Well, our family's been pretty lucky so far when it comes to the old saying (knock on wood). But we've been there. I remember 2008, albeit not very fondly, when daughter JC broke her leg in April and son JF was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November. That was some heavy rain.
I can't help but think about this in the bigger picture though.
It started when another family we know, who also has a T1D son, thought their daughter might have celiac disease. Now celiac and T1D are both auto-immune disorders, so it's not unheard of that they can both occur in the same child or same family. But the irony is that a discussion aobut celiac came up at work this week, too.
As I mentioned before, I'm one of two staffers that handles all things related to worship at our church, and we've been considering the need for a "low-gluten" communion wafer to be available for our community. We discovered that celiac, in varying degrees of severity, affects roughly 1 in 150 people, depending on the source you're reading. But still... that's more common than T1D (about 1 in 600), which I thought was pretty remarkable.
Then I started to think about other problems... how many people I know personally that are battling cancer and the scores more I hear about on our prayer chain... how many people I hear about suffering from dementia or full-blown Alzheimer's... the people I know or hear about with psychological problems like ADHD or bipolar disorder... the list goes on and on.
And it makes me wonder... are all these things becoming so widespread, or is it just that we hear about it more, and we're generally more aware? (I liken it to a discussion I had with a friend some time ago... whether cohabitation and pre-marital sex really didn't happen 50 years ago, or if it only seemed that way because nobody dared talk about it.)
But consider... our medical technology is so advanced that now we can identify and treat things like never before. It used to be that you just dropped dead and nobody knew why, you were senile, or you just didn't know how to apply yourself. But now, we know what these things are, and can find them earlier.
I think we're more open about our personal lives now, too. I'm sure most of us can recall something as we were growing up that the entire family just rather ignore than discuss with anybody, including other family members. (I remember my uncle's "roommate" always coming to family events when I was growing up... uh-huh... sure...) Even our medical maladies are not the "top secret" personal information like we used to treat them.
And if we are generally more open with other people, then modern communication has made it so we can talk about things faster and with even more people. Consider the Diabetes Online Community that wife D is a part of. Like we would have ever found so many friends from coast to coast who are going through the same things we are if not for Facebook and Blogger!
I really do hope that all this really is just an increase in awareness, coupled with an increased willingness and ability to communicate... because the alternative is kinda scary. It would mean that, as a whole, our bodies are deteriorating at an astonishing rate, and that it is continuing to get worse.
But I'll choose to believe otherwise... and should I be proven wrong, then I'll hope that the same technology and ingenuity that give us the awareness of these things will help us make it through the rain.