If one is familiar with history at all, they would open the day with a prayer of gratitude for indoor plumbing.
That's just the tip of the iceberg! You know all those romantic and swoony tales of Austen and Bronte? If the hero or heroine gets caught in a little rain, poof—they're dead.
|Marianne Dashwood near death after getting caught in the rain|
If, by some miracle, our protagonists make it to the altar, keep your fingers crossed they survive childbirth. One never knew when a delivery could go wrong—the first, the tenth, it made no difference. Today we fret over pain; then they fretted over having their affairs in order.
And when mommy survived, there was no guarantee her baby would, though. Okay, he makes it to the next day . . . maybe to age three . . . yes, age ten! Oh no, smallpox! Or scarlet fever. Or an infected scratch. There were a multitude of mortal options available.
|Ross Poldark carrying his daughter's coffin|
I THANK THE DEAR LORD that I was born in this era, where such illnesses are but a distant memory, that I can get wet in rain and not sign my death warrant.
In recent years, there has been further progress. Gina Kolata expounds on the phenomenon of dropping rates of certain diseases ("A Medical Mystery of the Best Kind: Major Diseases Are in Decline")—and here's the kicker: experts have no idea why.
Fascinatingly, this is not the first time diseases have declined for unknown reasons. Stomach cancer used to be the big bad wolf, then no more. TB was a major killer. Why they faded is still a "happy mystery."
This sort of information always cheers me. No offense to the medical field, but I'm rather scared of you people. You are, after all, human, and can as easily misdiagnose as correctly diagnose. Without conscious effort, many ailments have ceased their threat.
I like knowing that it is not up to man's control.