Mozart's Fatal Edema
Mozart was never really healthy, and when he died of a strange illness in 1791 at the age of 35, that illness was simply the finale of a life-long fuge of disorders that had plagued him since his birth. Aside from its fatal outcome, the most striking feature of Mozart's final illness was edema -- edema so pronounced and generalized that according to his son, Carl Thomas, his father "was so swollen, he was unable to make even the smallest movement." Was Mozart poisoned (by the Masons); had he contracted syphilis; did his heart fail because of rheumatic heart disease? These and other possibilities will be considered in this podcast as the cause of perhaps "the greatest tragedy in the history of music."
Florence Nightingale's "Glimmering Gloom"
When Nightingale returned to England after serving 21 months in the Crimea, she was a different person from the one who traveled there as the nurse in charge of the British Expeditionary Force. At age 36, she had become hardened and aged by illness and exhaustion, slept no more than 2 hours a night, and complained of persistent fever and poor appetite. For the next 30 years, she remained closetted in her room. Since her death in 1910, a host of disorders has been proposed as her diagnosis, of which neurosis,feigned illness, self-pity and Victorian melodrama are some of the most popular. I will offer a different diagnosis, which I believe is more consistent with the nature of her illness.
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