Orange Is The New Syndrome

I had a routine physical yesterday, but it was hardly routine as I was reminded of the harsh reality that I will live the rest of my life with …

Gilbert’s Syndrome. Those are 2 words that nobody likes to hear used together. Of course, the same could be said of “running” and “sores.” Anything called a syndrome tends to be bad.  Just think of all the syndromes that there are out there …

  • Carpal Tunnel? Bad.

  • China? Good movie, but bad syndrome.

  • Stockholm? Weird.

  • Zori-Stalker-Williams? No idea, but sounds menacing because of the “stalker” part.

Go ahead and add Gilbert’s to that list. Sure, there are some like my doctor and most health professionals that I have sought for second, third and fourth opinions that want me to ignore that my blood test results show a hyper-elevated level of bilirubin coursing through my veins, carrying this bilirubin to my heart, brain and other unmentionable vital organs. There are others like my family and friends that are just sick and tired of hearing about it. They all claim that it is really of no consequence and will not affect my daily life. Really? Have you all become that jaded in this age of Trump?

None other than the Mayo Clinic website will tell you that Gilbert’s Syndrome is caused by an “abnormal gene.” That sounds ominous, and definitely not normal. The Wikipedia page for Gilbert’s Syndrome describes it like this …

“The cause of this hyperbilirubinemia is the reduced activity of the enzyme glucuronyltransferase,[6][7] which conjugates bilirubin and a few other lipophilic molecules. Conjugation renders the bilirubin water-soluble, after which it is excreted in bile into the duodenum. There are a number of variants of the gene for the enzyme, so the genetic basis of the condition is complex.”

Wow, that’s a lot of big words, and the genetic base is described as “complex.” That’s how Donald Trump describes healthcare in the USA, and he wants to get rid of that, so that can’t be good!

Whenever I launch into one of my patented tirades about living (if you can call it that) in the shadow of Gilbert’s Syndrome, most people simply walk away, probably to keep me from see them grieving for my lot in life. However, some are only too eager to point to the so-called “successful” tennis career of Henry Wilfred “Bunny” Austin, a famous Gilbert’s sufferer, as an example of how to live a full life despite Gilbert’s Syndrome. Here he is pictured with his wife …


Sure, he made the Wimbledon finals twice in the 1930’s, but LOST both times. You call that a successful life? Do I need to mention his nickname of “Bunny?”

 What you can’t see from Bunny’s black & white picture is one of the overtly visible symptoms of Gilbert’s Syndrome. The elevated levels of bilirubin ravaging my body and threatening my very existence can result in a jaundiced look. Take a look at these victims of this dreaded syndrome …

And yes, it can even get worse …


In very serious cases, the skin coloring can get quite extreme …


Orange you glad you don’t have Gilbert’s Syndrome?


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