Word of the Day: Comorbidity


  • noun: the simultaneous presence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions in a patient
  • The first time I heard the term comorbidity, I thought to myself good god what a terrible sounding word! And as a teacher of the English language to people who speak other languages, who happens to also speak Spanish, I know a shit ton of fucking words. I really demonstrate my masterful use of vocabulary on this blog, don’t you think? Just so very eloquent and a sophisticated approach to narratives on life with chronic illness.

    Anyway, back to our extra special word of the day: comorbidity. So this word is more or less as shitty as it sounds because when you break it down (have to practice what I preach and make my 4th graders proud) we have the prefix co- meaning together, and morbid meaning deathly, diseased, all around bad situation. The concept of having multiple diseases simultaneously is bullshit, and like I or about a zillion other chronically ill people can tell in reality it is also…wait for it…bullshit. The notion of managing multiple diseases at the same time sucks, a lot.

    The funny thing about comorbidity, (and when I say funny I mean hilariously tragic), is that a bunch of diseases are NOTORIOUS for showing up together. They are like disease #squadgoals if you will, when one rolls up, the others tend to follow. It is as if they have a group chat and POTS asks Mast Cell Activation Syndrom is they’re gonna come thru at this party, and once MCAS says yes, then all of a sudden Elhers Danlos also decides to come thru, and maybe bring some other friends, because they heard it’s going to be LIT. (My students really keep me up on the slang, can you tell? Lolz)

    So, I chose this as our very special word of the day because after visiting my new rheumatologist, which is an experience that deserves it’s own post (positive one yay!) I have been confirmed to have the common trifecta of MCAS, POTS, and hEDS. For right now, we’re sticking with the hyper-mobile type, although I do have undetermined connective tissue disease, still have a few too many question marks to head into genetics just yet. It was funny in the appointment the doctor referred to this EDS type as “benign connective tissue hyper-mobility” and I wanted to be like…DA FUQ? Did you just say benign literally every joint in my body begs to differ. But, alas I did not, I listened carefully and prepared more “productive” questions. It’s just mind-bottling as my Friend Joey Tribbiani would say, that because no irreparable harm is being caused by the immune disorder it’s self and only it’s secondary effects it would be considered “benign hyper-mobility.”

    Anyway all this to say, I’m totally comorbid, (don’t think that’s a word though), even more so than before but that’s chronic illness life for ya.


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