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Defunciones

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By Corrine Ardoin - Posted on 20 May 2007

Regarding the causes of death in records, and I have only looked in civil
registers, I think the doctors did not use the same diagnostic terminology
that we are familiar with today. For example, tuberculosis was called
"consumption," even when my mother was a child in this country. Also,
without knowledge of cancers, various diseases, etc. I imagine doctors would
have had blanket terms to cover all bases, because they did not have the
knowledge, technology, etc. to determine true causes of death. Holding up
their hands, they might have said the cause of death was "fiebre," because
the patient had a fever, even though it was a symptom of another illness the
doctor or family members had no knowledge of at that time. Another example,
what was once called "senility," is now called dementia and alzheimer's.

Just imagine those days, the family gathered around as someone died in their
bed at home, sweating from fever, etc. The eldest son, if it was his father
who died, would go to report the death, saying his father died of fever, or
whatever the common, laymen terms were for various illnesses.
"Hydrophobia," was what they called rabies, which I have found records of
children dying of that, a horrible, horrible death. One woman told me she
knew someone who died of that many, many years ago. She said they had
tied the patient to the bed, as she thrashed about in fever before she died.

As far as the life expectancy having gone up, there is some things to bear
in mind, as was mentioned. People died of things we do not die of
today, and we are also more immune to illnesses than generations ago. We
take vitamins, fertilize the soil to make our food more nutritious, etc. We
have better clothing that protects us from adverse weather conditions.
There were epidemics, because there wasn't any knowledge as to how diseases
spread, that they were contagious, how to prevent them in the first place.
Personal hygiene, proper handling of food, etc. was not taught, nor
enforced. Wooden planks for preparing a meal or chopping meat was not
looked at as bacteria-ridden. What else were they to use, anyways, formica?

I think to determine more accurately the rise in life expectancy, we must
look at what age people were when they died of natural causes, not illness,
injury, or snakebite, etc. What would the age difference be then? But, I
guess what "life expectancy" really means, is how old can a person "expect"
to live in their day? Long ago, a person could expect to live into their
forties, barring snake bite, scorpion bite, drowning, rabies, malaria,
smallpox, tuberculosis, yellow fever, gunshot, sword wound, infection,
burns, pneumonia, and on and on. Today, a person can expect to live into
their seventies, barring bee sting, pit bull attack, gang shooting, car
accident, air plane wreck, terrorist attack, bombing, cancer, suicide, and
on and on.

Corrine
Who will fall asleep one night and never wake up, when she is too old
to mind anymore!

Corrine....WELL SAID!

Peggy Delgado

-----Original Message-----
From: research-bounces@lists.NuestrosRanchos.com
[mailto:research-bounces@lists.NuestrosRanchos.com]On Behalf Of Corrine
Ardoin
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2007 2:26 PM
To: research@nuestrosranchos.com
Subject: Re: [Nuestros Ranchos] Defunciones

Regarding the causes of death in records, and I have only looked in civil
registers, I think the doctors did not use the same diagnostic terminology
that we are familiar with today. For example, tuberculosis was called
"consumption," even when my mother was a child in this country. Also,
without knowledge of cancers, various diseases, etc. I imagine doctors would
have had blanket terms to cover all bases, because they did not have the
knowledge, technology, etc. to determine true causes of death. Holding up
their hands, they might have said the cause of death was "fiebre," because
the patient had a fever, even though it was a symptom of another illness the
doctor or family members had no knowledge of at that time. Another example,
what was once called "senility," is now called dementia and alzheimer's.

Just imagine those days, the family gathered around as someone died in their
bed at home, sweating from fever, etc. The eldest son, if it was his father
who died, would go to report the death, saying his father died of fever, or
whatever the common, laymen terms were for various illnesses.
"Hydrophobia," was what they called rabies, which I have found records of
children dying of that, a horrible, horrible death. One woman told me she
knew someone who died of that many, many years ago. She said they had
tied the patient to the bed, as she thrashed about in fever before she died.

As far as the life expectancy having gone up, there is some things to bear
in mind, as was mentioned. People died of things we do not die of
today, and we are also more immune to illnesses than generations ago. We
take vitamins, fertilize the soil to make our food more nutritious, etc. We
have better clothing that protects us from adverse weather conditions.
There were epidemics, because there wasn't any knowledge as to how diseases
spread, that they were contagious, how to prevent them in the first place.
Personal hygiene, proper handling of food, etc. was not taught, nor
enforced. Wooden planks for preparing a meal or chopping meat was not
looked at as bacteria-ridden. What else were they to use, anyways, formica?

I think to determine more accurately the rise in life expectancy, we must
look at what age people were when they died of natural causes, not illness,
injury, or snakebite, etc. What would the age difference be then? But, I
guess what "life expectancy" really means, is how old can a person "expect"
to live in their day? Long ago, a person could expect to live into their
forties, barring snake bite, scorpion bite, drowning, rabies, malaria,
smallpox, tuberculosis, yellow fever, gunshot, sword wound, infection,
burns, pneumonia, and on and on. Today, a person can expect to live into
their seventies, barring bee sting, pit bull attack, gang shooting, car
accident, air plane wreck, terrorist attack, bombing, cancer, suicide, and
on and on.

Corrine
Who will fall asleep one night and never wake up, when she is too old
to mind anymore!

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