Home > diary, health, science > Why I look to the future

Why I look to the future

When I ask ‘where would you want to go if you had a time machine’, more people choose some place/time in the past than in the future. Usually, these are times of great mystery (e.g. when dinosaurs became extinct), times of great culture (e.g. the Maurya or mid-Mughal dynasties in India), or times of great rulers (e.g. Cleopatra or Elizabeth I).

I would’ve been one of those people (with more imaginative choices, of course :-)) until 2006. Because that year, I got a severe, and misdiagnosed, case of tuberculosis. And I wouldn’t’ve survived it but for modern medicine, invented/discovered barely one hundred years ago.

Of course, death by TB would’ve put me in some seriously exalted company*, the likes of which I likely wouldn’t get access to now in my ‘survivor’ state, but hey, I’ll take this option. As it was, I recovered from the physical health issues and the multiple surgeries, but as I was warned, I went through a long, long convalescence including depression and dependence.

So, on this World Tuberculosis Day, I’d like to celebrate the scientists who discovered the drugs and the treatment, the doctors who save lives every day, the social workers and policy-drafters who went after TB with a vengance, the public health professionals who implement these rules, and the many, many medical professionals who treated me, and to P who ‘saved me in every way a person can be saved’: Thank you.

And to those in the US, congratulations on this: “The latest national surveillance data show that tuberculosis (TB) rates reached an all-time low in the United States in 2008.”.

But we still have a long, long way to go, because TB may soon become a bigger problem than HIV. I have no option but to look to the future, and hope for the best.


* Apparently including: King Tutankhamen, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Bronte, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vivien Leigh….

Categories: diary, health, science
  1. auntie_biotic
    March 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Your story is very very heartwarming and I would love to post it or at least a link to it no my site as it may inspire others.I however was at the other end of the spectrum. My tb was misdiagnosed. I actually never had it. Now for the first time in 9 years I have gone to see my new doctor with a what I presume is a chest cold and because my records have not been read properly. Im being sent for tests in case my tb has reactived!My story of misdiagnosis is on the site I made to keep others informed at http://tbandu.freehostia.com/aboutme.html .This time tho im starting my own blog at http://tuberculosisandme.blogspot.com/and this time I’ll be making sure they dont make the same mistake!!!auntie_biotic

  2. Chevalier
    March 23, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you, auntie_biotic, for stopping by. I loved your very extensive site – you had to have put in hours and hours to get that up. Your story is horrifying – it’s great that you went ahead and sought second, third, and sixteenth opinions in time. Kudos.As for me, I was told by the doctors at the US government agency ‘on oath on my fifteen years of experience’ that I did NOT have TB, simply because I had the extra-pulmonary version of it, which doesn’t show up in sputum tests. Considering that a significant number of all TB cases (about 25%) start out as extra-pulmonary, they were woefully unprepared. I ended up needing many surgeries including one on my heart, all because of the ‘absolute certainty’ of those guys. And the best part – after I was diagnosed, the government agency swooped down to question me for days and days while I was in hospital, and test EVERY person close to me – despite my doctors’ assurances that I was NOT infectious, because my TB wasn’t lung-oriented. Sheesh.

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