What might you be dead of now?

…if it were not for modern medical technology?

While recently recovering from typhoid fever (!) acquired in the Middle East, I was reading up on my illness and learned from Wikipedia that if not treated by antibiotics, typhoid fever is fatal in between 10 and 30% of cases. This got me to wondering, as I have before, whether I would have lived to my current ripe old age of 33 were it not for modern medical technology. So here’s the question:

If it were not for modern medical and pharmaceutical technology, what might you be dead of by now?

Omit diseases you *might * have gotten were it not for modern vaccines. I am interested in ailments you *actually * have suffered from (or suffer from now) which would have had a decent shot at causing you to shuffle off your mortal coil, depart from this vale of tears, kick the bucket, or, in short, die. For me:

asthma: I was hospitalized several times as a kid, and it might have been curtains for me were it not for adrenaline injections (or whatever the heck it is they shoot you up with when you are having a severe attack)
typhoid fever

Aquired agranulocytosis .

Bee stings (I am fatally allergic and require an epi pen).

Certainly, late onset (22) chicken pox.

How modern are we talking about here? I’ve had a few close calls over the years; chronic tonsillitis requiring tonsillectomy, emergency appendicectomy, one particularly prolonged bout of pneumonia and now kidney failure. All would have resulted in death without medical intervention. I’m definitely living on borrowed time.

An ectopic pregnancy.

I would have bled to death internally.

Pneumonia, twice. In both cases temp. shot up well over 40 © – w/o antibiotics one of the two bouts would have probably been the last…

I vaguely had in mind 20th-century medical advances.

If my mother is not exagerrating - and mind you, she has been known to exagerrate - I was in deep doo-doo already at the tender age of 4 months, when I contracted some sort of gastro-intestinal virus and was extremely dehydrated. Mind you, dehydration can be treated with a relatively low-tech solution of water, sugar, and salt in the correct proportions, but a century ago I’d’ve been dead just because nobody knew that.

If I survived that, I’m pretty sure hyperemesis gravidarum would have wiped me out by now. Basically, when I’m pregnant, I throw up. A lot. Without contraceptives to limit pregnancies, and anti-emetics to let me keep fluids down, I would likely have puked myself to death by now.

Oh dear, here’s my list:

tonsillitis - had them out when I was three, after many infections and two weeks in an oxygen tent before they subsided enough to be removed. They were huge, and I had less than a pencil wide opening to breathe through, and everytime I fell asleep I quit breathing and turned blue. I do remember parts of the ordeal.

Chronic bronchitis which inevitably turns into pneumonia - happens at least once a year since I can remember.

Childbirth - seven pregnancies, four live births, three miscarriages, and I am a big time bleeder.





An emergency appendectomy.

I also have a chronic sinus abcess which became so infected last winter the doctor was worried it would spread into my brain and do me in. Four consecutive courses of different antibiotics saved me that time.

Scary thoughts, wow.

pneumonia (several times as a child)
food allergies (landed in ER twice)
severe staph infection (featured in one of the SDMB TMI pimple threads)

Kidney failure. Thank God brother gave me one of his!

Let’s see…

-Would have lost my right pinky finger, and I’d have pretty ***ed up big toes. (Probably wouldn’t have killed me, unless I got a bad infection.)
-I have a couple of mental illnesses that, while easily treatable today, would probably have left me either a drunk or a suicide.
-Oh! I got a nastly little infection from a cat scratch on my foot, a few years back. It was starting to travel up my leg by the time I got on antibiotics.

I’d have died of meningitis as a baby.

Not a thing but can we predict our death?

I probably will die of Emphysemia (or something spelled kinda like that :smiley: ), my Nana did and my dad has it and I am entirely too stupid to stop smoking.

Ok, self inflicted deaths probably don’t count.

I’d never have been born alive, and my mother would have died too. Basically, she has a small pelvis, and I decided to extend, rather than flex my neck, so there was no way I was coming out. It’s called relative cephalo-pelvic disproportion. An emergency c-section brought me into the world.

After that…
Febrile convulsion aged 3 (they had to put me on ice and give me diazepam).
Severe gastro-enteritis aged 6 (IV fluids)

I also have a penicillen allergy which resulted in anaphylaxis when I was 5, but I’d have been fine if penicillen hadn’t been discovered.

When I was around 11 or 12, my parents were out for the evening, leaving me with my older brother (an adult, really - he would have been around 25 at the time.) I was getting ready to go to bed, and checked my thumb, which I’d whacked a day or so ago and was swollen and painful. I noticed a red line going up my arm from the site of the wound. Being a nerdly child, I immediately recognized the red line as blood poisoning, and went to show my brother.

He was dubious at first, but I showed him the line up my arm, and got him to call my parents. They came home, and rushed me off to the ER - all on my self-diagnosis of blood poisoning. Sure enough, that’s what it was. The doctor told them that had we waited until morning, I’d have been in pretty bad shape.

The pneumonia I got a few years ago was a contender. However, the first time I was in any real danger was when I had blood poisoning from an infected cut on my finger. There was a purple line going up my arm, around my armpit and onto my chest when I arrived at the ER to ask what it was. I have never got such fast service at a hospital, and I’ve never seen a doctor’s eyes get big like saucers before or since. Apparently, if I’d missed the bus, I wouldn’t have walked into the hospital. I was down to my last twenty minutes.

I needed some kind of small stomach operation to keep food down when I was a baby and would apparently have died otherwise, and then would have popped off from asthma at age 2 without modern hospital treatment. After that I’ve been pretty impervious to near-fatal stuff. Must be lucky.

Unless you count a broken jaw, which would probably would have been survivable even by a caveman; or ordinary dental problems, like fillings, which can cause serious problems, I’d be alive if I was born Paleolithic. And fitter and have lower blood pressure too.

I would not have lived past childbirth. Because of a physical fight between my parents, Mom’s water broke at 6 months gestation; they were able to stop the labor. I was born a month later with only a small layer of skin covering the small of my back. My lungs were completely developed (probably because of the water breakage a month before), and the only problems I had were I was 3 lbs, 11 oz and I had a hip socket that didn’t form all the way. I went home when I was 3 days old. Keep in mind I was born in 1973; that’s a miracle.

Fast forward 4 years, when the doctors discovered a large benign mass behind my right tonsil. The tonsils (which were giving me a difficult time) were removed and the mass was taken out through my mouth. The pressure release left me with a surgical epilepsy, as I had a massive Grand Mal seizure (complete with respiratory and cardiac failure) a few weeks later. I was unconscious for 18 hours afterward. I had another seizure when I was 11 (docs thought I had outgrown it and were trying to remove me from my medicine) which was also complete with respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Between the ages of 8-10, I had appendicitis. My white blood count never rose high enough to mandate surgery, even though I had all the classic signs. The doctors were telling my Mom I was “acting.” She finally took me to a surgeon friend of hers (she’s a retired registered nurse), who operated the next day. My appendix, which had split, leaked, then resealed itself 3 times was the size of a large grapefruit. I had lymph nodes the sizes of an orange, apple, and walnut from each of the splits. Mom had to sign paperwork saying it was Ok to remove my right ovary (they didn’t have to, but I have scar tissue on that side-ovulation HURTS). The appendix burst the moment they took it out of my body.

[hijack]I fully believe I am on this Earth for a reason, and that reason is my Mom. She had a work ending back injury (6 ruptured discs) 5 years before she became pregnant with me. Dad left shortly after I was born. leaving her to care for me and my invalid Grandma, who died in 1980. Over the years I have had to help her out (she now lives with my husband and myself). If I wasn’t here to help her, she would have lived a horrible life and probably died a long time ago. I have also helped some of my friends out of life-threatening circumstances as well. This is why I fully believe there is God and there is a purpose for everyone on Earth. [/hijack]