I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a whole essay without vilifying the “tribe”. Bear with me. This is difficult.
I say difficult…when it is almost impossible for me. Obsessed? I guess you could say that. Mentally unbalanced? Aren’t we all in our own little ways. I think it has a lot to do with focus. My attention span is a funny thing. Yours might be too. I can concentrate with vein-popping intensity on the silliest things and let something important be filed in the “doesn’t interest me” drawer.
The following is not recommended for the “squeamish”;nor is it meant to be a foray into a “my operation” story…however…
I had a devastating illness a few years back. It began with a cough. The coughing continued day-after-day and then fatigue accompanied my hacking. Mostly at night. I sought the attention of a health-care professional. I think that is what you call them. The long and short of it, was that I had an “upper-respiratory malady”, they said. Probably a mild case of bronchitis or pleurisy. It was brought on by my smoking. Most smokers get one or another of these complaints. Nothing to worry about. “Take this mild antibiotic, and make another appointment if it doesn’t get better”. “And…you shouldn’t smoke”.
Yeah…yeah…heard that all before.
Well, the symptoms subsided with the advent of the overly-prescribed drugs. For a while. Maybe a week. Then it came back with a vengeance. So I went back to the doctor(who happened to be a 12-year-old girl fresh out of medical school..and a different 12-year-old girl than the one that first diagnosed my smoking-caused problem). This new child also had a “smoke-Nazi” tude. She said…”you should quit smoking”. Yeah, yeah…I know. “Take these stronger antibiotics and make another appointment if they don’t knock it out”. Ok. It did…sort of. For about another week. Then it was back…with chills, sweats and night fevers. I think you can probably see where this is going. One more trip…this time I fell asleep in the waiting room. They came and got me and presented my case to an aging doctor that said “you shouldn’t smoke”. This was about 6 weeks since my original visit to these HMO jerks that seemed more interested in the lunches being provided by the drug-company detail people, than actually practicing their art.
When the ‘real’ doctor looked at my chart, he proclaimed “You mean to tell me that you have had this condition for almost two months and you haven’t had a chest x-ray?!?!”, as if somehow, this lack of medical prognosis was my fault.
He ordered said picture. I had severely advanced bacterial pneumonia. I was hospitalized. They couldn’t combat it. It developed into an empyema.
They had to surgically remove the infection. I spent two weeks in a filthy hospital and a year of my life trying to recuperate. I have a huge scar. They had to remove a rib. Untold pain. It aged me ten years at least. Oh well. Shit happens.
Sue for malpractice? Nah. I ain’t jewish(DAMN…I said I wasn’t going to mention those people!).
Medicine is an inexact science. When I bridged the misdiagnosis during a follow-up visit to the doctor’s clinic that had put me through such unnecessary trauma, they kinda flipped out. Hoping I wouldn’t seek litigation. I told the administrator in charge that I didn’t intend to pursue it. “Money wont give me back a fully-functioning lung, or the ten years that I lost”. “But I would suggest you ease up on the – smoking causes every illness in the world- thing”. It doesn’t. And it is poor medicine as a policy. But hey, we are back to obsessions that I started this thing out with. We all can get so hyper-focused on causes and effects. The best of us. Even me. Anything can look threatening under a microscope. Or when not under the microscope.
So I try to be careful. Careful to see what is presented. Careful to see what is not. I know we are on our own out here. We can’t really trust anyone…but. We can’t go off the deep end either.
I read an article the other day. It was written by someone that seems to share most of my political views. This piece was sensational. Perhaps well-meaning but hysterical. Poor referencing; stretched conclusions; angry and mean. I try not to do that as it hinders what I see as my cause. It gives ammunition to those that oppose my point of view. I always thought that the best way to undermine a cause would be to champion it poorly. People are such suckers for that. I try not to be. But even I have bad days when my anger overtakes my common sense. So I will forgive this particular author and soldier on.
I will cover my nose when sneezing and try to save that falling woman.
I will try to keep my focus. Within. Without.
Let me know if I veer off the path.