I have often thought it would have been profitable for me to go to medical school. But I really have problems looking at (or smelling) blood, and I have a deep, bone-marrow level physical sort of empathy for seeing or hearing about kids who biff onto concrete, so I would be a horrible doctor. But, wow, a little more anatomy and pharmacology know-how would be helpful.
Last week I used an illustration of nerve pain, and that caused Mo to say, “Hey, you could do a whole series of confession exhortations riffing off medical problems.” And I thought, that sounds fun. So I’ll continue with one of her problems.
She has a genetic defect named after two late 19th century dermatologists who identified it, Edvard Ehlers and Henri-Alexandre Danlos, so Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS. It is a connective tissue disorder, affecting skin and joints and blood vessel walls. Depending on the type of EDS, you might be extra bendy (hypermobile), or your blood vessels could burst (vascular).
The symptoms can become debilitating and excruciating (while the vascular type is life-threatening), especially if there is a time of sickness or injury. While the muscles are strong enough they compensate for poor collagen in the ligaments, but if the muscles become weak, the joint ligaments can’t do their jobs, and things easily get out of place. Anywhere there is a joint, there’s a possible dislocation, or subluxation which is a slight misalignment of the vertebrae. Of course that causes numbness, tingling, swelling, debilitation, pain, headaches/migraines. EDS is not currently curable. It’s a managing game, and building up what can be strengthened.
Every time I read the following passages I think about the things we’ve learned about EDS.
[Christ], from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:16 ESV)
Christ, who is the Head, has joined us with joints, With His blessing they work properly. Sin weakens the connections and dislocates the members from one another. It’s bad all over when the joints aren’t doing their job.
This five-minute video from December gives some testimonies of what it’s like living with EDS. And here is a page with some more descriptions about EDS and the history of its diagnosis.