Saturday, January 17, 2009

In which I wonder if I missed my calling, or...

So the other night I was hanging out and watching what I call "unnecessary television"--basically, if I won't be upset for missing it, it's unnecessary to me, no matter how intriguing it is. The show in question was Mystery Diagnosis. On this episode, a woman had been suffering severe wheezing and was unable to catch her breath. She saw various doctors, and was put in the hospital a couple of times also. Her symptoms were like a disorder that is common in people who work on farms and so on, but she didn't have that as a risk factor.
As soon as I heard the symptoms, I said to myself "Black mold. Check the house."
But I'd missed the beginning, so I decided to hang in there, while successive doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, or why her symptoms worsened so much after she improved and went home.
You can see where I'm going with this, can't you?
Four months later, FOUR MONTHS, they did some lung tissue tests and found it was full of growing things.
For example, mold.
They finally found in her home (which shares a wall with another, hello!) that the neighbors had had a water problem which put mold in the walls, which were right next to the couch where this woman parked herself.
At the end, I couldn't help thinking--well, duh. Now, maybe I watch too much House, but I think the first thing I'd have done with this woman, as a diagnostician, is go swab some of her walls or something. Obviously, there were other possibilities besides mold, and the family wasn't sick. But all you have to do is have allergies or hypersensitivity and the latter factor is obliterated. I'm not a genius, but I thought it was weird that I solved this woman's case in five minutes and it took them months. They sensed at the very beginning that the condition was environmental, but they didn't take the steps to investigate, just dismissed the idea because it didn't fit the common risk factors (like farming).
I guess I was really surprised that mold was never on the table as a possibility. It can be so dangerous, and completely shut down your system if it starts growing in your lungs. And, worst of all, you might not know it's there, because it's inside the walls; that these doctors missed that factor to me is just silly. On the upside, hopefully people saw the episode and will remember it if their friends and family ever have similar symptoms.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder when her case happened in real life. Mold issues have only been on the public's radar for...maybe five years now? Mold may not have been as big and clear a problem to medical eyes in years past, either. But if hers was a fairly recent case, then yeah, it was dumb of the docs and the woman not to suspect something in her home environment. Mold can happen lots of places, esp. in newer weathertight homes that don't release humidity well. Sure, they hold in heat, but also moisture.

-SECP, who spent too much time in real estate