When I was growing up, one of the neighbors we had was Emery Booher.
Emery was a sweet old man. Sort of like a grandpa to me.
He and his wife lived across the street from us. His wife was quite senile, or maybe she had Alzheimers. At any rate, somehow I spent a lot of time in their house. I'd listen to Emery's wife talk on, while I would stare at the hundreds of china dolls dressed in 17th or 18th century dresses that made my 12 year old self blind with dress envy.
I'd also talk with Emery.
I don't remember how old he was, but he remembered well a time when there were no cars.
He told me how obnoxious "folks" thought cars were at first.
He also told me that when the government introduced social security numbers (see what I mean about old?), he remembers everyone being very nervous about the government having that much information and control over you.
I also think about the more recent history. While I was going through my miscarriages, I'd think, "Well, at least there's hope for me. Fifty years (a hundred years) ago there wouldn't be any treatment for my issues." The reproductive immunologist I treated with, Dr. Beer, his first successful "Beer baby" (a child born with the help of reproductive immunology) is now in his 30's.
After Brody was born, I was told that if he had been born a generation earlier, he probably would not have lived. Here's a gruesome discussion of the first documented TEF/Vater child - from 1839. That could have been Brody.
The first documented case of bilateral radial club hands was in 1733 - again, an autopsy. (They originally thought the condition stemmed from syphilis, apparently. Umm....no).
That made me think of my own evolution. If I'd been alive in the 18th century, or 1950's, I doubt I would have found the support of other women who suffered from miscarriages. I never would have found out about reproductive immunology (because (a) it didn't exist, and (b) I found out about it from the internet). And I doubt there would be any kind of open discussion about congenital anomalies in any kind of supportive or positive way.
But now, I have a blog, and a carepages site. I think every single one of the Vacterl families I know have at least one. Some have both. And that's not counting the message boards through Yahoo and IVillage. All dispensing confidential medical information, or monumentally personal emotional information.
I really have no point to this except I find it a fascinating evolution of us as a species or a culture....and I'm so grateful for the internet, and as much as I complain about them, the advancement of medicine and medical technology.
I'm so happy I am living at this moment in time.