We live in confusing times. The year began with a run on toilet tissue and ended in totalitarianism. Will it be looked back upon as an aberration, or precedent?
I had a patient this morning. More precisely, I telephoned him.
He suffered a myocardial infarction last year and is on anti-hypertensives. His last few BP measurements showed very good, stable control. He barricades himself in his home against the rogue cold virus each time the government locks-down. He expressed terror about the link between hypertension and an enhanced Covid-19 risk.
I would say he is, like the government, somewhat delusional about it or at the very least harbours some fixed false beliefs towards it. Hence, he measures his blood pressure many times a day. It fibrillates up and down with the propaganda. Masks are not enough for him. He refuses to leave his home until Johnson and Hancock lift lockdown. He asks me to increase his medications without seeing him.
The easy cure might be to turn off his TV and smartphone.
But, there is more bipolarity, more paradox, more human folly. He refuses to come out for a hypertension review until he receives his Covid-19 vaccinations. I ask him how he suggests doing that? Perhaps he could find it reasonable to specifically come for his vaccine and have an opportunistic BP? He pauses, and then refuses. Classic Joseph Heller, Catch-22.
Nothing surprises me these days in medical practice, so without a pause I remind him that we are not currently offering a bespoke domiciliary vaccination service. He remains insistent. As his doctor, I try to reassure him he is not at any great risk. I remind him we pay great lip service to all the viral psychological interventions such as porous ill-fitting mask, alcohol gel and … polythene apron.
Rather selectively, he dismisses these sacred verses of the government propaganda. As if to out-fox me, he replies in denouement, ‘Okay, I won’t come in, then.’ I leave it open for him to come back to us. It is not only the rule of law, but also the practice of medicine which has succumbed to hysteria.
He is the ideal citizen of the corporate pharmaceutical Gods. Open to suggestion, vulnerable to propaganda, crouched with bayoneted rifle in trench against an unavoidable, invisible particle. Always willing to go above and beyond the unreasonable demands of tyrants. He trusts the government would only deliver a safe, effective vaccine.
In a way he mirrors his irrational and unreasonable government which projects an illusion of effective control, when there is only effective tyranny. Sometimes it is wisest to be honest with each other. Sweden did this. UK politics has a culture of denial and dishonesty.
The first stage in our national mourning and truth-telling will be to acknowledge the disaster was not COVID-19, it was the government’s response to it. It was duped and blindsided by a commercial takeover.
ELIXIR OF THE GODS
Pharma marketeers have not accidentally happened on the Covid-19 elixir of control. They have made countless practice runs. Think of all the quasi-pandemics in the last twenty years. Think of how statin propaganda captured the upper and middle classes for a generation. I remember general practice at the time. Patients would quote the Daily Mail and beg to be put on statin.
A few years later the same would quote the same newspaper and beg to be taken off them because their muscles ached terribly. An about turn, but the smell of fear never left them.
I recall the surreal feeling at the time. Was I a doctor or a life insurance salesman? In 2014, as patients fled, patents loosened and other formulations competed, the NICE guidelines halved the statistical risk threshold at which statins should be prescribed. It captured 4.5 million more consumers.
I would never take statins unless I had a familial hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia. In those inheritable conditions one can quickly see the thick, immiscible layer of human fat float to the top of a resting blood sample. For anything else, put me to work on a farm with an unrefined, natural diet.