Life in the Box: Sickness and Health


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The staff at my office usually numbered about 100. I have some smallish circles of friends collected over my 30 years in Des Moines. But, I’m not someone with thousands of acquaintances.

I say that as a preamble to a list of a wide range of health issues that people I know have experienced:

Addison’s Disease
Autism
AIDS (some lived, some died)
Alcoholism
allergies (extreme enough to keep them home)
Alzheimer’s Disease
Anorexia
Asthma
Bi-Polar Disorder 
brain aneurysm
brain tumors (some removed) 
Bulimia
Cancer (all kinds)
Celiac Disease
Crone’s Disease
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
colon surgery
COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
death just after birth
Dementia
Depression
Diabetes (Types 1 & 2)
drug addiction
Endometriosis
eye repairs
Fibromyalgia
gallbladder removal
Grave’s Disease
heart attacks (some lived some died)
heart bypass surgery
heart pacemakers
heart stents
heart valve replacement
hip replacements
Huntington’s Disease
hysterectomy
kidney stones
kidney transplant
knee replacements
Leukemia
liver disease (deaths)
liver transplant
lungs regrown by own stem cells
Lupus
Lyme Disease
Multiple Schlerosis
Narcolepsy
Neuropathy
ovarian cysts
Parkinson’s Disease
Polio
premature birth (some lived, some died)
Retinopathy
Rheumatoid Arthritis (extreme)
‎Schizophrenia (some lived, some died)
shoulder rotator cuff surgery
Skin cancer (melanoma)
still birth
stroke
ulcers

 

Okay, that’s about 60 different reasons that people I know have sought medical attention.

What does that tell us about the modern human experience?

     –We still get sick.
     –We can identify many conditions.
     –Modern medicine has amazing cures.
     –Modern medicine can’t cure everything.
     –Over a lifetime, most of us will know a lot about illness just by listening to friends.
     –If we don’t have a dread disease, we must wonder when, not if we will. And, which one?

I am amazed by the human body—so frail and easily demolished; so strong and ready to defend itself; so astonishing that it can come back from near death.

Medical treatments are improving daily, and I’m going to be looking into what we know now that we didn’t 50 years ago. There must be some great stories out there! I’m on a roll, look out!
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Nancy Heather Brown is an Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she uses gems from this treasure trove of life stories to add sparkle to her reflections on the creative process both inside and outside the box.