Saturday, May 17, 2008

The health professional, or the illness police

It seems to be hard for the average Joe to get the concept of whose responsibility it is to provide health, and who needs to pay for it so that our society is healthy and remains that way.

That got me to thinking about how law enforcement gets its funding from taxes. Nobody seems to have any problem with that. Crime fighters fight crime. So, what if we all thought of medical professionals as health enforcement. Medical personnel would be looked at as a group of people that keeps illness at bay just like police keeps crime from happening to us (of course they have to be competent, crime police as well as the health police). If we all thought in those terms, maybe it wouldn't be as difficult to convince people that we need a government single payer health plan. There will still be people who would say "why should I pay for your pain and suffering." But isn't that the same as saying "why should I pay for murders in Oakland, or closer to home, the investigation of theft of my neighbors laptop?"

Illness is not voluntary, and it has societal components. Think about it!

The beauty of my proposal would also be that "single payer" would all of a sudden be a "law and order" problem and not one that one of those damn liberals thought up.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mercury really is dangerous

I just found out how Thimerosal, I mean Merthiolate, or do I mean Mercurochrome disappeared from drug store shelves.

No, nobody actually told me. I just have this hunch.

Somebody decided that mercury actually is poisonous. Funny thing Merthiolate used to be kind of a cure-all for little scrapes and superficial infections. My husband, bless his soul, thought that dousing the scrape with it, would make it feel much better. He poured it over the back of his whole hand after he had fallen off a ladder. It made the hand feel better alright. It kept a possible infection at bay. It was just marvellous how it looked pink and cured the pain very quickly. Psychologically it gave the sense of having done all you could to help the healing process. Oh, I forgot, I am slightly off the subject. But before I go on, I want to tell you that ethyl mercury applied topically kills the pain by destroying your nerve endings. Hmm! No wonder it kills pain.

Getting back to the subject. I meant to talk about how this miracle cure was taken off the shelves. Oh, yeah, this is why. The wonderful Merthiolate was once used in hospital nurseries.

Professor Boyd Haley stated that in 1977 10 of 13 infants treated ... by topical application of Thimerosal [Merthiolate] for umbilical cord infections died of mercury toxicity. This same topical was used on adolescents without obvious ill effects which strongly supports the concept that infants are very susceptible to Thimerosal toxicity.

Would we not have heard about that in the news media? No, too hot a topical, or did I mean topic? In order not to alarm the population, the maker of Merthiolate took the substance of the market. Guess why we didn't read anything about that in the newspapers. I venture to say, it was hidden from the consumer in order not to alert us, and to keep legal consequences from hitting the manufacturer of Merthiolate. I guess it was out-of-sight out-of-mind in the same way as calomel (a teething powder containing mercury that in the 1940s caused pink disease, also know as acrodynia) was taken off the market. For some children it was fatal, some wound up retarded. Oh, I know we didn't hear about that in the news, either. I don't wonder why? Do you still wonder why?

Friday, May 09, 2008

On Investigating

A while back a mother wrote a book about how to write about a subject entitle "Bird by Bird". It talked about how to start a report about a subject you don't know. You investigate bid by bird and then write about it.

This concept was brought home during the tortuous history of my son Erik's illness. If the doctors had done what a good detective does, eliminate all the possibilities of what might might cause illness "bird by bird", they would have found what he has a long time ago. Just because the symptoms don't fit, doesn't mean that they don't exist. It takes looking. Complexity is usually the nature of a difficult case. The process of elimination may be boring and tedious. But is the only way that answers can be found that are not obvious.

There is a saying among doctors that goes something like this: If you hear a herd of horses don't think zebras. That is supposed to mean don't think of the least likely possibility. But to counter that one could also say: If you hear a herd of horses, don't think of zebras, but if you look and you see the herd running by, and all the horses are striped black and white, you shouldn't convince yourself that those are horses and not zebras.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another word: confabulation

Wikipedia says the following about "confabulation": confabulation, also known as false memory is the confusion of imagination with memory, and/or the confusion of true memories with false memories. [1] Confabulation can result from both organic and psychological causes.

People who confabulate tell stories that might be construed as lies by the listener. The person with this syndrome is not aware of his non-sensical behavior.

I mentioned the word "confabulation" in a previous blog in the context of alcohol intoxication. In reality, however, confabulation happens much more often as a symptom of vitamin B1 deficiency otherwise known as beri beri. It is then known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. This syndrome occurs in alcoholics because they tend to be deficient in vitamin B1 or Thiamine.

Beri beri was a deficiency disease that killed many thousands of people in the 19th century especially in China because polished rice became the food of choice, and nobody knew why people became disabled with beri beri and died.

Confabulation is not the only symptom of Vitamin B1 deficiency. But it is one that is puzzling and potentially, just like erethism, not recognized as a physical problem. The first person to, usually, see a person who confabulates is a psychiatrist, and he won't necessarily test for mere vitamin deficiency.

One more thing, a person who is mercury-poisoned might also be Vitamin B1 deficient because mercury denatures the vitamin because it attaches itself to the sulfur contained in it. Thus it renders it an impostor or mimic. The human organism deals with it as a toxin, while, at the same time, it cannot use the vitamin for vital functions.