Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On consumption and melancholia...

There was a time, not too long ago, when having a cold actually meant something. But like most other things modern, antibiotics had to descend upon us and steal the romanticism out of everything. These days, we’re merely expected to pop an Augmentin and drudge about as if everything is fine, no matter how stuffed our sinuses may be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as thankful to Alexander Fleming as the next person. Nor do I bemoan the practices of modern medicine and the swift recoveries afforded by them. But really, consider what we have lost. Gone are the days of feverish confinements, of people waiting on you hand and foot by day, and praying for a miracle by night. Never again will there be messengers despatched urgently in the rain to fetch doctors, or joyful exclamations at the announcement, “The fever has broken.” Worst of all, no long recuperative trips to the countryside, or to Europe.

Then there’s the whole issue of medical etymology. There’s just something so quaint about the term ‘invalid’, and ‘consumption’ sounds so much better than ‘tuberculosis’. ‘St Vitus’ Dance’ is so much more magical than ‘chorea’; ‘chorea’ has drab connotations, and personally, reminds me of something sick and green. Likewise, ‘melancholia’ has a fancy ring to it, like having it makes you special, in comparison to plain old ‘depression’.

Roll your eyes all you want, but all I decry is the death of romance. Really, must we be so mundane?


  1. Umm Hanan, which era were you born in again? :P

  2. watch/read wuthering heights or pride and prejudice, and ull see what i mean :p

  3. more to the point, sense and sensibility..:P

  4. Yea I got where you got the idea from but I wouldn't know, I never read any novel except for the short Oxford versions. :P

  5. well, the only Jane austen I've read is pride and prejudice...but other novels set in the same era and even later reflect the same attitude toward disease...the 'anne' series being a good example, which im sure u havnt even heard of..:p