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PlaNet News & Views

Posted on 21-7-09

The Epidemic Of Reassurance
By Alan Marston, 21 July 2009
No doubt about it, health professionals and legions of administration desk
jockeys spend 90% of their time and energy reassuring people they don't
have this and they don't have that. What they do have is usually a mystery
but considered far less significant to health than the 5 minute
application of a talking cure for what is assumed to be the real disease,
I believe they've got it wrong. The talking cure maybe effective in 50 or
40 or 10 percent of cases, not 90. I don't know. What I do know is that
over the years I have adopted the policy in respect of health; work out my
own diagnosis, go to the doctor, whatever he/she says ask for specific
tests in my area of concern. This, without a doubt, works.
By way of evidence let's take the most recent health issue of mine. A
cough. After much reassurance around post nasal drip, post viral
irritation, cold and many not to worries I receive a prescription for
cortisone-like steroid to suppress yes, suppress my immune system -
which I didn't take - but no diagnosis. Being a hard to reassure natural
born cynic I proceeded to try and find out myself what is going on and
settled on Whooping Cough. I proceed to the doctor again for the sole
purpose of getting permission slips for two tests and a referral.
I have Whooping Cough but so far no evidence to suggest lung cancer. I
receive a welcome phone call from the Health Department to, you guessed
it, reassure me that I would fully recover in about another 50 days, that
Whooping Cough is going through a 5 yearly upsurge in adults, that
immunity lasts at best 6 years and that adults can be vaccinated in
conjunction with Tetanus vaccine, if you are prepared to pay, which I am
and most importantly, though way too late, I am past the 3 week infectious
period and cannot pass it on.
I can now leave `The Monastery' in which I live, with a clear conscience.
As for Swine Flu, this pandemic is being dealt with according to the
reassure, reassure and use statistic to reassure again paradigm.
Don't be reassured! Bird Flu could already be coming your way and even if
it isn't in a movie theatre near you, yet, it is coming.
I recommend treating everyone, including yourself, as a source of disease
which may not kill (but then again which may) which will nonetheless
greatly lower your quality and possibly length of life. Paranoiac? Yes,
but not stupid. Even if a night's socialising is more important to you
than 2 weeks on your back, think of me!
But you won't think of me, will you. So I'll have to adopt a policy for
you. Nothing personal. Arms length conversation, wash hands after any
public activity. As for intimacy, unlikely, even after proof of health
It might be lonely for a while, until the pool of health sceptics
increases to the size of a decent gym membership. So be it. After all,
there is nothing more lonely than illness. Nobody will join you in that
activity, except of course, a member of the dwindling pool of people who
are easily reassured.