Just Stop It. Really.

Short rant today.  It’s cold and I am freezing here in my apt, and my fingers need to stay warm.

I have been finishing up my Christmas shopping – online (none of that ridiculous Black Friday standing in line crap for me).  It’s not bad shopping online this time of year, as a lot of retailers offer free shipping and what-not.

So, I was Googling “heated mittens” because this is something I am thinking of getting someone this year, someone who has Raynaud’s.  That’s the syndrome where your fingers/toes turn colors when it gets cold, and it’s really uncomfortable (I know, because I have it too).  Anyway, something to warm your fingers in the winter is helpful for people like us.

I learnt 2 things during my search: One, those kinds of products are really expensive.  Two, some people with Raynaud’s call each other “Frosties”.

Stop it.  Stop it RIGHT NOW.

I am really sick of people using cute, diminuitive words when talking about serious things like diseases and such.  In the “autoimmune community” (rolls eyes), they constantly refer to rheumatologists as “rheumies”.  “Rheumy”, in case you didn’t know, is an actual adjective that means “watery”, as in a kind of mucous-like discharge from eyes or nose.  It is a word you will find to describe, say, creepy old guys’ eyes in a horror novel or something.

What, are you too lazy to type out the word “rheumatologist”?  “Rheumy” is a disgusting word.  It is NOT cute.  What is the matter with you people, that you have to hijack an already-existing word, and a gross one at that?  What on earth does your rheumatologist think when you refer to him/her in that way?  I am guessing they shudder.  Or gag.

So now, people with Raynaud’s are “Frosties”?  Oh how cute…NOT.  Apparently this is because we have cold fingers, and not because we somehow resemble the cereal (I had been thinking that when our fingers turn white, as they do, this reminded some idiot of the cereal because…it’s white?).

Again I ask, “What is wrong with you??”

Having Raynaud’s is not cute.  It is not fun.  It is painful and can actually result in loss of fingers/toes.

Do you call people with leprosy, “lepsies”?  “Leprechauns” (that’s even cuter, isn’t it?)?  That disease can result in the loss of digits, too.

Why do you not understand that this minimizes people with diseases?  Most people with autoimmune diseases are women.  According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, “Of the 50 million Americans living and coping with autoimmune disease (AD), more than 75 percent of them are women” (“The Facts”, American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association website, no date given).

I cite that because it is hard enough for someone to take you seriously when it seems like the disorder is experienced mostly by females – even in this modern day and age.  The words “hysterical female” are still bandied about, and many times women are accused of being hypochondriacs when they have too many, or too vague, symptoms.

People with autoimmune disorders often display too many, and too vague, symptoms – at least it seems like that to the medical profession.  And that’s really difficult for someone – patient and doctor alike – to not get discouraged and sometimes think it’s “all in her head”.

So…you want to keep making light of something that’s so hard for many of us to get doctors to take seriously already, by giving sufferers a “cute” name?  Don’t you realize you are hampering the quest for better diagnoses, treatments, and/or cures?

You do now.  So…stop it.

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