2009/09/22

Pains, Cold War, so-called rogue states and terrorists

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Imagine you've got a headache.
I know a 100% reliable method of getting rid of that pain:
Break your arm.

It works. A greater pain displaces the other pain - you don't care about the headache any more if your arm is broken.

We lived our lifes with a broken arm for fourty years. Then it fixed itself. Suddenly, we began to feel a headache that we didn't take seriously before. Our whole stupid mind began to focus on the new, previously irrelevant, pain. Now here we are, spending even more for painkillers on a lesser pain than before - and cannot get rid of it.

Now if we only learned to ignore the lesser pain as we did it before - but without breaking an arm. The painkiller bill is really despicable and hurts our general warfare - err, sorry, welfare.

Well, maybe it's human fallibility to elevate the currently most pressing pain to "unacceptable" status, no matter how small it actually is. Maybe we're doomed to seek out the tiniest pains if there's no greater one, we probably need them to define ourselves.


On the other hand - maybe if we used reason to control our actions and kicked away all those easily scared pussies who whine about a scratch - maybe we could focus on avoiding major wounds instead of addressing scratches with a huge pharmaceutical arsenal?



Sven Ortmann
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4 comments:

  1. Right. And I'd like to stress another point: the fool idea that "doing nothing" about a certain issue, it doesn't matter how serious, equals "doing evil". Out of security matters, all the fuss (and marketing) around the H1N1 flu is the first example that comes to my mind...

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  2. I covered that already. :-)

    http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2007/09/we-need-to-do-something.html

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  3. Right.

    Except the broken arm he lived with for forty years certainly did not fix itself, and was such a bad fracture that local doctors were incapable of handling it themselves, requiring the help of doctors from other countries. So that his arm would not have to be amputated, so that with enough therapy and medical care he could keep his arm and use it as he grew older.

    The same foreign doctors that had spent a considerable amount of effort 50 years previously curing his parents from a terrible affliction.

    And then imagine a patient who visits the doctor infrequently for a regular checkup because he usually feels fine, but this time the doctor tells him that he wants to schedule another appointment to take care of a little problem he notices on his neck, caused by too much exposure to the sun. He thinks to himself that it isn't a big problem, because he doesn't feel anything, and besides, he can't even see it, it is minor and not very noticeable. And the doctor probably just needs more money to buy a retirement home in Ibiza.

    So he continues to lead his irresponsible life, visiting all the FKK beaches, not caring about it all. Until the next checkup at the doctor, when tests show that minor little problem on his neck has changed to a basal cell carcinoma and will require major surgery, but because the doctors in that area haven't kept up with their medical continuing education, and don't bother keeping up with new equipment and diagnostic methods, they are not capable of performing that level of surgery, and he will have to be referred to a better doctor, in a bigger city in a bigger medical center.

    And the doctor there, who has kept current on his medical skills (because it makes him a better doctor), performs the surgery, which requires radical neck dissection, removing dozens of lymph nodes and removal of half the jaw. For something that should have been taken care of
    months earlier with a some liquid nitrogen, a scalpel and a few sutures. And then sends the patient back to his original doctor with instructions for a follow-up course of radiation and chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from recurring.

    But the local doctors think it isn't necessary for the patient to undergo any more treatment, he should be fine just as he is, and send him home. And then the patient returns later and the cancer has returned, and this time when he is sent back to the surgeon who did the original
    surgery, that surgeon asks him why the doctors in his town are so incompetent, and because of their complacency, his cancer is now
    inoperable, and he will not survive, or will live in a seriously debilitated condition until he dies.


    And further imagine someone writing a blog, whose only medical knowledge is from a biology class he took 20 years ago, criticizing the better doctors in the bigger hospital for destroying that man's face to cure a little blemish on the back of his neck, something he couldn't even see, something he couldn't even feel.
    And then imagine that blogger needing the same kind of medical care, but the surgeon refuses to take the referral and treat him, saying if he takes all the difficult cases from them, the local doctors will remain sub-standard and not capable of much more than passing out aspirin.

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  4. Yep, fraidy-cats scream "cancer" when they have a scratch.

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