This latest Hillary flap has brought out all the hysterics on the intertubes to ventilate their spleens over Hillary's Health Crisis Du Jour.
Her campaign says she's got pneumonia. I don't know whether it's true or not. There's no way to know. The campaigns are charades top to bottom and sorting out truth from fiction is an endless task. There's no way to keep up. That she's ill is clear enough. With what, though?
There have been rumors about her health for months or years, and I typically ascribe them to anti-Clinton bullshit. How it is that the Clintons, among all politicians, invite such over-the-top antagonism is a mystery to me. They have long fed their haters, though, so I don't entirely blame it on some kind of Derangement Syndrome. There seems to be something symbiotic about it, bizarre though it may be. They get something from being hated so strongly, and their haters need the Clintons just as much.
Be that as it may, Hillary's been sick, and the 9/11 Memorial Incident could not -- at least it wasn't -- hidden from the public. At one point, while awaiting her transport, she could barely stand and could not walk on her own. There were indications that she passed out. Oh boy.
When the announcement was made -- eventually -- that she had pneumonia, I nodded and said, "Yep." Her symptoms, at least visible ones, some of which had been rehashed over and over in the hysterical media no matter the political persuasion, were consistent with a severe and/or long-untreated case of pneumonia. I know. I've had it. Several times. What she was showing were symptoms very similar to some of the worst experiences I've had with pneumonia. Others would testify to having similar symptoms themselves.
But the intertubes exploded with authoritative but utterly false declarations of what pneumonia does and doesn't do, and with equally false declarations of how serious or not serious the condition must be in Hillary's case. Jebus dancing on a crust of Wonder Bread, this was insane. Utterly insane.
What I reacted to was the completely inane and false and almost universally encountered statements regarding how pneumonia behaves -- particularly how it is relatively mild or benign, and how, for example, it doesn't cause dehydration or make one feel hot or feverish in mild weather. This is utterly false. Yes, it can cause severe dehydration and feelings of fever or overheating. Yes. It. Can.
It can make you feel faint. It can make you pass out. It can cause "out of body" experiences. It can leave you disoriented, confused, incoherent, etc. A bad cough that doesn't go away with ordinary cough suppressants is routine.
It can give you the shakes, or you can be semi-paralyzed. It can be deadly.
Vaccines cannot and do not prevent all forms of pneumonia, but patients are not always told that they can still get pneumonia even if they've received both vaccines.
In my view, pneumonia is always serious, but its course may not involve all the most serious symptoms. It can be very difficult to control with antibiotics. I've usually required two courses of antibiotics every time I've had it. That's ten days each. But even after the infection is controlled, there are lingering after effects for months.The worst is fatigue, something that you really can't do anything about (but see below.)
Many authoritative commenters insisted that pneumonia is easily controlled with antibiotics. It's not always easily controlled at all. A few days on antibiotics and you're good as new. Not true. It may work for some people, for others, no.
Other commenters authoritatively insisted that Hillary couldn't have pneumonia because of this, that or the other symptom that pneumonia doesn't cause. Except for the fact that her visible symptoms were consistent with severe or untreated pneumonia...
Others seemed to have so much invested in their pet medical diagnosis for what ails Hillary that they couldn't accept something as uninteresting as pneumonia and dismissed it out of hand.
Many insisted that Hillary was obviously contagious and should be effectively quarantined. Or contrariwise, she was exposed to too many sick people and should be better protected by her staff. Some of her staff were apparently taken ill too.
Almost all of the intertube commentary was wrong, and most of it was ridiculous.
One of the most striking things after Hillary's episode at the 9/11 memorial was her astonishing recovery after an hour or so at Chelsea's place. My own perception is that it could not have happened without some kind of "boost." There were speculations she was given amphetamines.
It looked to me like she'd been ill with pneumonia for some time, perhaps months, and neither she nor her staff was aware of it. She thought it was allergies. She may have thought it was a persistent cold. Whatever the case, she showed some symptoms, but they went unrecognized, and so she went on with the campaign without treatment, or perhaps with treatment for the wrong condition.
Undiagnosed pneumonia is pretty common.
She probably didn't even see a doctor until she felt so bad she had to do something.
They say she was diagnosed last Friday and put on antibiotics. My guess? Too little, too late.
They didn't have time to work before the 9/11 memorial, and they may not have been effective in any case. For example, I had one course of antibiotics that had no effect at all.
Her condition likely would get worse under those circumstances. And so the episode at the van where she appeared to be either unconscious or semi-paralyzed.
This should have set off a whole series of alarm bells in the campaign, but it's not at all clear that it did. Taking her to Chelsea's house rather than to a hospital was a strategic move that Hillary probably insisted on -- it's clear enough that she sets the rules of the campaign -- but it may not have been medically wise.
If she was given a "boost" of some kind at Chelsea's but had no real medical treatment beyond already prescribed antibiotics and maybe an energy drink or two, I would be alarmed.
If she was severely dehydrated and actually passed out, then she should probably be under close medical supervision -- if not actually hospitalized -- for at least several days. It may require IV infusions of both stronger antibiotics and fluids.
That can take place at her home if need be, and that's likely what's going on at her place in Chappaqua.
There are many issues that can be raised over this situation, none of them particularly good, but the intertube hysterics over it are not helpful at all. Neither those who dismissed the seriousness of pneumonia nor those who made it out to be worse than it is really caught the fundamental problem:
1) she had apparently been ill for some time but was not diagnosed until last Friday.
2) either she denied she was as ill as she was or -- likely -- no one bothered to check what was wrong or how severe it was.
3) even after being diagnosed, her treatment was apparently inadequate to her condition.
4) her campaign was not forthcoming about her condition.
5) speculation was rampant for months before her diagnosis based on nothing at all but a perception that she wasn't well. She wasn't, it's true, but the speculation was allowed to run wild when a proper diagnosis and initiation of treatment early on might have scotched the speculation and she might have gotten well much sooner.
It's valid to question her judgment and the judgment of her staff and medical personnel. What were they thinking? There appears to be a dangerous level of disengagement from reality involved in this episode. Many questions about her judgment have already been raised, of course. There are plenty more questions to be raised. But the way this episode has been handled is not helpful either to understanding Hillary's condition or the many problems of this outrageous political season and the interests being served.
On the other hand, there is a whole series of unanswered and largely unasked questions about the other major candidate...
Good heavens, what a mess...