more painful diseases which are a hindrance to daily living have no place…..tis but a sad world we live in. Do you know the cure to rheumatic fever??? It involves a nice long injection of penicillin right near your hip once every month for 5 frickin long years…..and that’s painful. Still think you sissies want to discuss ‘lactose intolerance’?????
Anyone here have any ailments you would like to throw some light on? So that if we meet, I would understand as to how serious matters really are. BTW, I am on the road to recovery, I'm not dying or anything.....so please don't think otherwise.