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November 27, 2012

Sick Is the New Black


Photo Credit: Tom Hines

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Other factors have contributed to the growing number of women making knee-jerk visits to their doctors. Among them: cable news virus-mongering. Though antibiotic-resistant MRSA, mad cow disease, swine flu, bird flu, and SARS are extremely rare and affect only a tiny speck of the U.S. population (you have better odds of winning the Powerball while on a date with Ryan Gosling than contracting any one of these oddball maladies), the constant, blaring coverage of these “pandemics” no doubt heightens the hysteria that your cough isn’t really just a cough. In early September, I caught an episode of Katie Couric’s new talk show featuring 24-year-old all-American beauty Aimee Copeland, who, over the span of two weeks, was rendered a quadruple amputee by a flesh- eating virus. Trust me, after seeing something like that, I certainly wouldn’t cast aspersions on anyone who ran to the doctor with a particularly gruesome nick incurred while shaving.

But in my coworker Kate’s case, I suspect that the real driving force behind her incessant doctor visits was deeply personal. Here was a woman who believed she was extraordinary in every sense of the word: always the first one in the office and the last to leave; the first to volunteer on any and all projects; a type A workaholic who, in her mind at least, had already redecorated the corner office she fully expected to one day occupy. And so it was with her body: Even her ailments couldn’t be ordinary.

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