There have been moments in our lives where we all feel hard done by, unfortunate, and just generally depressed. We can believe at times that things simply could not be worse for us, and in those times, we have often heard that most unsympathetic of clichés, “there is always someone in the world worse off than you”.
I have come to notice that this statement is something that holds little to no weight these days. Upon hearing it, we automatically think of people either in third world countries, or those riddled with an incurable, debilitating condition, usually AIDS. I believe the reason for people’s increasing irritation caused by this statement is because of how these associations are overused.
Well, as someone who believes that people should find salvation in being healthy and not living in abject poverty, I would like to offer up a potential solution. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, otherwise known simply as FOP.
I randomly stumbled upon this while casually browsing the SCP Foundation (a community based website comprising of fictitious scientific articles about strange, unexplainable and downright creepy objects – I find myself reading it often, so I may go into more depth about it in a future post). I found an article about a type of earwig which finds its way into one of the lungs of a sleeping human, which it then uses as a hive to start a new colony. In order to turn its host into a hive, this creature causes a vicious onset of FOP which grossly deforms the victim, eventually rendering him unrecognisable as a human being, but still alive. If you fancy being creeped out for the rest of your life, the specific article can be found here for your reading pleasure (I feel I should mention again that this is entirely fictitious, so there’s no need to sleep with one eye open from now on).
The article suggested that this was a real disease, so I looked it up. Sure enough, FOP is very real indeed, although thankfully it’s very different to how it’s described in the SCP article. In reality, it is a genetic repair-mechanism defect which causes wounds to be repaired as solid bone rather than muscle tissue. It is often referred to as “Stone Man Syndrome” because often these fixes render joints immovable, which in cases has resulted in the sufferer being completely incapable of movement. The bones created are effectively a second skeleton which is known to sometimes fuse with the current skeleton in places.
So next time you’re told that “there’s always someone worse off than you”, just accept the truth in it and be content with the knowledge that “at least you have your health”, and you can and always will be able to move your own body to some degree.
- 8 More Horrifying Diseases (thedailybeast.com)
- Lucy, 25, is turning into a human statue (thesun.co.uk)