Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ways to Die That Are Not the Plague

Have you seen this? It's a Bill of Mortality from London during the week of August 15-22, 1665.  It shows how many people died and from what.

It's during the Great Plague so there were 3880 deaths that week from it (Knights of Columbus!)  But if the plague didn't get you there were many other exotic ways to die.  Can you imagine some poor fellow walking through Ye Olde London Town thinking, "Well I made it another week without getting the Plague," only to be felled by rickets. That's a bum deal if ever there was one.

Some of my favorites (with what they would be today):

Thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth.  Bleh! Also, I literally just learned this still exists and it's still called this.)
King's Evil (a skin condition)
Dropsie (swelling from water retention, probably from congestive heart failure)
Flux (dysentery)
Frighted (ghosts? clowns?)
Stopping of the Stomach
Griping of the Guts
Tissick (a cough)
Strangury (not being able to pee)
Rising of the Light (either croup or hysteria)
Surfeit (which seems like it just means drinking yourself to death.  What with the plague breathing down you neck and all.)

Naturally I'm going to start referring to all diseases by their medieval names.  Maybe my dry eyelid thing is the King's Evil! And a million imaginary points to the first person who says for a stomach ache, "Ugh!  I have a Griping of the Guts.  I hope my stomach doesn't stop."

(note: Cockroach poop? Death? My last few posts have been on the dark side.  I promise unicorns in the next one.)


Tessy said...

Look at how many died from "Teeth"!! No wonder the British have a bad rep about their teeth!

Valerie said...

So, as luck would have it, I went to a talk on colonial medicine just last Saturday (Saturday night actually, because that's the kind of thing I choose to fill my weekend nights with), and we spoke about some of these very things. Though, the way I hear it, the King's Evil was TB. Though, as I understand it, they were all pretty non-specific about what they called diseases, what with not actually knowing what anything was or what caused it.

And, regarding the above comment, it was probably teething that was being referred to, which was a big problem and killer of babies up until the 19th century.

Aaaaaaanyway, now that I've clogged up your comment section with my nerdery, let's talk more about olde diseases next month, okay?

Valerie said...

Actually, I think it would be better if we got Thrifty ice cream, and THEN talked.

Amy said...

my youngest daughter just had thrush not that long ago. It wasn't pleasant.

Casey said...

Your niece and sister-in-law had thrush not that long ago, in Ye Olde Provo Towne.