A (dis)credit to our profession

I cannot determine if what Newsbusters passes on, Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column, was satire or not:

President Trump is killing me.

No, really. He’s killing me.

I went for my annual physical last month, and, for the first time in my 49 years, I had to report that I’ve not been feeling well: fatigue, headaches, poor sleep, even some occasional chest pain. My doctor checked my blood pressure, which had always been normal before: alarmingly high

What could this mean? I don’t smoke, I’m not obese and I swim most days. The doctor hooked me up to electrodes and ran an EKG; it was normal. He suggested I try an ultra-low-sodium diet, and I spent a few weeks living on unsalted rice cakes, undressed salads and unappealing entrees; the pressure dropped a few points, but not enough. We could pretty much rule out sleep apnea and other things that can cause a spike in blood pressure. My doctor had me take a calcium CT scan of my heart, which filled me with enough radiation to melt s’mores but turned up nothing terrible.

At this point, I arrived at a self-diagnosis: I was suffering from Trump Hypertensive Unexplained Disorder, or THUD. For almost five decades, I had been the picture of health, but eight months into Trump’s presidency, I was suddenly ailing. Trump is the only variable, I told my doctor. “He sure is variable,” my doc replied, endorsing the diagnosis.

I know THUD is a real condition because I have a scientifically valid sample to prove it. I told my editor about my new medical state, and he reported that he, too, has been newly warned by his doctor that his blood pressure has become borderline, and things could go either way. Sort of like with the “dreamers” (although in my editor’s case, dealing with me may be the primary cause of illness).

I have a strong suspicion THUD is a widespread phenomenon. A dentist tells me orders have surged in the Washington area for night guards because more people are clenching and grinding their teeth in the Trump era. Psychotherapists tell me that they are unusually busy and that most clients are talking about Trump, who is exacerbating whatever neurosis, depression or other conditions they had. This is probably quantifiable, but I am too fatigued to do this work. My heart can only take so much.

It stands to reason that THUD is less pervasive in parts of the country that supported Trump: rural areas, the South, the industrial Midwest. Americans here are probably suffering no deleterious effects on their health as a result of Trump’s election.

I have addressed my case of Trump Hypertensive Unexplained Disorder in its early stages, and my doctor has started me on blood-pressure medication. My prescription is renewable until January 2021, at which point I expect it will no longer be medically necessary.

Milbank doesn’t have THUD. Assuming he’s serious about who is president affecting his health, he has Trump Derangement Syndrome, as numerous Trump opponents have. It is similar to Wisconsin’s Walker Derangement Syndrome and the 1980s’ Reagan Derangement Syndrome, in which opposition to who got elected drives you out of your mind. That is a real disease given previous reports of Hillary Clinton voters seeking psychiatric care.

Since I couldn’t determine if Milbank was being serious or not, I posted that question to the Fans of Best of the Web Today Facebook page. The responses are … unsympathetic to Milbank.

Other than to get a laugh, I don’t know why someone write something like this. Milbank, if serious, is admitting that his mental and emotional state is so fragile and delicate that his physical health is falling apart due to an election result. The only way this is funny is to make Milbank look like a coward and a wimp.

Since I have been of voting age I have lived through 16 years of the wrong president and 11 years of a bad governor. Neither affected my health at all. Nor did, or does, having the correct people in office. If either affects your health, I suggest you look at your values.


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