Sometimes you hurt someone's feelings without being aware of it. Often you never know you did. Thankfully some people do tell you where you went in the wrong.
Someone I follow on Twitter appeared to have a new portrait picture. I didn't remember seeing the sunny tan before. Since this person tweeted about an upgrade, I complimented in return: upgrade = extra tan?
Mind you, it may be winter on the other side of the globe, it's high summer in the western hemisphere, so how wrong could that remark have been? Quite wrong. A rare disease called Addison's makes a person's skin turn a reddish brown, and that's not all, as I found out Online. Addison's is not something to joke about. Thanks to the Tweep's response I now know a little bit about the disease.
The incident made me think of grief and how mourners are sadly the ones who have to educate the others. Thanks to the TV series "House MD" viewers are introduced more and more to hitherto barely known diseases. I've read that members of patients' support groups have written letters to the producers of "House MD" to thank them for educating viewers about diseases that are often unknown and not understood. As far as I know they haven't covered Addison's.
The next time I see a person with an unseasonable tan, I'll be reminded of what I found out today.
Knowledge may result in compassion.
HealthScouter Addison's Disease: Addison Disease Symptoms and Addison's Disease Treatment
2009 Conquering Addison's Disease - The Empowered Patient's Complete Reference - Diagnosis, Treatment Options, Prognosis (Two CD-ROM Set)
This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License