Life Is A…

Medicine can be so arrogant sometimes.

How can doctors “save people’s lives” when people just die later of something else.

The latest cancer treatment announces it has reduced the mortality by half. Really. Please put the time-frame back in and say something like, “within the first 5 years after treatment.”

Human life is after all, as the saying goes, a sexually-transmitted terminal disease.

Would we be better off removing the idea of “saving” people, or of “curing” disease?

“Cure” is often a bad description. Perhaps “life-long remission” is more accurate.

And in fact “getting ill” is not correct either. In this era of genetic fatalism how about “initial spontaneous relapse” for any new illness.

The bugs and nasties are all around us just waiting for us to succumb. Modern medical theory says that cancers are already in us being cleaned up by our immune system until the day that they escape and take their opportunity to wreak havoc.

Accepting the end will come brings importance to the fact that we are here now.

Are you waiting, or are you making the most of how your life is today?

-Dr Martin Russell

One thought on “Life Is A…”

  1. Martin,
    I just finished reading “Tuesdays With Morrie” and was very moved by Prof Morrie Schwartz’s dignity, humour and bravery in the face of his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

    How I wished that he could dance just one more time or go touch those leaves he could only stare at from his room.

    But then,if such a miracle was to happen, I wonder would Morrie have had second thoughts (as perverse as it sounds to think like that)- since he, in his own words, wanted to be known as a “teacher to the last” (IIRC). And the book that his one time student, author Mitch Albion, eventually published was a kind of final thesis.

    For me, that inspiring book already has me looking for answers to the question asked at the end of your article.

    There are lots of great stories and truths recounted in this short volume – I really loved the “living funeral” that Morrie had while he was still able to function “normally”.

    Reminds me of my Granny once telling me – “No point leaving flowers for the dead; give’em while they’re still alive and kicking.”


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