One of the most common defence strategies employed by people caught red-handed is to assert that their dubious activities did not breach the law of the land. Quite often, such claims prove to be correct: the activities, though dubious, were in conformity with the letter of the law. The main problem with the written law is that it is incapable of foreseeing every possible combination of human activity and circumstance and – by extension – its outcomes, effects and results. It’s impossible to create law to regulate in minute detail the complexities of human society. Even when such attempts are made, usually by autocratic or dictatorial regimes, people’s creativity finds a way round such laws. Let me give you an example. By the end of the 18th century my home country was partitioned by its three neighbouring powers. After 120 years Poland briefly recovered its independence, only to fall under bestial Nazi occupation, and subsequently to come under tyrannical Soviet domination. For nearly two centuries my compatriots had to live under oppressive, sometimes openly hostile, laws. Circumventing those laws became a patriotic duty and a national sport to such an extent that a proverb was coined: ‘The law is for bypassing.’ Of course, the ability to find loopholes isn’t reserved solely to the Poles. It’s the daily bread and legitimate business model of many lawyers.
3 weeks left to go! My usual week of medical problems – plus a few neuro things this week – epilepsy and potentially undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease. I am continually surprised by the patients that I encounter! Secondary screening has now finished. Now that secondary screening has been completed, Rachael is now working with me in the eye room, she will continue to do so until the end of surgery (28 March). Continue reading “Sunday 11 March 2018”
‘The Good Old Days.’ That’s an expression that brings to mind lovely memories of the (usually distant) past when everything was better than it is now. It’s a verbal and mental remedy that’s employed to soothe the uncertainties and anxieties of the here-and-now as well as of the future. Yet in fact the nostalgia of ‘The Good Old Days’ is only as effective as a placebo. We may yearn for the safety and certainties of the past only because that past has been significantly amended in our minds. The bad things of the past have either lost some of their painful emotional edge or have faded away, while the good things of those days have been enhanced. Constantly looking back to ‘The Good Old Days’ is the mental equivalent of resorting to tranquillisers, harmless enough unless it becomes a tool for escaping from the present.
I am now entering my final 4 weeks. The cataract surgeries continue at a pace – we are still doing 15 – 20 surgeries per day. I have my usual complaints of diabetes and high blood pressure, plus a patient this week who was in a motorbike accident the night before, and someone else who is under the continuing care of a Cardiologist! I often think that ‘by now, I must have seen everything’, but I am still discovering new things, no 2 days are ever the same! I have attached the recently updated eye team photo – Rachael joined the team just after Christmas and wanted a photo of everyone. Continue reading “Sunday 4 March 2018”
Last weekend I had quite an interesting conversation at the dinner table. The topic put forward for discussion by my guest was a rather pessimistic view of the world order, where a small number of big companies are on the point of taking over control of the entire global market, from commodities to the food chain. Governments will become servile to those companies because of their financial power and influence. The rather dispiriting vision was of a high-level conspiracy theory. Interestingly enough, all the companies mentioned in the vision happened to be based in the Western democratic countries, governed by allegedly servile yet democratically-elected parliaments. Absent from the vision were those powerful but as-yet undemocratic countries, where corruption and dubious connections between business and civil authorities have long been endemic. It was possible to create such a pessimistic vision of Western democracies because there’s plethora of information available out there. As long as we continue to hear or read about scandals, governmental abuse of power, monopolistic practices and so on, we can feel safe. Does that sound contradictory? Perhaps. But it means that there are institutions, organisations, journalists and others who keep in check people of influence and power, and look at what they’re up to.
I returned to work last Monday. I had another nurse (Rachael) helping me during my first few days. Rachael is the second scheduling nurse who usually works at the ophthalmic secondary screening site at the local hospital. She said she really enjoyed the change and will probably be coming again to my room to work with me when the screening ends next week. Rachael is an Ophthalmic nurse from the UK (has just retired) and she is here with her husband, Bill, who is working in the galley. It was good to have some help and a short working week, for my return to work, as I remained quite tired and it took a lot out of me. However, business as usual, and Monday started off with a patient who had recent typhoid and someone else with possible TB!!!!!! Rachael commented that the previous week (when she was covering my job) went fairly smoothly, so no surprise that it was not the same for me! I never seem to have a quiet week! Continue reading “Sunday 25 February 2018”