WASHINGTON, DC – Capitol doctors, thanks to information-sharing initiatives promoted by the Affordable Care Act, have uncovered what they describe as a “devastating” illness affecting many American elected officials. They’ve dubbed it “Politician’s Triad” and are racing against time to find a cure.
“The exam findings are remarkably similar,” announced Dr. Rob Emblynde, a local concierge-care physician who cares for numerous representatives while Congress is in session. “It usually starts as run-of-the-mill back pain; stuff we’re used to seeing, nothing terribly out of the ordinary. It goes on long enough, though, and eventually an MRI gets ordered, and not just the lumbar, but the thoracic and even the cervical spine starts to just disappear. T2-weighted images show that the vertebrae are just turning into some kind of gelatinous material.”
“It’s usually not too bad, because they spend quite a bit of time sitting down anyway. But then things start to get really disturbing. We usually see painless abdominal jaundice: practically everything between their sternum and their pelvis turns yellow. Sure, they all drink, but liver function tests are normal and all their abdominal imaging is pristine.”
“The final component in what we’ve dubbed ‘Politician’s Triad’ is microorchidism. I can’t disclose any personal health information, but in general Northeastern and Deep Southern Congressmen seem to be most affected.”
Systemic manifestations of the illness appear rapidly and seem to worsen over time; researchers are unsure if the symptoms are caused by an infectious vector or if it’s a “lifestyle disease” like diabetes. Preliminary results indicate that the prefrontal cortex appears to be implicated, as afflicted patients tend to display grandiose thinking, make large mathematical reasoning errors, engage in high risk sexual behaviors, and crave pork. The acute presentation known colloquially as “filibustering” where the patient talks for hours about nothing is pathognomonic for the syndrome and is an indication for emergent care.
The illness is often misunderstood around the world, in resource-poor countries many suffering politicians thrown in jail for demonstrating symptoms and are haunted by stigma. Research into the Triad at this time is “woefully underfunded” according to Emblynde, but they are hoping to collaborate with European investigators who have apparently been pioneering new treatments. Dr. Hans Oeverfisd, who has treated many sufferers of this illness, likes to talk up The Netherlands’ progressive approach to treatment.
“Our studies indicate that Politician’s Triad is an incurable, terminal illness. Palliative options or euthanasia for those officials too far gone to be trusted to make any decisions allow for them and us to retain some dignity before the disease completely takes hold.”
Back in America, though, a variety of experimental protocols are underway to ameliorate the effects of Politician’s Triad. Risk factors are taken into account: Democrats tend to respond better to a “harm reduction” approach that shunts patients into innovative “paid speaker” programs that allow patients to talk for hours with little harm to national budgets. Republicans, on the other hand, require a more pharmaceutical approach: specifically, rapid administration of plumbum salts. Dr. Emblynde notes that these are most efficacious when given in multiple doses to target vital organs.
“We have to act fast before Politician’s Triad becomes a Pentad… at that point, it’s pretty much irreversible.” Fortunately, he notes that this is a rare complication only affecting politicians with a past history of dangerous behaviors such as medical malpractice law. And what are the last two signs of the Politician’s Pentad?
“Complete Acardia and Cranio-Rectal Inclusion.”