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Thursday, September 25, 2008

2008 Elections: Finally!

We here at La Casa de Los Gatos have been pondering, verbally and otherwise, about the state of John McCain's health for a long time. Our ponderment got booted especially hard in the butt when we recently came across a photograph of the old fart looking especially ... odd:

Look at his left eye in the picture on the left. Doesn't it look like there's something wrong with it?

Well, today while tootling around the InnerTubes, we found that the Big Boys o'Blogging — John Aravosis of Americablog in particular — had noticed the same.

Note: It is not the policy of La Casa de Los Gatos to link to the mighty bloggers of Blogtopia, with the sole exception of Skippy and Jon Swift. It makes more sense to link to smaller blogs, who need the exposure, no? After all, probably less than 1 per cent of the readers of Americablog (which is a fine blog, incidentally) even know of our existence.

At any rate, John did some mighty fine work pointing out the droop in McCain's left eye and opining as how it looked different from the right. Check out the documentary evidence he posted.

Here's another, more recent photograph:

The droop is more clearly visible here. The right eyebrow is raised, but the left eyebrow is not, and the droop seems to extend all the way down the left side of the face.

Now, we've had to tend to aging parents over the past decade, and watch them suffer multiple strokes. Our first thought was Bell's palsy, a relatively trivial problem suffered by many. Symptoms include drooping of one side of the face and sometimes drooling on one side, or inability to close one eye, and watering of the eye on the affected side.

Our next thought was, he's had a minor stroke. That's a definite possibility for a man of his age. Although strokes can affect people at any stage of life, the older you get the greater your risk. John McCain is 72 years old. By the time his father and grandfather reached his age, they'd been dead for a couple of years, IIRC.

But as we wambled on through the comments at Americablog, we found that many of the commenters were thinking along the same or even more ominous lines. One physician raised the possibility that McCain is suffering from Horner's syndrome. Note that there is no cure for this disease.

The commenter pointed out that Horner's syndrome is often associated with a lung tumour known as Pancoast Tumour.

Today, fellow-blogger FoTPC sent us email, having heard on Thom Hartmann's show that McCain is apparently having odd symptoms in his left arm — twitching, clenched fist, and so on. A commenter on Americablog apparently listened to the same show.

Then there's his bizarre cognitive problems and memory problems, his sudden mood swings and abrupt changes of mind. Those things could be symptomatic of one or more strokes. Given how long he's been in the Legislature, he's always been fairly well-spoken and at least coherent, even if he does fly off the handle and call his fellow Senators foul names. He hasn't sounded so coherent lately, has he? Stumbling, multiple gaffes, not understanding or being able to repeat what people say to him.

A commenter who works with geriatric patients opined that McAncient might be suffering from sundowning syndrome; others thought it might be nerve damage due to removal of a large facial melanoma recently; and still others speculated as to whether the multiple melanomas he has suffered may have metastasized into his brain. These are all possibilities. Given his age and his medical history, they are possibilities that we must take seriously.

When is he going to release his medical records? Isn't it time we knew what kind of shape the man is in? Is President Palin closer to reality than some of us might be comfortable with?

Here's yet another photo in which the deterioration is clear.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Damn it, John, what the fuck are you hiding? No wonder he needs an expensive make-up artist.

If you think it's time he released his medical records for the American people to see, please check out this petition and sign.

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At 6:08 PM, Blogger BadTux said...

It's Bell's Palsy (or remnants thereof), a residual of his 2000 surgery for lymph node removal after his melanoma was removed. Damage to the nerve during the lymph node removal is common and sometimes there are long-lasting side effects like a droopy eyebrow and so forth. The lymphectomy is also what causes the swelling on the left side of his face, without the lymph nodes fluid tends to just kind of slosh around until it finally finds some place to go.

I've no idea why McCain is hiding his medical records when he released them in 1999, but I don't think this is it.

-- Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Ms. Manitoba said...

PolCat, it really could be something simple and not life-threatening. Often in photos, my right eye looks more closed than my left eye. And it's true I had Bell's Palsy in my 20's (many many years ago). McCain's look could be just a residual effect of Bell's Palsy.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Hi, Badtux, Ms. M,

It could be, as I pointed out, anything at all, including sheer exhaustion. However, y'all are not 72-year-old cancer patients with a history of multiple melanoma removal (and his cancer is of a particularly aggressive type which is why they keep removing stuff off his face) living in an extremely high-stress situation AND running for the most important job in the world (also, probably, the most stressful).

He has not released his medical and psychiatric records, and until he does, in the words of some right wing hack or the other - It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate.

Besides, hey, I'm having so much fun doing it.


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