Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sick II


And this will be brain to screen, no editing, because yesterday I wrote this and then the machine ate it. Pictures to follow.

Practice-wise, three days ago it got better. I had my monthly review with my senior supervisor, she went through my notes, she used terms like "very good" several times in her review. If there is a suckiness threshold, I occasionally cross it.

What that means is you don't get another serve of cheap white whine from me, where I hunch over the keyboard and complain about how hard it is to see all these sick people - as opposed to, for example, actually being one of the sick people, or a carer for one of the sick people, or a child, or a mother or wife.

I don't know where I heard them, but a proverb, a motto and a curse stick in my mind when it comes to sickness.

The proverb, and I know I mis-remember it, says something to the effect that sickness is a loutish guest, who comes before you are prepared, and stays long after you wish s/he had left, and leaves only at his/her own choosing. And s/he also fills the house with his/her relatives and trashes the house before leaving, although that was not initially mentioned.

The motto was apparently written by Alexander of Tralles in the 6th century - "the physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city, and try to rescue (him) with every means that art and science place at (his) command." I like that way of thinking - while we're undermining the smoking over here, and pouring boiling oil on the bacteria over there, someone with a trebuchet is flinging boulders of prednisolone.

The curse was told to me by my mother. She was the daughter of an SS captain (actually true, we found out years later), and when she was seventeen she had run away with a long-haired Jewish biker. In small-town rural West Australia in the mid nineteen sixties, this caused quite the stir. Correspondingly, you will understand if I am dubious about the origin of this proverb.
But she told me "the Jews" said "May you inherit a shipful of gold, and it not be enough to pay for your medical bills".

Excluding the BPAD, I have been sick maybe three or four times in my life - the "have to lie in bed, can't do what you have to" kind of sick. I got the flu a few years back. Flu is one of those words, like migraine, that people use for mild, essentially trivial illnesses, doubtless to the rage of those who get the Real Thing. Feeling a bit tight behind the eyes is not a migraine, and having a bit of a sniffle is not the flu. The flu doesn't give you the sneezes and make your nose run, the flu smashes you to floor and stands on your chest, wondering if you're worth killing. I lost eight kilos in two weeks with the flu, and when it finished I couldn't walk across the street to the shops without resting.

And I had asthma, wherein I learned that no bugger in hospital tells you anything, and I had some kind of pseudo-appendicaitis, wherein I learned that the patient means the one who waits. And waits, and waits.

Anyhow - off to my two day training session. It's either on advanced life support or self-care for the trainee doctor - I presume if I start chest compressions when I'm meant to be meditating someone will let me know.

More later, including what I was previously writing about the gods of sickness and misfortune, which... unfortunately... got deleted.

Thanks for listening,

1 comment:

  1. it meant a lot to me. Thanks for the wonderful experience.
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