Monday, February 23, 2009

Quotes: Medicine (5)

Medicine 254 " …it was in a way a very merciful death—though slow—for it was without pain, turning from a fitful fever into an unconquerable laziness strange to see in the busy natives of the lake shore; it passed, this death, from lethargy into a ridiculous sleepiness that made the mouths of the Negroes fall open while they ate; it went at last from such a drowsiness into a delicious coma—no waking from this!—and into a horrible unnatural coldness that merged with the chill of the grave…African sleeping sickness…a few years it had killed hundreds of thousands of the people of Uganda, it had sent brave missionaries to meet their God, and English colonial administrators home to their final slumber." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. Vivid description of a slow death. RayS.

Medicine 7 "Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice…doctors were puzzled by the fact that it wasn’t quite jaundice; if it became jaundice they could treat it." Heller, Catch-22. That's all right. If doctors don't treat what's wrong with you, they will find something they can treat. For example, high blood pressure. RayS.

Medicine 33 "Their names were Gus and Wes and they had succeeded in elevating medicine to an exact science: all men reporting on sick call with temperatures above 102 were rushed to the hospital; all those…reporting on sick call with temperatures below 102 had their gums and toes painted with gentian violet solution and were given a laxative…all those reporting on sick call with temperatures of exactly 102 were asked to return in an hour to have their temperatures taken again." Heller, Catch-22. That's what's known as a complete and foolproof system. Probably as useful as any other methods doctors use. RayS.

Medicine 178 "One of the things he wanted to start screaming about was the surgeon’s knife that was almost certain to be waiting for him and everyone else who lived long enough to die." Heller, Catch-22. If you live long enough you will face surgery sometime in your life. RayS.

Medicine 179 "It’s not my business to save lives, Doc Daneeka retorted sullenly…all they ever told me was to uphold the ethics of my profession and never give testimony against another physician." Heller, Catch-22. A doctor's training. Doctors don't cure. They make patients sick. RayS.

Medicine 343 "There are so many ways for me to get killed, Yossarian commented, and you had to find one more." Heller, Catch-22. Doctors can put a label on any kind of death. But the usual scapegoat is "hole in the heart." RayS.

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