Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Jaundiced Viewpoint


"Jaundice" is one of those great words, that the average Twenty-First Century American doesn't get much chance to use. It comes from the French word for yellow, and describes the astonishing change in skin and eye color that results from increased bile levels in the blood, due to liver disease, as well as the (incorrect) idea that a person with jaundiced eyes would see everything through a distorting haze of yellow.

Apparently, jaundice manifests top-to-bottom, starting at the head and ending with the feet. And it clears up in reverse order. How odd. Years ago, when we lived in Dallas, Robb's physician noticed that the skin on the bottoms of his feet were a bit yellow. Robb didn't have jaundice. He had access to loads of cheap tasty mangoes, which are rich in beta-carotene, and really can turn your skin yellow. I had a college room mate who tried to do this on purpose by eating huge amounts of carrots. Ah....those crazy art school days....

adj 1: (archaic) showing or experiencing a state of disordered
feeling or distorted judgment as through bitterness or
melancholy; "all looks yellow to the jaundiced
eye"-Alexander Pope [syn: yellow]
2: affected by jaundice which causes yellowing of skin etc
[syn: yellow]
3: showing or affected by prejudice or envy or distaste;
"looked with a jaundiced eye on the growth of
regimentation"; "takes a jaundiced view of societies and

Luckily, I have not (yet) been stricken with jaundice. I do feel really dreadful, due to the symptoms of Hepatitis A, but all things considered, I'm doing pretty well.

My general good health surely has a lot to do with this. I'm physically active, slim, and I eat a generally low-fat vegetarian diet. I hardly drink at all, and I don't use recreational drugs. I don't eat fast food, and thanks to the organic veggies that get delivered to our door every week, I eat a wonderfully varied diet of fresh produce.

I'm also lucky to live in a part of the country with a great public health system. My new best friend is my contact at the department of health. I'm a bit of a mystery, because nobody can figure out when I initially developed symptom of Hepatitis A. The first week I was working with the oiled birds, I was suffering from terrible nausea, which at the time I attributed to car sickness (something I've never had). This pre-dated avian contact, and besides, Hepatitis A isn't transmitted through animal contact. I was spry and healthy until last week, when I started to feel nauseous all the time.

So, either I'm suffering from an on-again-off-again version of the virus, or the week of nausea in November was a fluke, and I'm just starting to get the virus, which means that I could be in for a lot more symptoms.

The onset date is important, because I'm most contagious during the first two weeks that I manifest symptoms. If I'm still in that period, Robb should get an emergency immunization, but if that time has past, it is too late. We're waiting to hear from Robb's doctor, because all the drugs he takes already put a lot of stress on his liver.

I'm coming to realize that I may need to cut back on my working hours, because being stubborn and "pushing through" my symptoms is really stupid. I hope I can work half days until I feel better.


Anonymous said...

Ya know, I think you should re-title this blog-

"Our Freaky Bodies".

You've got God knows what crawling through your system, and Robb has learned how to ride a recumbant bike the hard way.

Just get as much rest as you can, and try to eat healthy. Of course, you perhaps got this disease from too much paint exposure, which is why you are turning Yellow! That makes the most sense to me. You haven't developed a unique activity at work where you guzzle paint, eh?

I myself would like to turn a beautiful shade of teal, if I get to choose a color. Not the typical green or grey like those common Space Aliens, but a beautiful distinctive blue-green. Plus, I would match the car.

I really hope Robb hasn't also gotten what you have, but it's either-

1- inevitable from your close contact.

2- maybe his own body and meds would have fought off the disease if he got it.

3- maybe he has it as well if you guys ate at the same place but his body is still stoked from the bike ride and refused to show it.

Gee, the non-stop vomiting could also mean you are preggers. Hm, life just doesnt need to get any more complicated, eh? Cross yer fingers.

Drinking a lot of tea is extremely good for your system AND your liver, I think. Stick to green tea if your doctor recommends it's ok.


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Well, thankfully, I just *feel* like vomiting all the time, but I'm not following through on those impulses.

And, no, I'm not preggers.

I don't see how Robb is going to avoid getting Hep A.

Anonymous said...

Of course we don't wish you anymore illness, but it is a sort of shame that you aren't jaundiced. Being the art-oriented person that you are, yellow would be such an interesting challenge for your skin tone. Would you color-coordinate your clothing? Might you select food that would look good next to yellow skin? How could you enhance the migrating yellow as it moved from head to foot then faded in reverse. You could actually be a walking, talking example of unintentional performance art!!

Grumpy Grinch

Kim said...

lol grumpy grinch!!!

//Robb, hope u haven't got this, shall i ship u lots of green tea too?

colormecynical said...

do you think it might have come from the tasty organic food shipped to you every week? I would hate to blame your lifestyle for it, but its a logical conclusion if you figure most organic produce is manure-fertilized. who knows what gross humans work in the fertilizer industry?


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