Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Sleeping Sickness • Damn Interesting

Beginning as early as 1916, and continuing well into the 1920s, an unusual and disturbing illness devastated millions of people throughout the world. It arrived in the shadow of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic– which killed an estimated fifty million people worldwide– so it has been largely overlooked by history despite the fact that it took the lives of over a million people, and left countless others frozen inside unresponsive bodies.

Young people, particularly women, were the most vulnerable to the disease, though it affected people of all ages. When an individual was stricken, the first signs were typically a sore throat and fever accompanied by a headache; but these discomforts soon developed into more alarming problems such as double-vision and severe weakness.

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The nurse in the movie "Awakenings" comments to the doctor that she doesn't think she could deal with losing 30 years of her life.  I've come to realize that I basically have a 10-year gap in my memory.  I was healthy in 2000, and although I don't question the accuracy when I see the date 2012, I don't come up with that date myself without really thinking about it.  Instinct tells me that it should be 2001, maybe 2002.

Because doctors repeatedly refused to listen to me when I told them what the specialists recommend, I've lost 10 years of my life.  It's not something where I'm allowed to say "I don't think I could deal with it".  It's my reality and I have to deal with it.



1 comment:

zac said...

Yes, a story many of us share.