By Drs. E. Noordermeer
Somehow people are prone to doom scenarios. Climate prophets threaten a rising sea level. The WWF lists one million species in danger of extinction. Plant species are also disappearing. Financial trend watchers are not rosy either. Our money system is about to explode or implode, banks can collapse, our money can evaporate and we may end up begging.
They paint an uncertain future and the average Westerner doesn’t like that. Ideally, all risks should be covered. In essence, Western man is a fearful being. Regardless of whether these prophets of doom are right or not, their doomsday scenarios flourish because they confront man with his deepest fear, the fear of… death.
Now a major prophet of doom has joined us, the white-coat prophet. His worst-case scenario sounds daily: “If we do not adhere to the RIVM (Dutch Health Care Authority) guidelines, there will soon be no place in the IC for a Corona-patient and someone may die!”
In the meantime we have learned that being ill is okay, as long as medical help is available. Right? From now on, first inquire at the hospital about how the departments are doing before taking any action. If the emergency room has a place, you can party recklessly. You can also go on winter sports, there are plenty of plaster rooms. No fireworks for a while, the ophthalmologists are busy. It is possible to conceive children, the maternity wards are not overloaded. But during a baby boom, when the maternity wards are full, that should stop for a while. Also first contact the doctor to inquire whether there is room during the consultation hour before you let your children play outside. Imagine one falls and needs to be stitched. Immediately inquire whether the tetanus shot is in stock in case the wound is deep. That would be too great a risk.
I’m exaggerating here to make a point clearly. Since when has capacity in healthcare been the determining factor in our daily activities? What makes that I should have that care guarantee? We simply cannot live with the idea that lack of medical care can be fatal. Yet that is the case in many countries. There are plenty of (developing) countries where medical care is not properly arranged. From our current experience, such countries should constantly live in lockdown. That is of course not the case. Those people just live with the fact that medical help is lacking.
They may die from lack of medical care, but remember that we are dying to our prosperity. It is not for nothing that we call it lifestyle diseases and most of us die from it. Sometimes we die because of medical care (surgery or medication), sometimes in an accident, sometimes from depression and suicide. And sometimes we can die for lack of medical care. So what! Why do we make such a big point of it? Answer: Because we cannot handle death well. If civilians cannot put death into perspective, they will always remain in the grip of doomsday prophets of any kind.
Fear of death is understandable. It is a nasty enemy for all of us that we will sooner or later face, but it is unjustified, unhealthy, even phobic to adjust our daily life accordingly. Daily life is about LIFE. The forced, unnatural way in which we have to deal with each other due to all Corona measures has turned our daily life into daily death. No physical closeness, no comfort, no hugs, no weddings, no singing, no family meals, no children’s parties, and so on. Funerals have become even more dead than they already were. Because in all the physical contact – hugs, shaking hands, comforting arm – and in an intimate gathering with loved ones, mourners find comfort and it fixes them back to life. That is now being taken away from them. We live in a culture of death. Death, deal with it, but don’t let it lead you. LIVE!
We may not have a consensus on what life is all about. As long as you eat and breathe, you live. Is that the case, is it not more about vegetating? Life is an experience. It is the circumstances that cause someone to experience existence. People want to be an entrepreneur, take care of themselves and their family, maintain relationships, love, believe, be heard and recognized. So life is the right to do business, the right to generate income, to maintain relationships, to love, believe, be heard and recognized. Someone who is dying, but who enjoys life rights, is a dying living person. A well-fed human being whose life rights have been taken away is a living dying person.
Many believe there is light at the end of the tunnel and everything will return to normal. As much as I would like to confirm their hopes, it is no longer possible. Although all measures are lifted and everything seems normal again, as a society we have shown that we are willing to submit to a medical dictatorship. Perhaps the medical dictatorship has reduced the number of Corona deaths, but society has been irreparably damaged. She has been stripped of her soul. Operation successful, patient died.
People who oppose the measures do so because the severity and mortality of this Coronavirus is not too bad. The current measures are therefore unjustifiable. Suppose there is another virus that is much more dangerous – with a high mortality – are these resistance heroes open to a medical dictatorship? It’s a matter of principle. If we don’t learn to deal with death, if we don’t come to the belief that life is worth so much it can cost, we will embrace medical dictatorship again.
“I would rather add life to my days than days to my life.”Cicely Saunders
If I get Corona and I have to go to an IC and there is no place, I hope to recover at home with oxygen and proven medication. And if not, I’ll just … die. And who says the IC could have saved me? But I would like to live to my death. And the latter is now being taken away from me. How wise the British nurse Cicely Saunders (1918-2005) was when she said: “I would rather add life to my days than days to my life.”