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When I had tuberculosis

by Izzy Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 07:32:57 AM EST

The globe-trotting TB guy all over the news is driving me crazy.  I'm sitting here right now with the flu.  I woke up this morning, only the second day of it, with that tight feeling in my chest.  And something else I can't describe, but it's as real and oppressive as the air right before a thunderstorm.  

I know this feeling like I know my own face.  I've had it more times than I can count -- it's bronchitis on its way and I get it most times I get sick, if I'm not really careful.  

So I'm sitting up typing, trying to distract myself when all I want is to be laying down.  But I shouldn't lie down, so I thought I'd tell you about when I had tuberculosis, which is why I'm worried right now.  Which is why I get bronchitis at the drop of a hat.  Which is why I hate TB guy.

From the diaries - afew

I guess I was probably six when I started to get sick.  No one knows where, when or how I caught it.  I lived alone with my grandmother and was ferociously protected from all her fears, both real and imagined.  In those years in the US, TB was largely thought to be gone.  Not entirely eradicated, but not really a problem.  This was before the resurgence in the US in the late 80s.

It's odd how quickly we erase bad things from our collective memory.  It hadn't been so very long before that tuberculosis had been public enemy number one.  It was largely considered a poor person's disease, thriving in overcrowded areas and blossoming in those with poor nutrition.  But it could get anybody, really.

It's been around a long time, probably forever.  Evidence of TB has been found in fossil bones dated as far back as 8000BC and in certain Egyptian mummies.  Hippocrates wrote a warning to his colleagues, advising against taking on late-stage TB patients, since the patient would surely die and damage the physician's reputation.

We've called it many things -- consumption, wasting disease, phthisis, and the white plague.  A form of it that affects the skin, scrofula, was called King's Evil in the middle ages, as it was thought that the touch of a king could cure it.  This practice went on in some places (::cough:: France ::cough::) until 1825.

It was the number one killer in much of western Europe and the US throughout the 18th century.  Towards the turn of the century, the sanitorium craze took hold.  It turned out that, while nice for the patients usually, the real benefit was getting them out of the general population and slowing the spread.  The cure for TB was not found until the 1940s.

That was my grandmother's generation.  She was from Scotland and the youngest of 10 children.  Her parents were 45 when she was born.  So she was raised with the older ideas and was keenly aware of class issues.  Such was the stigma of TB in her mind, and the pain of whatever prejudices she had endured in the past, that she didn't tell me what I had once it was diagnosed.  

I don't think she knew what I had when I started getting sick.  I was one of those kids who had allergies and was always sniffling anyway.  And my mother was gone, so perhaps a certain listlessness was expected.  

My mother had had a nervous breakdown and been sent to Scotland for "awhile" when I was four, leaving me with my gran and her "colorful" sisters who, in all honesty, were the ones who had driven my mom over the edge in the first place.  I was told she'd be back "soon."  About two years later, my gran took me on a trip over there.  

One of my gran's many fears was flying, so we took the trip by train and boat, a real adventure.  I remember the traveling as a happy time, even though I wasn't allowed to talk on the train.  My gran had told them I was four, so as not to have to get me a ticket.  Even then, I displayed what turned out to be an intrinsic feature of my personality -- I'd blab anything to anyone.   So safer just to not have me talk.

The ship was magical.  For one thing, I had a ticket, so I could talk all I wanted.  For another, my grandmother abruptly changed into a whole different person.  I went from being constantly under a microscope to complete freedom.  Once we were on the ship, she acted almost as though she had nothing to do with me.  From complete control to complete neglect in the space of a gangplank.  It was marvelous.

The time in Scotland seemed melancholy, even while it was going on.  I had my sixth birthday there, but it wasn't a celebration.  It was nice to meet my grandfather who gathered me in a hug.  I remember his smell of tweed and cigarette smoke and still associate it with comfort.  

And I needed comfort.  I'd sustained myself all this time without my mother by imagining our reunion.  This reunion was nothing I'd imagined.  This mom was not the same loving, carefree, go-go dancing mom who had left.  This mom was still loving, but so quiet.  A mom who woke up all the time when she should be sleeping and fell asleep all the time when she should be awake.  A muted, helpless, broken mom.  I resigned myself to sailing back with my grandmother.

The journey home was not so memorable, except for one thing -- a waiter named Nino.  I had even more stories to tell on the trip back and the staff took me into their warm, kitchen world.  I told them about the trip and my mom and my birthday.  I told them how my grandmother was worried because we had no money to eat on the way home.  I told them of her plans to contact her brother when we got to New York and hope that he would wire money to Chicago to pick up when we changed trains there.

Nino decided that this would never do and started sneaking us food every night.  Anything that could travel well.  We ended up with enough of a stockpile that we didn't need to buy food the whole train trip -- we still had lots of oranges when we got home.

I think I came home from that trip different.  A quieter child than the one who had left.  A few months or a year later (it's hard to remember time from back then) I started to get sick and it almost felt right -- like an inevitable conclusion to the journey.  Maybe my gran felt the same and that's why it took so long to figure it out.

Plus, we had no health insurance.  I have no idea how long I'd been sick with my gran treating it like she would something normal, but I remember the ordeal of finally giving in and going to the doctor.  It was right after I started coughing blood.  

The turn for the worse seems sudden to my memory.  Just the day before it seemed, I'd had enough strength to go to the bathroom on my own, albeit not without resting and catching my breath on the way.  And then I just couldn't.  Couldn't walk out of the house with my gran, get on the bus, walk to the clinic.  On top of the expense of the doctor, a cab was called.  I remember being carried to the cab.  I remember my gran's suppressed irritation.  She wanted to deny I was sick.  She wanted to hope I was moping.  She wanted believe it wasn't as bad as it suddenly looked.  

Things changed after that trip to the doctor.  I don't remember many of the medical details, to tell the truth.  But I remember the constant buzz of my family's craziness suddenly ceased.  Everyone was suddenly quiet.  Everyone was nice to me.  I remember the sisters taking turns in shifts to watch me while my gran worked -- the religious one sitting in the corner reading the Bible, the snooty one with the pearls bringing me tea in my gran's best china.  I remember nights and days blending together.      Dozing off with one of the Aunts there.  Waking to find it dark, my gran asleep in a chair, the quiet hum of some air machine that had been installed in the room.

The television was moved into my room, too.  A more ominous event than it sounds.  I hadn't been allowed to watch TV until then.  And books, I was laden with books.  I'd always loved to read, which was suddenly seen as a blessing.  A far-away cousin sent me Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses and it became something more than a book to me.  I not only kept reading it, I slept with it.  It almost seemed like a friend, that book.  Someone understood.

I don't know how long I was sick, but I missed most of second grade.  There were many more trips to the doctor and long bus rides out to the Public Health.  I was on medication for at least a year.  I was still on it when my mother came home when I was eight.  By that time we were both somewhat our old selves again, but different, too.

One of the oddest things to come out the whole ordeal was that I got to play flute.  Someone in my gran's family had heard that it was good for strengthening the lungs, so as soon as I was well enough to go back to school, I was signed up for flute lessons.  

I ended up playing flute all through my school years.  It seemed to have worked, too.  As I said when I started, I've been prone to bronchitis ever since, sometimes getting it 2 or 3 times a year, and doctors are always surprised how much oxygen I still take in, even with it.  I have no idea if I'm right, but I credit the flute.

So it wasn't all bad, but still.  I hope that globe-trotting TB guy hasn't spread this new strain.  I hope no one has caught it from him.  In my more generous moments I hope his doesn't become active.  In moments like now, with the flu and bronchitis threatening, I hope someone stronger than me gives him a good ass kicking.  

Cross-posted from Unbossed

Fantastic diary, Izzy.  Glad you posted this here.

For a lot of people, I think TB is one of those abstract diseases, something that people-we-don't-know get in places-we-don't-go.  Far away people, far away places.  But it kills 1.6 million people a year, and a shocking one-third (!!) of people in the world are infected with the TB bacillus.  So thanks for bringing this home for us.

I'm sorry to hijack your story, but I've been thinking a lot about XDR-TB-guy too.  Aside from wondering whether he will be prosecuted for recklessly endangering the lives and health of so many people (maybe having XDR-TB is enough of a punishment? I'm not sure... but it's sure scary as hell...) and (as a commentor on your dkos diary pointed out) the potential for connection between his father-in-law (who works for the CDC on... TB) I also found myself wondering about the overall TB numbers in the US.

It's a little higher than I would have expected. The CDC says there were 13,767 reported new cases of TB in the USA last year.  (Infection rates were significantly higher among the "foreign-born," which probably has something to do with poverty....)

Here's something that, sadly, doesn't surprise me, it just makes me feel depressed:  The highest rate of new TB infections was in Washington DC, which had 12.6 cases per 100,000 people, nearly four times the national average.

Because DC is tiny, in terms of raw numbers it still had only 73 cases (compared to California with 2,781, or New York with 1,274, or Florida with 1,038) but your odds of getting TB in the nation's capital are four times higher than the national average.

Four times.

Which certainly has something to do with poverty.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 07:24:35 PM EST
and thanks for digging up the numbers.  Having had the personal experience, I'd been aware that it had been making a comeback in the US since the late 80s.  I think you're correct that most people probably think of it in the abstract.

The XDR-TB is indeed very frightening.  On a selfish note, I've sorta wondered if my previous dose makes me immune.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 07:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any lung ailment seems to be thought of in the abstract by those who don't have it or who've never been around it a lot. People are pretty quick to dismiss a lingering cough as just an allergy. A diagnosis of something serious, especially when the person feels fine, as TB Guy apparently did, doesn't register with a lot of people as something that needs attention.
by lychee on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 12:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But it could get anybody, really.  

One of the many irritating things about living in the US in the 21st century, is the way people have forgotten such basic truths.  

Public health is the one part of medicine that actually makes an overall impact, and people think it's a luxury.  

Too late to complain, really.  US medicine is now essentially a scam, and we'll ride it to the bottom.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 07:55:42 PM EST
When we had to go to the Public Health office, my gran would have to take a whole day off work.  It took two bus transfers to get there and the buses didn't come very often.  There was a McDonald's across the street from it, and we'd go have lunch as a special treat before starting the long journey home.

In my mind, the Public Health office was somewhere very far away.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I started driving and noticed it right by the DMV -- it was 4  miles away.  I almost couldn't believe it.  Public transportation is important, too.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 08:54:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had an Aunt who had TB, not sure how she got it and was never capable of finding out because a multi year Family feud developed and thirty years later she's still not talking to the rest of the family.

I've seen people with  it, and with my weakened lungs through Asthma I want him rounded up and forcibly medicated to within an inch of his life.

A short period in Guantanamo might even be apropriate, after all he's the only person we know of in the last 5 years transporting biological weaponry across international boundaries, Andhe's delivering them to the US.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 08:42:25 PM EST
It can be latent for years, so it's difficult to pinpoint its origin, usually.  This guy's only got discovered because he happened to go in for an x-ray for his ribs or something, and they saw a mass, tennis-ball sized, I think they said.  Anyway, I get the feeling he's thoroughly rounded up now.  His behavior was astoundingly thoughtless, at best.  It angers me as well.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 at 08:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great to see that you also cross-posted the diary here on ET. I got nothing to add from my comments on dKos.
by Fran on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:32:46 AM EST
Thanks Fran -- it was such a happy surprise to see you there!  It felt like I'd just posted.  Either you're a VERY fast reader, or the fever is affecting my sense of time.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was pur coninsedence, I was just about to turn of my laptop. But then when I saw your name I just had to read it and then of course to comment. :-)

Hope that in the mean time you are feeling better!!!

by Fran on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:46:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, I am feeling a bit better tonight than I was this morning, and much better than yesterday.  Breathing some steam and making myself sit up seems to have made the tightness go away.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this diary Izzy, it's so well written. As others have said, it takes a fairly abstract disease and puts it slap bang into context.  I hope that you are beginning to feel much better.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:05:55 AM EST
Thanks, In Wales.  I am feeling quite a bit better this morning.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:17:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my grandmother's generation.  She was from Scotland and the youngest of 10 children.  Her parents were 45 when she was born.

Hey, maybe that's your foor in the door for EU citizenship!

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 04:12:51 AM EST
Funny you should mention that.  The UK doesn't recognize any claim through grandparents, however, my mother was also born in Scotland.  Until 1983, the UK only recognized Britishness passed through the father (I found all this out when some of my cousins got dual-nationality).  In 1983, they changed it to both parents, but only for children born after 1983.

I mentioned this to stormy in a comment one time and looked again to show her a link, and damned if they hadn't changed it in 2003, extending it back to people born after 1961 (which would put me firmly in the group).  So yes, I am eligible, just don't really know how to go about doing it.  Well, I could probably figure it out, but it costs over 200 pound, so I'm not jumping all over it at the moment.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:58:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hi Izzy.  I suggest you start collecting all the official documents you can think of - your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, your parents' birth certificate (especially your mother's), their marriage certificate, and finally, your grand-mother's.

The cost of getting each document will add up, so it's a long term project, but once you have them all, you can show up with a photo, your American passport, and the whole pile of official documents at your local British consulate, and the process should be rather easy.  

by zoe on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silly me.  I forgot to add:

good luck


I hope you feel better really soon!

by zoe on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good article izzy, and sobering. I worked in the San Francisco Public Mental Health system for years, and we were required to take TB tests fairly regularly (though I guess you have to be careful not to take them too often, as you may become susceptible), because we worked with people who were very poor, often homeless, and had very poor hygiene. It was shocking how often staff came up with a positive TB test...having been exposed, thus requiring chest xrays. It definitely added stress to a stressful job. And I have been hearing for years about TB changing and becoming more virulent, and that it can be caught quite easily. And now this new strain popping up in South Africa. At the very least, we should all be careful to wash our hands after we go out on public transport these days.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 06:12:06 AM EST
Just got out of a taxi, spent half an hour trying to cross town with the driver coughing up a lung the whole time.  Not unusual here, but more alarming to me today than it was a few months ago.

Also, I don't think you'll find me smoking any more shisha, or flavored tobacco in water pipes.  I didn't do it all that often anyway, but it's a common way to chill out on a summer night here.  Unfortunately, those water pipes (specifically the water in them, plus the cloth tubes you smoke through) are good TB reservoirs.  Here, most of the upscale places are using plastic disposable tubes now instead of the old-style woven ones.  But I think my shisha-smoking days are done.

The new XDR strain isn't just in South Africa.  It was identified there because they had a large cluster, but apparently they've back-tested lab tests and have found the same strain all around the world already.  Apparently this guy is not the first case in the US, just the first to run around wantonly exposing international airline passengers after his diagnosis.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 07:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And to add: thank you so much, Izzy, for telling us this very personal story about your early life experiences. Very moving and very well written.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 08:04:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Call me paranoid, but I couldn't help thinking this TB guy travelling all over Europe was some form of "it's only a bunch of natives over there, no great harm done".
by balbuz on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 06:17:20 AM EST
My experience with TB is quite different because i never had lung TB. Mine was a case of bone TB. I mention this because diagnosis is not easy. The first doctor i went to, complaining of pain in the lower back and hip told me i had arthrosis, a case of early (i was 36) wear and tear. So he told me to swim and take some anti inflammatory pills.

It took over an year of slow decay until i went to see another doctor, who in a moment of inspiration thought it might be TB. Did some anti body testings that confirmed high levels, and later a biopsy confirmed the infection. I went through one year of medication and clutches, and now i am ok. I can expect a real hip joint arthrosis in the future and eventually hip replacement.

TB still has a special status in the portuguese health system. Treatments are completely free, there are special units to provide medication and control, and your work leave is payed 100% by the health system, unlike other diseases that stay at 70-80%.

by Torres on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 09:14:21 AM EST
Brilliant diary, Izzy.  People forget how dangerous TB was and can still be, especially given the particularly scary form this guy suffers from.  The legacy can still be seen in many parts of the states.  Florida had a series of very large TB hospitals (in Tallahassee, Tampa, Lantana, Miami, and Marianna) -- some of which have now been demolished, others simply abandoned.  The one in Tallahassee was five stories high and easily as long as a football field, and I believe all used the same design.

Quite a legacy, and, yes, a good ass-kicking would be richly deserved.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 10:44:26 AM EST
thanks for this diary, izzy.

my father had tb when he was a baby and a kid, and it kept him home from school through much of grade school.  like you he loved reading, and books became his school, and social life.

he came out of it with 2/3 of his left lung literally dead, and when he catches cold, it's always a big worry, as it often becomes bronchial.  thankfully, as an adult, he only very rarely gets sick, only once every several years (i think that is due to a good diet, being very active athletically, and having a positive outlook.)

having said that, he has always -- in my experience -- felt that he figured out how to lick TB (with the help of his doting mother) and he rides out his rare bouts of sickness undaunted like an veteran sailer.

when discussing Zen Buddhism with him once, i described what my uncle, his older brother, had said was "his satori". my father immediately replied, "I found my satori when I was a kid sick in bed, contending with tuberculosis."

i guess it's scary to imagine your own parent suffering and struggling through a deadly disease, and i think for that reason i never really contemplated what my father's going through it really meant.  reading your diary brought it home for me in a big way.  thank you for that.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 11:30:13 AM EST
Very, very good diary. I hope your flu does not turn into bronchitis and that you feel better soon.
by lychee on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 12:24:14 PM EST
Thanks for sharing...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 01:57:29 PM EST
Oh Izzy, what a touching story.  

My maternal grand-mother died of tuberculosis of the kidney when she was quite young and about 6 months after my mother was born.

Growing up, every child had to have a TB test every year and it was treated quite seriously.  

I too was angry with that SOB for exposing so many people to a potentially fatal disease so that he could have fun in the sun.

by zoe on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:03:30 PM EST
That's a tremendous story, Izzy, and I hope you really are feeling better today.

Strange how it takes me back. One of my grandmothers (the one who remained doggedly faithful to the Plymouth Brethren and took me to the Assembly whenever she could) died of TB. She stayed with us for months when she was ill. Not a word was spoken of TB. The children were allowed to be close to her, and I was particularly designated for the task of granny-sitting when my parents were out.

She lay on a couch, coughing and spitting blood, and, in answer to my silly questions (I was perhaps eleven, but so many things had been kept under a blanket of silence and proper appearances in the family, that there were questions that only began to occur to me then), sat up with her eyes blazing and called me a ninny because I didn't understand about the divorce and the other woman, the wicked woman, and who my grandfather really was, and finally all the bitterness of a life of disappointment and poverty that was coming to an end. My childhood certainly came to an end there and then.

After her death, they gave us children BCG shots. TB was never once mentioned.

Keep playing the flute, Izzy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:52:18 PM EST
by the number of ETers who have had TB or know someone close that has. It hits home how prevalent the disease was and how quickly it might come back.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 03:58:18 PM EST
hey Izzy, if you ever get tired of the flute, you might want to think about the harmonica.  It's easy to carry around and comes in very handy when you've got the blues or in jail.
by zoe on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 04:09:36 PM EST
I actually do play the harmonica, and for those very reasons!  My original goal was just to learn Nobody knows the trouble I've seen, just, y'know, cause I thought it would make me laugh if I could do that during tough times.  And it does.  I've learned a few other songs, too.  Oh, Susanna was surprisingly difficult.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 07:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try Ol' Zip Coon.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 03:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A very moving and beautifully written diary, Izzy. Thanks for giving it to us!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 05:04:33 PM EST
Thank you very much Izzy!  Take it easy and get well.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 07:19:02 PM EST
Thank you for this diary, Izzy. Really important subject, very rarely spoken of.
My father died two years ago, and I'm pretty sure it was from TB--but I don't know for sure.
Dad had athsma for many years, and it was easy to interpret his deteriorating condition to that- but after a series of medical crises in which the symptoms were compatible with TB, but the subject never came up, a young internist fresh out of a residency in a Columbus inner city hospital suggested that he should be tested, and sure enough, antibody levels were high. Then the strange parts began. His own doctor maintained that the test was a false positive, a result of some earlier exposure or other-- one that could never be found. Dad was happy to take that fig leaf, and wear it- as you point out, there are complex social stigma that make this a tough subject. I pushed for the longer, more definitive test, harder and harder as his condition deteriorated, but his doctor kept poo-pooing the whole thing, and giving him bronchodilators and the like. Finally I personally spoke with the young doctor, and it came out- carefully, and reluctantly- that it is a real hassle for a doctor who finds that he has been treating a TB case wrongly for a long time because of not only the potential for legal hassles, but the need to track down all the people who might have been exposed.
Dad was 82 when he died. I will never know for sure.
The young guy told me that it was probably too late anyway.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 10:18:15 PM EST
What a tragic story, geezer.  My condolences.  The doctor aspect of it had never even ocurred to me either.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2007 at 10:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot to mention that when my family went to South Africa, we got tested for TB on arrival. We all tested positive.

This episode is one of the reasons why I trust little that comes from the CDC. There are other reasons.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 01:00:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting Comments at MLW, where I now reside, on this subject.

Sorry to deprive you folks of my wisdom.

Think you really need some  reality checks over here.

But that is defininitely your problem, not mine.

Good Bye. Take care. Bonne Chance!

You can perhaps find the thread, if you search, over there.

The average European and their American allies are much too amusing for me.

In my case, for a person of the American Left to develop a visceral dislike of the European Left, in less than a year, a person, I might add, who has always liked the Europeans he has met(mostly Brits from London and the south of the country) is very strange.

As Drew Jones once wrote, I hope the Pentagon does not answer the phone next time. Big Ditto on that.

Please delete my account here.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 12:35:25 AM EST
What are you talking about and why are you saying it in this particular thread?  And if you're set on leaving, why bother with the comment?  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 12:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Izzy says, why choose this diary for a comment like this? It's a damn good diary that doesn't deserve to be hijacked like that.

You can get hold of one of the front pagers/administrators easily enough to get your account deleted.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 02:23:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wrote it because it needs to be written.

I helped nurse an aunt in 1958 when she was coughing, spewing all over the place, very close to her for a long while. Visited her at the sanatarium too.

I test positive for that antibody, probably even today, and I have never had TB. And I live today.

My aunt lived to her eighties, with help of altitude, diet and antibiotics.

Izzy lives too and is of whatever age.

The real question is the danger that this man posed.

How many people as a % of the world's population, have died of this new strain.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 02:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Accounts here cannot be deleted.

If you don't like it here, don't post. We'll all be better for lack of your blatant rudeness and incoherence.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 03:07:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps a little bit in the face, but hardly incoherent.

The fucking question that I asked stands.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 03:15:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your first comment had nothing to do with the topic of the diary at all. It was also aggressive towards this community.

Your second addressed TB by talking of your personal experience - like most commenters in the thread, since Izzy's diary was about her personal experience. You then suggested that was not important (being fairly rude to Izzy about it in passing) since what mattered was the TB man and the incidence of the new strain in the world's population.

If that's your "fucking question" then write a diary about it to show why it's more important than the central topic of this one.

I seriously believe you incapable of writing anything coherent longer than three or four sentences.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 03:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you count my sigee.

Only two sentences.

I am not a physician, epidemiologist or such.

Someone more well versed in medicine could perhaps

write about this. Subject worth contemplation.

Nothing I can write on this or on any other subject

makes any difference or changes anything, ever or at


Very sad, but that's the way it is.

Take Care All.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 04:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, I see you've been reading Sartre.  
by zoe on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 04:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know from your story that you can relate to what Izzy has gone through, so that isn't the issue that has raised your ire.

So there must be another issue here that we're in the dark about.  If you wouldn't mind elucidating that for us, you will have made your point and gotten something off your chest.    

by zoe on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 04:11:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it is not bitching about shit.

It's about changing things.

Too many think you change the world with a keyboard.

The internet could be used in many innovative ways  

to organize political action. Going on about it forever

with the keyboard is not what it's about.

Get people into the streets, sniff some gas, get hit on

the head with a riot baton. Use the net for mass letter

writing and organizing campaigns.

But please freaking stop talking about it if you are

doing nothing but that. It's boring, redundant, and


My short thoughts about it.

Take Care

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 04:42:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but talking leads to an exchange of ideas.  I've learned a lot from the people here.  Then, it's up to me what I do about it.  
by zoe on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 04:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

And I hope all the hot air that has been generated by all the combusting polysylabbles(fuck the spelling) and intellectual methane, will have the samovar hot the next time I come back for tea.

When the revolution comes.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 05:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by zoe on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 05:25:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have set up my fainting couch and effects close by the gare de sud, in rapt anticipation.

Expect Godot any monemt.

Will report when he arrives.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 05:35:49 AM EST
We'll also let you know when your rioting produces any effect, if you're actually doing any (other than from behind your keyboard).


by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 07:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afew, you're a riot.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 07:39:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Jaw jaw better than war war"

Winston Churchill

by zoe on Tue Jun 5th, 2007 at 07:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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