Thursday, January 19, 2012


I was reading a grand daughter's facebook page. Her generation does not write letters it tweets, texts and twitters. She has a wide circle of contacts and cousins, being twenty three, intelligent and stunningly pretty I am not surprised.

A few days ago Ceiridwen complained on her facebook page about headaches. Not the light throb that tells one they have been reading too long, or their period is due, but it read like the kind of headache that can signal a serious maladjustment in the brain.
I put on my grandmotherly voice (bossy) and said she should see a doctor immediately.
Her facebook friends, including several of her cousins, sent her commiserations and advice, like DRINK COCA COLA; FANTA;Tea instead of coffee; water, that is not so bad, but those friendly messages were from kids making diagnoses (addiction loomed large) they should not have been making. They were happily passing on medical misadvice mainly based on their personal experiences or things they saw on TV and that can be dangerous.

I told her to go to a doctor because headaches can be a sign of a number of serious
maladies, or just emotional stress. Her response? She 'liked' my message.

I retired from teaching before Ceiridwen began school. I and other teachers of my generation worked extremely hard to teach children how to think critically, to examine evidence, to distinguish solid fact from suburban myth, to develop the skills that would let them make sensible decisions. Well it seems the snake oil merchants and the peddlers of superstion have won. Warm fuzzies and snake oil is so much easier than facing reality.

I am concerned about this because two of Ceiridwen's father's cousins died of undiagnosed brain tumours.

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