Sorry! We Zoned-Out on the Zombies

Happy Monday to all our Word on Health readers.  We’re so glad you survived the May 21st doomsday, doubly so, as we completely neglected to cover last weeks CDC advisory, telling you how to prepare.

Even though the immediate danger appears to have passed, in the event the next TV evangelist is more successful with their end-of-the-world predictions, we want to make sure you’re ready.

The agency’s guidance on how to handle a zombie apocalypse certainly makes more interesting reading than their traditional instructions on how to prepare for Tsunamis, Terrorist Attacks and Plague.

Keep plenty of food and water on hand, plus of course duct tape. Lot’s and lot’s of duct tape! Additionally, they advise keeping a copy of your birth certificate in your emergency kit.  Great advice – we certainly wouldn’t want to be unprepared for a presidential run in a post-apocalyptic world!

CDC also recommends stocking up on household bleach and soap. We’re not sure if that’s to ward off the zombies or to ensure we’re clean before they eat us.  Either way, we’re thinking of substituting these items with wine and chocolate. Not even oblivion can be that bad after wine and chocolate.  And just in case we do survive, our emergency kit will include a TIVO player or two to ensure we don’t miss the final few Oprah shows.

What would be in your emergency kit? Send us your comments and let’s start a thread.

And if you’re not reading this because zombies have already attacked your neighborhood, we apologize for the inconvenience.

Columbus Day Musings

Those of us lucky enough to have vacation to mark Columbus Day may have time to think about the explorer who is widely credited with having discovered and colonized the Americas.  Here at Word on Health, we’ve been wondering which of the many nasty medieval diseases did Christopher Columbus suffer from?

According to most historians it wasn’t the usual suspects: plague, dysentery, typhoid or ergotism.

Until recently, most attributed his death, at the age of 55 to complications of gout.  However, new evidence from Dr. Antonio Rodriguez Cuartero, a professor at the University of Granada, paints a different picture.  After studying Columbus’ family history, personal diaries and the letters penned by Columbus’ son, the professor contends that all signs point to Reiter’s syndrome.

All sources seem to agree that during his later years, Columbus became increasingly incapacitated by pain in his joints, painful urination and bleeding from his eye.  One cannot blame the leech-applying physicians of his day, for attributing these symptoms to gout.  More than 500 years later we still don’t know much about Reiter’s syndrome, or “reactive arthritis’ as it is also known.

Some people think that it involves the immune system, which is “reacting” to the presence of bacterial infections in the genital, urinary or gastrointestinal systems, but the exact cause remains unknown.

Complications of Reiter’s include aortic insufficiency, left-sided heart failure, pulmonary edema and endocarditis, which may give further credibility to Cuartero’s theory that Columbus died of a heart attack.

Whatever the reason, we say Rest in Peace Christopher & Happy Columbus Day to all our readers!