Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I've got a "cold".  It began with post nasal drip and a sore throat. It's progressed to full sinuses, difficulty sleeping, fever, much more post nasal drip, plugged ears and fatigue.
I know biologically this is a product of a virus, most likely, possibly some streptococcus or staph bacteria allied with the virus which starts it. I expect the viral culprit is a Respiratory Synctial virus but it could be influenza.
My normal protective immunological system has been down a few counts because of the extra stress at work.  Work is always stressful.  It's the most stressful work I can imagine doing.  Right up there with bomb disposal.  People are like that.  I'm always on egg shells but no one is perfect enough. It's a complaint society too and the people doing the most complaining aren't doing much else.
I've always figured sickness physically means I've not warded off the disease psychologically.  Last week I felt like a guy surrounded by zombies in a vampire movie with cannibal extras. The beaurocracies were in a shark feeding frenzy.  Point fingers and demanding perfection.  I'm going to die not good enough for everyone all the time.  My job is the complaints department of life and the people making most of the shit expect everyone else to keep the niggers down. Nigger in this case is no longer a racial slur but a metaphor for anyone marginalized.  John Lennon once said Women are the Niggers of the World.  Today it's beyond gender. It's the addicts, the mentally ill, the sick and those who treat them.  The 'winners' would just as soon line them up against the wall and shoot them.  They're holding back progress.
So I think my negativity and fear these last two weeks weren't sufficiently addressed. I spent a whole lot of time meditating and praying and being with other loving physicians cared for and caring but it wasn't enough.
Environmentalists would say it was just that I flew to Edmonton and back and took on the bad air in planes and the jet lag and all the other physical stresses of change of location without the slow aclimatisation that would occur if I'd driven my car up to Edmonton and back making the journey in days rather than hours.  I thought of that but there was just too much pressure at work. Everyone complains I don't see them enough or they complain I don't see their family enough, or they complain I don't see their patients enough. I've read two letters from beaurocratic psychiatrists who stopped actually doing clinical work years ago say "it would be good if Dr. Hay would see these people a couple of times a week'.  I'm seeing them every few months.  I'm stretched to the breaking and all the resources are going to guys like these two high paid 'critics' who long ago pulled their thumbs out of the leaking dam and put them somewhere else.  I'd like to have the family physician spend a half hour with the patient like I did but he's only got 3 minutes a patient today.  Then the counsellors aren't paid to see anyone but the suicidal and my patients fall in between.
But now I'm sick. I know it's because of stress and self pity.  I'm also sure I'm dying.  I 've already gone through a check list of all the other physical ailments, aches and pain, really bad pain in joints and stuff you just say is aging and rheumatism but I'm a doctor so I can link all this together into rare tropical diseases, slow virus, brain tumours, sexually transmitted diseases acquired in the 60's, the late effects of smoking marijuana then too, lack of an essential vitamin, lack of sun, lack of rest, lack of sleep - my brain has thousands of rare diseases I've seen and touched stored there and I'm holding it back like I hold back a huge dog near a bitch in heat.
So I keep it simple. I've got a cold.
Now what to do.
If I had a salaried job and worked in an office and had the ability like all bureaucrats to push aside the work for a day or a week because it's really just paper - I'd not go into work , stay in bed, get better. But most of my patients are sicker than me, even psychologically which takes a lot of work and physically I'm really interested in the guy I did an ultrasound on his abdomen last week because it felt like the Alien.  He wouldn't go to hospital so I'm the point man on his possible deadly disease. I just want to know what it is and when I do I can fix it. I love medicine. I love curing people. I really liked cutting but they don't let me have a knife any more.  Prefer my mind.  And that's only good because it saves lives but saving lives is increasingly politically incorrect.  All the money in the system is moving into addicting addicts more, enabling, euthanasia and the really lucrative endeavour of abortion.
So I become depressed and fearful and it's a vicious cycle. All the sadness floods in when I'm sick. I want to curl up in a fetal position but there's work to do. I'm not infectious really.  It's not like I'm doing surgery or dentistry.  I'm at a distance. Thank God for Advil for sinuses and Reactine.  I can put the symptoms at bay. Drink a lot of fluids.
And probably I'll just do the work I need to do and not do the other responsibilities.  Now I've got to get in the shower and get all this sick sweat off me and fake it till I make it.
I've just got a 'cold' and we make too much of these things. But them I'm older and we always said 'pneumonia was at the old man's friend' because it kills sweetly.  I'm morbid and my job is to be positive and reassuring and intelligent and caring and supportive and I miss the nurse who drove me home that night in the ER telling me I was sicker than all the children and she needed me the next day.
Fact is, I heard of a death yesterday and I'm devastated.  It was so wrong.  But at least that person so tormented will have peace. They'll be in heaven.  But it's a tragedy and so sad and it's old news.  Maybe because I'm getting older I'm more affected when I hear of the young dying.  My friend's funeral was last week but I was working and didn't make it.  We're to take care of the living.  I would have liked to have been at the funeral though.  He was a good man too.
Now I've got to rush. Always rushing.  Never enough time for all the demands.  The authorities are always upping the ante and putting deadlines on things that don't need deadlines then the man with cancer has a recurrence and there's no choice and the pregnant woman needs an answer she doesn't have any control over her time. I'm always prioritiizng but more and more bullies are telling me they need to go first. I'm tired of being threatened. One person threatens my life, another threatens my job, another threatens my security. Everyone demanding and pushing and I'm dreaming of being alone at sea again with a thousand miles and weeks between me and another human being.  God that was good to get away from the beepers and cell phones.  We talked about that on the weekend, the sense of relief we each feel when we can find a way off the grid.
It's an excuse to be imperfect. I may as well wear a bandage around my head, a black arm band as I let my nose drip and flaunt kleenex.
But I'm late. I must go.  I'm not that sick.  My guts aren't spilling out on the floor and CSF isn't leaking out of my head.  Most of my colleagues are maimed and sick and injured and they're in the play, They celebrate the hockey players when they do that for a day but all the doctors I know are struggling with illness and yet caring for others too so they're my inspiration.
Sick is a metaphor.  It's all in my mind anyway.  Please Jesus be with me today and help me to do your bidding. Help me help others in your name. And please let this foggy headedness not interfere in my decisions or memory.  Thank you that it's really nothing and not something like real morbidity and mortality, like the deaths I learned of this week.  Be with them and their families in this time of grief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

see a doctor and get some rest

self medication is the worse thing you can do

you will live