As a wrote years ago in a column called “Die, you bastard..but not yet”, my continuing to survive as an increasingly senior citizen of Australia puts me in a highly paradoxical situation.
On the one hand the conservative government that’s committed to paying my age pension clearly wishes that I’d do the right thing and die, or else, like considerable numbers of my fellow hopelessly elderly males, kill myself, and thus relieve it of the crushing financial burden of continuing to subsidise my worthless existence.
But on the other hand it hasn’t yet found a way to rid itself, as it would dearly love to, of the extremely expensive system of universal publicly-funded Medicare that it’s still cursed with courtesy of a long-ago Labor government, and thus remains committed to spending endless amounts of money on keeping me alive.
And I’m vividly reminded of this confusingly conflicting situation every time that Medicare-funded medical science once again strains Australia’s federal budget by saving my skin.
As it has done in the most literal sense before by spotting and surgically removing a series of skin cancers including two malignant and thus potentially-terminal melanomas, and is again metaphorically attempting to do by diagnosing and if necessary treating my current case of suspected lung cancer.
Let me spare you the morbid and mind-numbing details of this process beyond stating the bare facts that a regular chest x-ray revealed something called a ‘lesion’, which, in light of my 57-year history of cigarette-smoking, was viewed with some medical alarm.
And when subsequent scans showed that said lesion was, albeit slowly, increasing in size, a thoracic specialist I’d love to name in celebration of his concern, kindness, knowledge and skill, but won’t because I doubt he either needs or wants such publicity, proposed a biopsy.
A procedure to which, considering that the ‘bio’ part of its name implied that it would be done while I was alive and there was a very good chance I’d survive, in stark contrast to those containing the dreaded syllables ‘aut’ as in autopsy or ‘mort’ as in post-mortem, I readily agreed.
Especially as it was to take place in the Sydney hospital that I not only happen to live closest to, but for whose staff I feel most familiarity and indeed affection for the superlative treatment they’ve lavished on me over the years, Royal Prince Alfred, aka RPA.
And in the event, I got to enjoy this repeat of the RPA experience far more than I’d bargained for, as the needle biopsy, as I’d been cautioned it might, caused a pneumothorax, a condition more better known to us laypersons as a collapsed lung, with the result that I found myself hospitalised for three days while the offending leaking chest-wall mended itself.
And while I was enjoying this albeit involuntary RPA hospitality at what an ever-grudging conservative government likes to falsely claim is its expense, though in truth every cent is provided by tax-paying citizens, I found I had lots of time to think.
And of course the most compelling question for consideration in the circumstances was how come that inside RPA, and, I presume, all other hospitals worthy of the name, existence is all about threats to people’s lives, as suggested by symptoms, confirmed by precision instruments and treated by surgeons using cutting-edge techniques and equipment or by physicians dispensing the latest pharmacological remedies, but that we leave the health of the population, and indeed of Planet Earth itself, to politicians.
Or, to reframe this question more succinctly and personally, what was I doing seeking the truth of what might be ailing me by submitting myself to a biopsy, yet permitting myself, my country and indeed the entire world to be governed by politricksters specialising in lieopsies?
In lieopsies like, to keep this conversation local to Australia for the moment, fake government ‘investigations’ of the causes of catastrophic bushfires specifically designed to deny the pivotal role played by climate change.
Or like the recent lieopsy, or rather, considering the circumstances, rortopsy into the massive ‘sports rorts’ vote-buying scam conducted by a now former minister and masterminded by the still-surviving though disgraced Australian Prime Minister, Scott ‘ScamMo/ScumMo’ Morrison/Morriscon.
This man is such a pathological liar and denier that he’s had the effrontery to pretend to accept that the decades of scientific biopsies conducted on Earth’s environment, plus, of course, all the recent voter-alarming symptoms, appear to confirm a diagnosis of global warming, and yet to propose not the diminished combustion of fossil fuels, but a shift from coal from monster mines to gas produced by the even more environmentally disastrous process of so-called ‘fracking’.
And meanwhile, to turn to the most fracking appalling practitioners on the planet of lietopsy at its very lowest, the Party lording it over the fake ‘People’s’ Republic of China has engaged in its customary combination of political and medical denial followed by too-late admission of the conovirus outbreak, plus its customary release since of fake infection- and death-rate statistics.
So, what have I come up with as a remedy if not cure for the system of lieopsy, lieagnosis and thus fake remedies for the world’s problems that pathological politicians and the special interests they pimp for perennially inflict on us all?
Simply, though of of course unachievably, that people demand from their politicians the same degree of truth, professionalism and ethical practice that we expect of those who biopsy and otherwise diagnose and treat us in RPA and other similarly hospitable establishments.
And that we all unite in such undying hostility to all those PMs as in prime ministers and other such prime and presidential mendacities who can’t or won’t stop plaguing us, our peers and our planet with the kind of lieopsies and pie-in-the-skyopsies that threaten to someday prove our dieopsies, as to threaten them with political if not personal PMs as in post-mortems.