Monday, September 12, 2016

Hillary's Not the Only One to Go From Seasonal Allergies to Pneumonia

Seasonal allergies. Then pneumonia. You might think I’m referring to Hillary Clinton’s recent medical history accentuated by her stumble as she tried unsuccessfully to depart gracefully from Sunday’s 9/11 commemoration ceremonies at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

Actually, I was referring to Gilda’s condition in September 1970. We had been dating for a little more than six months when summer arrived. We each chose to counselor at different sleepaway camps. Gilda came home early with pneumonia triggered by what we later learned were seasonal allergies. One benefit—at 21-years-old she finally learned to swallow pills under threat of intravenous hospitalization.

For several late summers after that she would get sick, sometimes developing pneumonia. After we married in 1973 and moved to Connecticut our internist explained she had seasonal allergies. To avoid their blossoming into pneumonia she needed to be alert every day from late August-early September and diligently take an antihistamine at the first sign of itchy eyes. Since then she hasn’t had pneumonia.

And since that first summer of pneumonia we haven’t been apart for July and August for 46 years.

Hillary’s Real Stumble: Will there be political fallout from Hillary’s illness? I doubt it will diminish support from those already committed to her. 

Trumpsters, on the other hand, will just add this setback to their long list of anti-Hillary screeds. 

For non committed voters the decision might well depend on their differentiation between a physical illness and the mental stability of Donald Trump. He has given ample evidence of being unfit psychologically, temperamentally, and intellectually for the office of president. 

But there persists in this country a level of non belief in the debilitating impact of mental illness. Just ask the many veterans who suffer from PTSD how difficult an adjustment their family, peers and work associates have had in accepting their condition. So Trump might get a pass despite his unstable behavior.

When Hillary suffered through a coughing bout last week I joked to friends that we could expect a tweet from a Trumpster or from the man himself that she was afflicted with consumption. I wasn’t too far off in my diagnosis though I didn’t hear or see any such missive.

As usual, the coverup got Clinton in more hot water than the truth. No one except Trump and his Trumpsters expects her to be superwoman. She is human. But her failure to accept human frailty cost her credibility points, points of which she already has too few to spare.

When she gets back on the campaign trail, Clinton needs to humanize herself. Real people—not the moneybags she hobnobs with to finance this election—need to see her, speak with her, get spoken to, about their real concerns. Jobs. Healthcare. Wages. Homeland security. Social security. Personal safety. Discrimination. Climate change. 

As long as we’re on a medical theme, injuries from youth soccer figured in a 25-year study published in the most recent issue of Pediatrics. The magazine reported that injuries more than doubled over the course of the study, with head injuries climbing an astounding 1,596%.

Every day more than 300 kids visit emergency rooms with soccer-related injuries. Strains and sprains account for 35% of the trauma, 23% come in with broken bones.

Which brings me to the Forseter connection, specifically Dan Forseter’s time in youth soccer. Dan played on a travel all-star soccer team from the age of nine. As the goalkeeper he would fling his body towards the ball, even running headlong into any advancing forward. He did not give up goals lightly. One weekend tournament he played four games before the coaches noticed his left wrist was a little wobbly. Shuffled off to the local emergency room, he came back with a cast on his fractured wrist. 

For the record, this happened before 1990, so Dan was not part of the Pediatrics study.