I’m fascinated by disease, illness, plagues, and their effect worldwide. Maybe it’s because diseases can be an equalizer: you might be the healthiest Heidi on the mountainside, have great access to medical care (and goats milk, and cheese, and bread, and a gruff-yet-loving Grandpa), and you still might fall victim to the same illness that kills a less-privileged person, or one that skips the old and infirm and strikes the healthy young. Viruses and bacteria thrive alongside us, with or without us. When I wrote about my made-up Leech virus, I thought about intensifying that inescapable bond.
Similarly I wondered what would happen if, after a global plague killed off a large chunk of the human race, the survivors all had to deal with a universal chronic disease requiring a form of health maintenance, or maintenance medication. Some of these wonderings come from my own experiences with chronic disease and navigation of the current U.S. health system, so I hope I haven’t come across as too jaded.
And now, here are some links to pestilent reading and watching, to get you in the mood for sickness, sores, and coughs:
The Plagues That Might Have Brought Down the Roman Empire (from the Atlantic)
Here’s a documentary about tuberculosis from American Experience, The Forgotten Plague. I can’t find an embed link on there, so you can watch it on their site or see this version from youtube:
And if you want to gorge on cheese, bread, and naive sweetness, here’s freaking Heidi starring Shirley Temple: