If we are lucky, we will get old. How old is old? About five hundred years ago, old may have been age 35. Many women never made it to that age because they died in childbirth. This affliction was termed, “Childbed Fever.”
Along came Ignaz Semmelweiss, long before Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch confirmed the germ theory of medicine in 1870, Semmelweiss warned doctors about going from bacteria-laden corpses to women in labor. He was generously scoffed at by all of his contemporaries.
Who knew? Perhaps sticking your unwashed fingers into a women’s lady parts after you dissected a corpse was not a good thing.
This practice, or should we say nonpractice, affected women of all social classes.
Actually, it may have had more impact on the aristocracy because poor ladies were often delivered by a midwife who knew better.
These midwives were often called “wise women,” and some even burned at the stake for their knowledge.
Even in the twentieth century, medicine was quite different. For example, an MRI or CT machine did not exist. X-ray machines were in their infancy. Smoking was not proven to be the cause of lung cancer, and Madison Avenue invented the Marlboro Man. Asbestos as a carcinogen was not on the radar in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Was the ancient building that housed my kindergarten riddled with asbestos? Most likely, because asbestos was a proven and strong building component. Asbestos is also used in the automobile industry, especially the brakes. Do not marry a mechanic unless you buy loads of life insurance on him or her!
We all know people who smoked cigarettes their entire life and lived to be ninety or more. So, is there another way to get lung cancer? Is there a virus, or a bacterium out there in wait for the genetically prone humanoid?
As it turns out, several viruses have been implicated in disease. We know that HIV is caused by a virus and that the human papillomavirus is connected to female cervical cancer. Even leukemia once thought to be an extreme example of bad luck is connected with a virus. HTLV is the bad boy that is linked with both leukemia and lymphoma. It is a retrovirus, which simply means that the body can harbor it for decades before Show Time.
Once I read a wonderful book, Plague Time, written by a Ph.D. in microbiology who theorized that all diseases, from leukemia to diabetes have a viral or bacterial foundation. This was published in 1998, and I gave it to a friend who suffered from psoriasis.
Time will tell, but science is always changing; that’s what makes it science. The best thing you can do for yourself is to eat balanced meals that suit your body’s metabolism, exercise to keep weight gain to a minimum and wash your hands. Wash, rinse and repeat.
As you get older, keep your flu shots up to date and after age sixty, get a shingles vaccine, whether you had chicken pox or not. Hepatitis A is another must-do. I would definitely take vitamins C, D, and calcium. B12 is very useful to lower the chemical Cortisol, a byproduct of stress that ads pounds to your waistline and disrupts your sleep. Injections of B12 are the best, but over the counter sublingual or liquid also works. In fact, all liquid medicines and vitamins work more efficiently than capsules or tablets.
If you are of Northern European or Asian ancestry, get a bone scan to determine bone strength. On my former nursing unit, we used to joke that “Black don’t crack,” but the genetic truth is that in the United States, it sometimes does. People of African descent may still break their hips and get skin cancer. The rule of thumb, at least my very experienced thumb is this: If something is off, check with your doctor. You are more expert on your own body than the person with fifty medical degrees.
The theory of autism being caused by vaccines is dead and buried. Withholding vaccines for your baby put your baby and my baby at risk. In the last thirty years, those spooky autoimmune diseases have escalated. The kid sitting next to yours may already have problems in that direction. If you are totally against vaccinations, homeschooling should be YOUR option, not OURS.