A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
For those of you who noticed that WD was missing from the Internet last Tuesday, December 5, I have one word for you — pneumonia. For the first time in my life, Flu Season means a lot more to me than, “What a pain in the ass! I have to get jabbed in the arm again this year.” Apparently, this year’s flu is particularly vigorous, and in my case, it was downright rambunctious. In fact, it invited pneumonia over to play, and when the two of them got through with me, I ended up in the hospital. Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of health care, but this is the first time in a long time that I was the guy on the stretcher. My, my, my! How the medical profession has changed!
First of all, everybody is really, really young — so young “tummy” and “bum” are now acceptable medical terminology. It was all very much like High School Musical without the music. However, I know there were drugs involved because, at one point, I thought I was Gulliver lying there, watching a bunch of little people scampering around, acting liked they’d just captured a being from the land of the Old Buggers.
Second, everybody dresses the same. I remember when doctors wore white coats and looked like serious storks, nurses wore green scrubs, were two ax handles across the shoulders and could flip a 100 kilo man over on his stomach (tummy?) as easily as a fry cook flips bacon. These days, the guy in purple could be anything from a cashier to a cardiologist, and I have the feeling I gave most of my medical history to a very polite young person who was on her way to get her swollen wrist x-rayed. C’est la vie!
Finally, and this is a biggie, the wards have gone co-ed — and, even though I believe in a lot more gender equality than most people (for example, I’m a big fan of women in combat) I do not approve. Why? Because men and women don’t get sick the same way. When men get sick, they revert to their childhood and have one thing on their mind: IT’S ABOUT ME! However, when women get sick, they go a lot further back than that. They return to a time when plague, and famine and pestilence roamed the Earth, and women were the dominant gender. This was long before the trauma and drama of shaming and blaming and feminine hygiene, at a time when serious girls didn’t get pushed around by sleazy Red Carpet Romeos who thought they had an Oscar in their pants. (Kate Hepburn dealt with guys like Sam Goldwyn, she would have laughed Weinstein off the planet, and Ava Gardner probably would have introduced him to her size 5 patent leather slingbacks — but I digress.)
The reality is, sick women are the busiest beings on the planet because, for millennia, they had to be — or our species would have died out. Think about it! Give a man a cold and you get a useless mass of whining, crying and complaining — unable to defend himself. Give a woman a cold, and you will get a clean house, the laundry done, the car washed, a gourmet meal, two kids bathed and in bed and a pot of chicken soup for the guy on the sofa, with the sniffles — and that’s all after she’s come home from work. So, putting men and women in the same hospital room is just throwing fuel on both fires.
Let me demonstrate. I was in the hospital, battling the worst strain of influenza this planet has seen in 50 years, with a whack of pneumonia on the side, and when I got out, I discovered I’d gained weight. Impossible? No! You see, every night the girls from beds 1 and 2 would sneak down to the nurses’ station to use the microwave. They’d come back with batches of homemade cookies, and we’d all watch Riverdale. I was so sick I could barely eat seven per episode..