You might consider yourself in good health, but you’re probably just uninformed. With the range of conditions, deficiencies and disorders available to us spreading like blood on a tissue, the odds that you really are well must be diminishing.
If you haven’t even found a puny food intolerance to call your own, you could be letting developments in the health and wellbeing industry pass you by.
Anxiety, tiredness and bloating can no longer be dismissed as part of our human condition, although that is chronic. They are symptoms in search of a diagnosis.
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Love can free us from the pain of life, Sophocles argued. But people like Raylee and John would disagree.
John painted houses until his back gave way. Facing $12,000 health bills even on private health insurance, Raylee wrote to me about her husband in despair. No one wants to be dosed up on everything the pharmaceutical the world can offer. John has no choice; the relentless and gnawing neuropathic pain now consumes a third of his Workcover payment.
Nearly one in three Australians live with some form of chronic pain with just 20 per cent of these satisfied with their pain management. Along the spectrum of pain, the worst of the worst is neuropathic pain. It has driven some to suicide, yet there is not a single drug specifically designed to treat this kind of pain funded on the PBS. It’s pain from a limb which is no longer there. It’s the pain after shingles where even a zephyr of wind or the brush of a garment can elicit electric shocks. No pain is nastier than when one’s neurological system turns on itself.
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I was number three. But by 10.30, I was at the top of the list and so was wheeled out of the ward and into a special waiting bay. The waiting bay was in a corner and I had been placed facing the wall - like a recalcitrant student. So there I lay, freezing my relatively exposed ass off in a shitty hospital gown. Wondering why, after nearly a decade of spirited resistance, I had accepted my dentist’s advice to get my wisdom teeth out.
Denied a view, I began to listen to the workaday sounds around me. Behind me I could hear nurses, encouragingly asking after each other’s flu recovery. But the aural landscape was dominated by what seemed to be some kind of building works – a concrete drill perhaps, interspersed with staccato bursts of chiseling.
Prone to episodes of extreme self-absorption, this seemed a useful reminder that, although I lay in rigid anticipation of the extraction, the rest of the world had not in fact stopped, rather, it was getting about its business.
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Nicole Kidman has welcomed a new biological daughter via a ‘gestational carrier’, Princess Mary had her twins in a natural, four-hour birth and Miranda Kerr released a statement that she gave birth to her 9 lbs., 12 oz., baby in a long, arduous and difficult labour ‘naturally, without drugs or painkillers!!!’.
As a mum of three who has been through labour twice, I fully appreciate Miranda’s use of three exclamation marks to describe her drug-free birth.
Gosh, I give myself three for enduring it with drugs and scramble to find enough punctuation to describe the caesarean. One way you can’t sit down. The other way you can’t stand up.
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