Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Inexact medicine and isolation.

So I had the “Photodynamic Blue Light Therapy” to treat the “Actinic Keratoses” on my face.  It was all quite simple.

At 10:00 I signed the consent for treatment form which included the amazingly honest phrase “remember that medicine is not an exact science”.

Next my face was daubed with “Levulan” and I retired to the Doctor’s waiting room and browsed my New Yorker magazine for an hour.

After that hour I returned to her office and sat in the “Blue Light Machine”  for exactly 16 minutes and 40 seconds. 

I had to wear goggles, so I phantasised that I was an ace pilot in World War I. ( I’ve read too many Peanuts cartoons).
 
The treatment was painless, apart from some very mild stinging.

Then I drove home.  

I have to be under voluntary house arrest for two days so as to avoid the sun whilst the old pre-cancerous cells die, and the new cells grow. 

Seven hours later I observe some inflammation on parts of my face -  an indication that the treatment is working.  Next there will be some peeling, and within a few days my face should be as soft as a baby’s bum.

Modern medicine -   (however inexact)  – is amazing.  I rejoice in the progress and improvements which science has enabled, and I deeply regret that all too many American fundamentalist Christians are determinedly anti-scientific.

But for now I am at home and being obedient to the medical advice to stay inside for 48 hours after the treatment.  Suddenly my world has shrunk to about 1500 square yards of space.  I cannot go outside to walk; I cannot make an impulsive drive to the supermarket; I cannot take care of some yard work. I cannot walk with my dog.

 This too shall pass.

So on this day I have read a lot, and will read more.  A few friends have called to enquire about my treatment.  A good friend (Ben) stopped by for a while. 

I have been a wee bit bored.

My brief isolation has led to think about the lives of many elderly people who live alone, and are too frail to venture outdoors without assistance.   I know that many of them are bored beyond belief in their prolonged isolation. They hate the idea of living in a Nursing Home, and they long to die.

It’s odd to think that the inexact science of modern medicine has created a host of folks who are sustained by pills and procedures, but whose souls and spirits have already died.  What a fate.


Medicine and medical procedures apart, the hardest part for me is that I miss my lovely dog Penne.  She is with her occasional sitters Ron and Lee.  They will take good care of her.

But as soon as the sun sets on Thursday evening I will drive to their house and bring my fabulous pooch home.

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