weigh anchor: opposite of 'drop anchor', a naval expression for the last step taken in preparation before the ship leaves port
The symptoms of primary syphilis most often involve genital skin lesions, or chancres, that appear an average of three weeks after contracting the disease, caused by Gram-negative bacteria in the spiroch(a)ete family. Some patients, however, will remain without symptoms until the later stages of the disease develop insidiously.
Authors' Note: VDRL (initialism for venereal disease research laboratory): a screening blood test for syphilis developed in 1906 and updated in 1946
Syphilis is sometimes referred to medically as lues, accounting for the choice of name for our protagonist.
This verse, dealing with the asymptomatic latent stage, follows the author’s verse ‘chancre’, a manifestation of the early (‘primary’) stage. Treatment with penicillin at either of these stages is dramatically effective at preventing the dire consequences of progression to symptomatic late (‘tertiary’) disease.
CNS: central nervous system, i.e. the brain and spinal cord; a commonly used medical initialism
spirochete(n.): a generalization for a bacterium of the type that causes syphilis (Treponema pallidum), based on its microscopic appearance
spirochete(v.): novel use confined to this verse, implying damage by syphilitic spirochetes
The above verse, dealing with the late or ('tertiary') manifestations of syphilis (a.k.a. lues), emphasizes the common disorders of the CNS, including tabes dorsalis, a disease of the spinal cord producing sensory limitations in the legs, compensated by a characteristic (tabetic) stomping gait. Accompanying brain disorders may include general paresis (weakness), mania, delirium and dementia; and manifestations in other organ systems are not uncommon.
Authors' Note: General paresis of the insane, known by the initialism GPI, was recognized as a distinct disease in 1822, and considered by the Victorians to be a form of madness in persons, primarily men, of dissolute character. It took another century until it was confirmed that it was caused by spirochetes, causative organism for syphilis, damaging the brain in the late (tertiary) stage, and that its progression could be halted by antibiotics such as anti-malarial arsenicals and, after 1940, penicillin. Once a relatively common problem on a global scale, GPI now seems to be confined to developing countries.
This verse also relates to a series on organic causes of neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as hypothyroid depression, and frontal meningioma.
Authors' Note: These lyrics are intended to be sung in rap format.
Life-threatening medical aspects of the often-discounted STD (sexually transmitted disease) gonorrhea are well described in the Author's Note to SheilaB’s verse ‘Chaldaea’.
Gonorrheal infection of the external genitalia, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, may also result in pelvic inflammatory disease in females, epididymitis in males, and chronic infertility. Transmission of the disease is prevented by condoms.
Authors' Note: In June 2022, the World Health Organization announced that
it would find a new name for 'monkeypox', to de-emphasize its overstated enzootic connection.
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