You ever realized that, despite all the incredible, complex things human kind has discovered and invented, the simplest aspects of our world still evade us. We know more about the universe than we do about the deaths of our own oceans. How crazy is that?
Only recently have I come to expect that some of the simple things shouldn’t be so far out of reach. When I was a child, I accepted there were things beyond understanding. Some things just were, and that was all the reason I needed.
Take the chicken pox, for instance. When I was a kid, there was no vaccine. I remember in second grade, when I looked at my stomach in the bathroom and noticed a handful of spots. Confused, I asked my teacher for help and soon found myself sent home.
The red, itchy spots were manageable with cream. I had no other symptoms and felt just fine for the most part. To me, getting the chicken pox was like a short vacation from school. My grandmother bought me a gymnastics doll I could control with a remote. I watched Sailor Moon and Inspector Gadget, two shows I never got to watch due to the hour bus ride I had to take home most days.
Never did it cross my mind to question why there wasn’t some kind of cure. I don’t think I had a complete understanding of what it really meant to be sick. Obviously, I knew when I felt ill. I could use the word sick and apply it to situations where my body felt compromised. Understanding the biological mechanisms which resulted in my ill feelings or the science behind the medications that relieved me of my discomfort were beyond me. I didn’t even know enough to know what questions to ask.
Recent events, which I largely blame on the stress of being laid off and Mother Nature’s wrath, have brought up these questions for me again. Nothing is more disappointed than sitting with a doctor as they explain the WebMD article they just pulled up on your diagnosis. After clarifying exactly what you have, they proceed to tell you there is nothing they can do. There is no treatment, only six to eight weeks of time, after which the condition hopefully goes away.
I don’t remember if I ever went to a doctor when I had the chicken pox in second grade. If I did, I’m sure their reaction was much the same. “You’ll just have to wait it out; here’s some cream for the itching.” When I was two, I just accepted that. At 24, that’s just ridiculous . This isn’t brain surgery, coming scientists! Cut a girl some slack.
Well, the doctor seemed to have faith in the internet seeing as they were giving me a diagnosis based off of a website. I figure I can put my faith there as well. Allegedly, this thing that has the scientists stumped can be cured by taking lukewarm showers and using clinical strength anti-dandruff shampoo as body wash. I’m not sure if it’s for the itch or part of the cure, but it was also suggested said shower should be followed by Cortizone 10 Intensive Healing Formula.
Also, I’m supposed to avoid sweating but also get a tan. Thanks internet!
If this works, I declare this universe to be the most randomly fascinating place to ever exist. It’s a place where we can create unmanned space craft, shoot it to the very outer limits of our galaxy and still communicate it, and still can’t figure out why the placebo effect works.
All this craziness is why I love to ask big questions. With all humankind has learned, it’s easy to think we are in control. Asking hard questions of ourselves is how we keep ourselves humble and how we realize just how much farther we have to go.
Maybe this is karma, then. I’ve done my fair share of research on health. While my fitness has unfortunately fallen off the radar for the moment, I still do my best to eat well. I try very hard to be healthy and I’ve always felt like I was in control. When my body became weak, I knew it was because of poor choices I made and when it was strong, I knew it was because of great choices I made. But this? This is a question mark. No one has a clue what causes it. No one, outside of theorist on the internet, knows how to treat it.
I have been humbled by the realization that, no matter how much I know about health, no matter how closely I follow the latest science and research, there will always be something I don’t know. There will always be something those scientists can’t figure out. As such, while I may be able to improve my quality of life and reduce my chances of physical misfortune, I am not in control.
None of us are ever in complete control.
Have you ever gotten an illness/condition for which there was no treatment and you just had to ride the wave? Do the things that science can’t figure out ever baffle you? How can we know more about outer space than we do our own oceans? How can we know how to perform a triple bypass surgery and not understand why the placebo effect works?