Sandwich a Bio-Hazard?

Imbolc                                        Waning Wild Moon

Those in the health care world, at least the care provider part of it, use medical in a way most of us lay folk don’t.  They ask people they meet, especially spouses like me, if they’re “medical.”  Kate payed me a compliment in this vernacular a few months back by saying, “He probably doesn’t realize how medical you are.”

What does it mean?  In part it means a familiarity with the everyday life of medicine, that is, a life dealing with blood, sputum, questions about constipation or overactive bladders, stitching up wounds or struggling with life or death in a code blue type situation.  I sense, too, that it refers to an acceptance of the brute facts of life.  Illness and trauma happen and they happen to all sorts of people at all sorts of times in their lives.

At some point the news can be bad, “He didn’t make it.” or “You have lung cancer.” kind of bad.  They also know, better than most of us, that death comes in many forms and that it comes to us all.  There is a contradiction here; however, since contemporary medicine sees death as the enemy and procedural medicine as their chief weapons in this apocalyptic struggle.  I use the word apocalyptic here in reference to the universe that dies with each person.

Medical also means going into the refrigerator for something to eat, taking what looks like a sandwich in a ziploc bag and discovering the container says:  Specimen Transport Bag and has the red and black bio-hazard emblem with BIOHAZARD written in bold black letters against the red field.

Being medical does put you in a world different from the day to day, where we consider normality health, enjoy a certain consistency to our routine and find trauma or illness an upsetting deviation.  It’s been a privilege, this past 20 years, to learn about it from the inside.

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