Letter from the Editor: Inherited insides and outsides

2013-04-16T00:00:00Z Letter from the Editor: Inherited insides and outsidesKathleen Dorsey nwitimes.com
April 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As I often say, my outsides may be all Dorsey, but my insides are all Valandingham. (Valandingham being my grandmother's maiden name.)

I say this because although I look very much like my dad's side of the family, all the little inexplicable twinges, aches and pains that I experience are familiar to me not from personal experience, but because I've listened to the women on my mother's side of the family and their various health complaints for my entire life.

Every one of us gets these terrible weather-related migraine headaches. As soon as spring weather rolls in, we'd like nothing better than to curl up in a ball with a blindfold and some earmuffs to block out external stimuli. And sure enough, it just kicked in for me this week.

We all have, it seems to me, extremely squeaky digestive systems, to the point that occasionally the stomach growls can be heard across the room. I'm not sure what that means, but it doesn't seem normal.

Even a strange little thing that happens when I drink wine I can trace back through my family. Somehow, drinking certain things makes the glands at my jaw joint ache. If this is a diagnosable ailment, I don't know about it; the only people who suffer from it, to my knowledge, are related to me on the matrilineal side.

My grandma and I had the same type of feet. Long, narrow and possibly functional as water skis should the strap-on kind fail. These, of course, come with abysmally weak ankles—not great for someone who wants to spend 3 nights a week skating, but I do my best.

Another development that seems to manifest as the Valandingham women get older is the inevitability of tailbone problems. I don't have it yet, but going by the track record, I'm certain I will.

Despite all these inherited issues, or non-issues, in putting this issue together, I have learned that there are things I can do to possibly change my destiny. Like paying attention to my spinal health before it's too late.

I also didn't know that there were so many gender-specific issues with orthopedic ailments. Medicine is not a one-size-fits-all affair, and it is reassuring to know that these specialists are looking out for the individual needs of their patients.

Another inspiring story involved Alan Nelson, an employee at Franciscan Omni Health in Chesterton, who was given first aid by his coworkers when he experienced a heart attack at the club. You can never underestimate the benefit of knowing CPR and having the right equipment nearby.

And finally, it seems that the more you take care of your skin, the more it will take care of you. This is particularly important as we move into the summer season and head out to the beaches. Sunscreen and protective moisture creams can do you a world of good in the long run.

In conclusion, while some things that happen to our bodies may be inevitable, others can be easily prevented. Let's do our best to take care of the health we have today.

Kathleen Dorsey

Managing Editor

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