20 June 2008


Hadrons are composites; hadrons are constituents of hadrons; and hadrons are a binding force between hadrons (based on the conception of a force between two particles as an exchange of other particles; in this case the exchanged particles are conceived to be hadrons); the name "bootstrap" is derived from this picture of a set of hadrons which generates itself, that is, "pulls itself up by the bootstrap."

-Sal Restivo
The Social Relations of Physics, Mysticism, and Mathematics

Over the course of this week I have officially entered a nebulous realm of the medical world; I, for the time being, defy diagnosis, though remain subject to easy hypothesis. On Wednesday I at last had my appointment with an endocrinologist, and once again the test results thus far do not, as we had been hoping, point to a particular explanation – though more tests have been ordered, more blood drawn. All of this is to be expected I suppose; intellectually I know, by this point, that it is unlikely that some diagnostic white knight shall be riding in through the doorway of exam room #2. The problem is, at least for me at the moment, that each doctor I have encountered thus far has, at some point or another suggested to me – usually right after we discuss my current medication list – that my symptoms may be being caused by depression and anxiety, things, dear reader, I don't mind confessing that I have been under treatment for – on and off – for the past fifteen years. Actually, the previous statement is not entirely true; not every doctor has suggested this. The one hold-out is my psychiatrist who resolutely contends that this is not depression, that the symptoms do not in any way correlate to my historic manifestations, that, seeing as I have not felt particularly depressed or anxious – especially not before the onset of these symptoms – it seems exceptionally unlikely. But this, dear reader is the problem: each and every other doctor, once they find that I have a history of depression and anxiety disorder, and lacking any immediately evident organic explanation, are quite willing to slough off my symptoms as psychological manifestations – though Bridget, at least, seems to have largely moved past this phase. Thus, my growing medical team leaves me with a conundrum to contemplate: that my symptoms may indeed be stemming from depression and anxiety that has only recently come up – just a little – as a result of the symptoms that the depression and anxiety are purportedly causing. Put another way, the anxiety that my continuing illness is causing is the cause of the illness that preceded it. Hence, I have moved on to hadronic illness and may need to make a choice between the Institute of Advanced Study or the Mayo Clinic some number of months down the line.



Blogger Dr. S said...

The New York Times does a feature (always in the Magazine, I think) on a doctor's experiences diagnosing impossible-seeming symptoms. I want to say that "psychological effects" are always offered (always wrongly) as the cause of the symptoms at hand, and then the cause is always found through some strange thing that the patient knew all along but that doctors wouldn't listen to. Keep advocating for yourself, I say.

6/21/2008 8:11 AM  
Blogger four inches of ego said...


We shall be, because the possibility of me being a hadron is simply unacceptable.

6/21/2008 8:32 AM  
Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

I agree with Dr. S -- your experiences don't sound remotely psychosomatic to me. Just to be sure, have your doctors considered postprandial hypotension (apparently not uncommon in the elderly) and reactive hypoglycemia?

6/21/2008 10:51 PM  

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