Of Mad Hatters and Doctors Parts I & II
by Mark Cammack May 14, 2018
Alice's Mad Mercury Tea Party: From Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. When Alice went to Wonderland she met many interesting characters. The fellow on the far right is the Hatter. He is often referred to as The Mad Hatter and most likely affected with mercury poisoning.
Part I: John and Jane's Adventures With Mercury in Medicineland
Siblings John and Jane went to work at a fine hat factory. They were happy and took pride in what they did to make quality products.
After a few months, both John and Jane were tired, very tired. It was unlike them, as they had always had been in good health. They went to their doctors. John saw Dr. Dull, Jane went to Dr. Keen. Dr. Dull performed a check-up and told John nothing wrong could be found. Dr. Keen did a check-up, and asked about recent changes in work, diet, and environment. Blood samples were taken to be tested. There were no infections, thyroid or blood sugar disorders found to cause fatigue.
Three weeks later, John and Jane were not just tired, but exhausted. They were having trouble with memory and concentration, sleep, and with occasional irregular heartbeats. They seemed a bit clumsy, having dropped a few things. Dr. Dull told John he could find nothing wrong and wrote a prescription for a medicine to help him sleep. Unfortunately, all drugs have a level of toxicity and the root cause was not addressed. Poor John became worse.
Dr. Keen listened to Jane and asked more questions. The good doctor realized that the bottom of Jane's feet had a light purplish tint and her hands were somewhat pinkish. This time blood work was taken for toxin screening. The test results came back within a few days. Dr. Keen found that Jane had high mercury levels.
Suspecting the new workplace as a culprit, Dr. Keen observed that one of the chemicals used to make the hats was toxic. The reason the company had to regularly get new workers for the hat making job was because the former ones became ill.
Jane told John what Dr. Keen had found. John told Dr. Dull. Dr. Dull told John that surely the government would not allow anything toxic to be in a workplace. He then wrote a prescription for a stronger medicine. John told Dr. Dull that he was changing doctors. John went to see Dr. Keen. Dr. Keen found mercury in John, too. John was advised he did not need a prescription, he needed to change jobs and have a healthy place to work.
John and Jane slowly began recovering. Then they started searching the newspaper employment ads...
Part II: John and Jane's Adventures With Pesticides On Superfund Drive
Siblings John and Jane were glad to be better. They were still tired, but improving. There were many newspaper ads seeking workers. “Let's see what type of job we can find,” said John. “Even part-time might help,” replied Jane. One advert seemed interesting:
John and Jane went the next day. They found themselves in an industrial area. They went past small to medium sized factories and warehouses. The Nevermore building was tiny in comparison. It was large enough for only three or four rooms and had a teeny outdoor storage building. Amazingly, in the front parking lot near the road was a shiny red Ferrari sports car. It was as though the expensive vehicle was on display.
Being both puzzled and curious, John and Jane went inside the Nevermore main door. They were greeted by Charlie, the owner. The middle-aged man wore a company shirt, glasses, and was perspiring. “Can I help you?” he asked. “We came about the ad in the paper,” John replied. “Oh that. We actually have two businesses. Let's talk about it,” Charlie encouraged.
John and Jane found out that the ad was for pest control sprayers. The jobs paid slightly more than minimum wage but were regular. The new workers were to spray apartments, homes, and businesses. Charlie said the activity required mixing chemicals and knowing where to spray and how to drive. “You can work under my pest control license,” he continued. Charlie showed John and Jane the outdoor storage building. As he opened the door, the strong odor of pesticide fumes was overwhelming. John and Jane stepped back to let the air clear. There were metal drums and plastic containers of chemicals with a foreboding skull and crossbones.
They asked Charlie about the toxicity. “They won't hurt you. All pesticides are safe,” he replied. John and Jane saw that the warnings on the containers stated gloves and masks must be worn. When they asked about protective gear, Charlie replied,”We don't use those. You can't use them because it might scare the customers. You will be fine without it.”
John and Jane felt uneasy but needed to work. A driver pulled into the lot. His pickup truck had the word Nevermore in large white letters on the side. A young short-haired blond fellow got out. He was slim, above average in height, and seemed fatigued as he moved with effort. He too was noticeably perspiring. “I got the number two route done,” he said while walking past Charlie to the office. “That is one of our trucks,” Charlie commented. He took John and Jane over to see it. It was a simple set-up. A pair of two-foot-long cylindrical steel spray tanks were in the cargo area. They had hoses and sprayer nozzles attached. There was no protective gear anywhere.
John and Jane looked up and glanced across the lot to the Ferrari. “I can tell you how to get one of those. Would you like to see it?” Charlie said with a smile. The siblings nodded. They watched as the sports car was presented in detail from front to back. “One day we will talk about how you have one,” Charlie conveyed.
John and Jane went to work two days later after a brief introduction to the spray tanks and route. “At least we do not have to worry about mercury,” Jane stated. John agreed. They were also invited to a special meeting that weekend at the owner's home. The routes were largely uneventful. In one apartment a fast cat named Speedy entertained them as the owner was away. It darted rapidly from room to room apparently chasing invisible mice.
The weekend affair turned out to have a few persons who were involved in a multi-level marketing group. There were near magical claims of wealth by some. The siblings continued to run their routes.
Again, though, John and Jane experienced fatigue. This time was different from the hat company experience. They felt like they were getting the flu. When they mentioned it, the owner's wife told them it was all in their heads. How would she know? She had not been spraying pesticides. The siblings were determined to keep going, but were becoming ever worse. They went to see Dr. Keen. They told him of their new job, unwellness, and what was occurring.
“Oh my, you have the symptoms of chronic organochlorine toxicity,” the good doctor replied. “You are supposed to wear protection like respirators and gloves in that job. I would not recommend using those pesticides anyway since safe alternatives are available. Oh no, this won't do at all,” advised Dr. Keen.
John and Jane again needed to recover. With re-exposure to pesticides, the symptoms and fatigue returned. The siblings learned that the toxins had overloaded their body's detox abilities. They again sought what to do and where to go...
Note: This article is based on real life events. It regards the challenge of obtaining quality health care when dealing with toxins. While mercury has been removed from hat making, it has been or is present in seafoods such as tuna, amalgam (silver) dental fillings, vaccines, contact lens eye washes, and cosmetics. The health concerns with pesticides are very real.
All images are Copyright 2018-2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.
The author's derived work of Alice's Mad Mercury Tea Party was colorized, adapted, and modified for use. An original public domain image is from Wikimedia
Newspaper job advert image created by author.
The color image made by author POISON DANGER Skull and Crossbones was based on a black and white skull courtesy of wpclipart
© Copyright 2018-2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.