There it was again. On Monday CNN reported that Hillary Clinton had a coughing fit during a speech which was blamed on being ‘allergic to Donald Trump’. This wouldn’t be the first, second, third or tenth time it has happened, and even the ‘left’ media have taken notice. While taken in isolation, this would not be such a big deal, right-wing conspiracy theorists have made her health, and her non-disclosure of certain issues related to it, a central campaign issue. Notwithstanding the low ratings of his medical show on CNN, Dr. Drew Pinski’s analysis that her health care should be considered suspicious occurred just before he was unceremoniously fired from the show, fueling greater speculation that there’s a cover-up afoot. Then, on Friday, the FBI released documents indicating that her memory lapse as to no less than 35 important details about her use of a private email server were related to the concussion she experienced from a fall during her tenure at the State Department.
So, what could be causing the cough? I’m no doctor, but I did the internet searching for you, and there are about 20,000 causes of coughs, some of which, according to WebMD, are fatal. But there are some that are not, and are symptoms of other, non-fatal issues.
DIAGNOSIS: Pulmonary Embolism – Also known as a blood clot that travels to the lung, this can cause a cough, but it usually includes blood (yuck!).
PROGNOSIS: Pretty much fatal.
RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY METER: Super low. These things usually wind up killing people within days if not hours, so this lingering cough can’t be something like that.
DIAGNOSIS: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – Frequent acid reflux can cause coughing of the type that Hillary Clinton is experiencing.
PROGNOSIS: GERD is fairly easy to treat, but the medications used have side effects that range from bone loss to fatigue or confusion, which won’t be ideal on the campaign trail.
RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY METER: Low. Most red state rural gun lovin’ jingoistic Republicans experience heartburn on the regular from their diet of hamburgers, french fries and beer. They know it’s not a big deal, until they mistake it for a heart attack at age 27.
DIAGNOSIS: Dysphagia – Now we’re getting somewhere! This is the inability to swallow or difficulty in swallowing caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury (TMI).
PROGNOSIS: Not much you can do here except turn your head to the side when eating, change the thickness of your food and work with a speech pathologist.
RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY METER: High. This all makes sense! Hillary had a concussion, needs help up the stairs, forgot where she put her iPad, and seriously limits her speaking engagements. But is it a big deal? Probably not. Many people with concussions and strokes go on to live happy, intelligent and normal lives. Hillary is quick on her feet and gives speeches on the regular, so even if this IS what happened to her, it’s not causing any serious issues, unless, you know, emails matter.
DIAGNOSIS: Thyroid Treatment Drug Side Effects.
PROGNOSIS: Great since if the drugs were harmful, she wouldn’t (probably) be taking them.
RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY METER: Medium. Because who knows what drugs she’s on, and why, and what they’re doing to her brain, which must be damaged, but not enough to prevent her from lyin’, because brain damage can’t affect the lyin’ part!
DIAGNOSIS: Satanic flies as seen in the film ‘The Green Mile’.
PROGNOSIS: You basically die after doing some crazy, f-ed up s—.
RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY METER: Super high. This would explain most of her actions to those who detest her, and could be why so many Evangelicals in particular connect her to Lucifer himself.
But why should this matter? Really? If Hillary Clinton is terribly sick and unable to survive the first term of her Presidency, Tim Kaine would be a solid replacement. It’s not like her running mate is, say, Sarah Palin. If it was then I’m guessing that with each cough, the electorate would start to feel a certain foreboding and anxiety, which could, per WebMD, cause certain death. But really the right wing conspiracy theorists can’t have it both ways. Either Hillary is diabolical, brilliant and gifted at balancing on the fine line of ethics and credibility, or she’s one step away from being brain-dead. So maybe she does have a health problem, but that’s not what’s making most Trump fans feel sick.