[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes about medical topics and biotech stocks for the Irregulars. He has agreed to our trading restrictions, and his thoughts and words are his own. Enjoy!]
Here we are, solidly in the postmodern 21st century, “so late in the goddam day,” as one of novelist Martin Amis’s characters says, and what still harms us? What drives us to seek medical attention, gets us hospitalized, causes us to miss work, causes us to suffer? And does so almost unchanged in the last 100 or 1000 years?
As a medicine intern in doldrums of December, I admitted to a VA hospital an HIV-infected veteran who was protesting his illness by not taking his antiretroviral drugs. He was febrile, congested, coughing, and with a low white cell count. He was also despondent, not taking care of himself. He wasn’t trying.
I leaned forward over him to listen to his heart. Just then, he coughed mightily—a salvo of virions— into my face, with no effort to cover his cough. I probably didn’t conceal it well: I was not happy about being coughed on. “OK, that can’t happen again please, sir,” I said. I left his bedside, found a sink, and washed my face, hands and arms with a povidone-iodine scrub to try killing the critter payload with which I’d just been splattered.
A futile measure: between cold weather and the insomniac exhaustion of being an intern, by the following evening I had hectic fevers and severe body aches. By next morning, early features of bronchitis, headache, a rash, and had crusts and discharges from both eyes were underway. He had an adenovirus, basically a respiratory bug, and now so did I. Usual medicines quelled the fever, but my eyes burned, hurt, and were the worst symptom…the misery of pinkeye. I’d not missed any medical training from illness, and interns are reluctant to call in ill, as their role is vital and no one is available to cover for them: your work burden gets dumped on someone who already has a full burden. But I felt far too ill to work, and regarded it as wrong to be literally spewing adenovirus in a way that could infect hospitalized patients (patients do not get admitted to hospitals because they are in excellent health). I spent two days in bed, and during that time marveled that despite all ...
This is a discussion topic or guest posting submitted by a Stock Gumshoe reader. The content has not been edited or reviewed by Stock Gumshoe, and any opinions expressed are those of the author alone.