I watched a television programme last night.
I didn't really mean to watch it but I couldn't find the remote control to switch it off [it has slipped down behind the cushion again], but once it started I carried on watching.
It was one of those mildly irritating programmes on health where they try to explain to us in words of one syllable why we should take more exercise, stop smoking and all the usual yadda yadda stuff. One of the slots they did was about cooking oils and which is safest to cook with. Apparently when heated, oil becomes a deadly carcinogenic or something so they tested to see which one came out best and which was worst. According to their test results, the healthiest thing to fry with is butter, and the worst is olive oil. You live and learn? Anyhows, after that result I started concentrating a bit more.
They got onto the subject of preventative medicine and in particular, cancer.
They talked about breast cancer and interviewed an expert who stated that for every life they saved, they probably put twenty others through needless surgery and misery.
They talked about prostate cancer where they use a blood test [Doc insists in bleeding me for that every year], which shows the presence of the cancer but doesn’t indicate how virulent it is. As a result, victims are trundled off for surgery [which results in impotence and incontinence] when the chances are they probably have a mild form that won't kill them until they are already dead, as it were. So they have to spend the rest of their lives pissing themselves and forgetting about any more rumpy pumpy, and all for nothing.
The general consensus seemed to be that all this screening was fine but it tends to generate more harm and panic, compared to the lives that are potentially saved. Their bottom line was that it would be far better if the health service stopped all these health prevention measures and concentrated the cash and effort on finding proper cures for those that actually have the ailment or disease. I could drink [and smoke] to that.
Through the course of the programme, the lead presenter kept nipping off for various tests that the neurotic can have performed on themselves. He went for heart scans, MRI scans, x-rays, DNA tests and a load of others that people love to waste their money on. Each result told him that he was fine [though several advised him to go on Statins – the latest great Pharma gimmick] except for the last. He was told that according to a DNA test that he was had a high probability of developing Dementia, or Parkinson's [can’t remember which]. So he now has to spend the rest of his days worrying about the potential without being able to do a damned thing about it.
If some oracle stopped me in the street and asked me if I wanted to know my future, I'd tell 'em to fuck off. If I am at high risk of dying from some particular disease I don't want to know about it. If I am going to be struck by a runaway lorry I would prefer to discover the fact when the radiator has mere inches to go before splattering me over the tarmac.
So stop nagging me about how I can prolong my life, and sticking needles in me so you can prescribe medicines with horrible side-effects. The oracle may know my due date but I don't and nor do you. Maybe I'll hit the Guinness Book of Records for longevity but probably won't. I am really not interested.
There ain't no point in giving up all the pleasures in life only to be hit by a truck?