I’ve taught my students about the compression of morbidity. Morbidity is the lasting effect of diseases and injuries that keep you from optimal function and wellness. A common cold results in morbidity that is temporary while the body’s immune system deals with the virus, but diabetes is a chronic condition caused by insulin resistance that has more serious impacts and a higher level and longer lasting morbidity.
What we would like to strive for in our work in health and wellness is a morbidity that is compressed and shortened, especially at the end of life. My personal ultimate hope is a short illness with little pain and discomfort and quick mortality – at age 100 or more, up to that point with full cognitive and physical abilities.
We are living longer, but the quality of life during that longer life is, for many, filled with chronic pain, dysfunction, immobility before an ultimate, sometimes cognitively declined, pain-filled demise. Our medicine seeks to cure, and, if not, manage disease to give us the best quality of life for the longest period, but our system of health has lost its way, and medicine in measures has gone with it.