On the walking dead

The widow of a man I much loved (once my admired boss), flattered the doctors and nurses in the Canadian hospital where she watched him die. Her husband went in as a hopeless case, and they kept him alive for four months. This might not seem a major achievement, but she said they were the best four months of her life; and of his, too, she thought. Depths were plumbed, and she discovered “true love,” after a long life of “faking it.” This, anyway, is how she put it. She would always be grateful for the time that was granted through this medical staff. It took a lot of work.

Now, had he been dying during our Batflu “crisis,” this wouldn’t have happened. The lady would have been banned from entering the hospital. Had he been suspected of “Covid-19,” instead of four months, her husband might have lived four days in a ventilator. He would have spent them, if he was lucky, in the semi-coma he came in with. Funerals were denied. His lady would have been left in despair. According to her, she would have taken to the bottle. Thanks to four months, she doesn’t drink, any more.

I shouldn’t seem to be disparaging the “walking dead.” As a critic writes, in many Batflu deaths, the co-morbidities were “manageable” (diabetes, hypertension, &c). The “last straw,” which finished the patient off, cost him only a few months, or perhaps even years. These could have been invaluable.

Time is what we have, on this planet. It is a mysterious thing, as Augustine and other ancients explained. It seems glib and straightforward, until we try to think it through. We have, indeed, limited time to get a handle on it. We waste our time, unconscionably; yet there are moments when we don’t.

I tried to explain this, myself, to another old friend, diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was accused of insensitivity, for making her feel uncomfortable with a decision. She had “opted” for the “MAID” euphemism, the “medical assistance in dying” that grows ever more popular in Canada, so that it may become our leading cause of death, after abortions. She need no longer fear my insensitivity, however. She’s dead now, thanks to a doctor.

We have a society that just wants to die; to get it over with. Or kill “nicely,” the flip side of the coin. This is what happens when a world is built around convenience, with the perverse notions of “efficiency” that follow. While in good health, our time is wasted, on cheap pleasures; or working at trash jobs, to pay for them. We have a “culture of death,” as a recent Saint called it.

Another good friend, reading my Thing column today (here), warned that I might be condemned for insensitivity, for something I wrote that people won’t understand. I said that the Batflu toll is dominated by old people with multiple co-morbidities, i.e. one foot in the grave already. The Red Chinese virus might have pulled the other one in, or maybe it didn’t. But it’s an easy thing to write on a death certificate, currently. Inflating the numbers is a lucrative game.

My mama, who was a champion nurse, taught me not to be sentimental about medical conditions. Instead, we should care for persons, who are afflicted in one way or another. Getting emotional about numbers — which I notice is all the rage in modernity — makes no sense.

A person who is dying is not a statistic. Conversely, a statistic is not a person dying. I used to think non-morons could grasp this. My confidence is sorely tested by events.