As one last self-obsessed post about my health, I’m doing much better. I have been back in the office for a few weeks now. I’m not splitting the atom after all; all I have to do is sit and listen. Did I mention that I love my job? I have a stack of cards, a couple stuffed animals, several grocery bags filled with Cheetos (a long story), and many supportive emails… all from my patients!
Looking back I am amazed at how sick I was without knowing I was sick. So people don’t usually breathe 30 times per minute?? And despite my problems with electronic records, the apps provided by hospital systems let me to look back at data collected over the past few months. I can follow my temp, for example, as it went from 37.5 to 18 degrees C. I can see my vitals when I went on bypass and lost pulsatile blood flow. I get the feeling that I’m spying on something I’m not supposed to see, even though it was me. My body, at least.
And because several people asked, no, I did not have visions when I was ‘dead’. I shared some dreams and psychotic episodes from my post-op days, but during surgery it was all ‘radio-silent’. I had a brief look at a large operating room and equipment I didn’t recognize, and then nothing but the sudden excrutiating pain in my chest as I coughed on the ET tube. THAT is still very clear. My wife and I practiced crude sign language in case I was intubated for any length of time, and I waved three fingers as best I could with my wrist tied to the bedrail. That meant ‘it really, really hurts!” Thankfully they pulled the tube a few minutes later.
On a serious topic, I need to decide whether to get the COVID booster. Making that call is difficult in an era when scientific debate is shut down by one political party. For most of my life the Dems were the party that wanted every voice heard. To quote an old Democrat, the only reason to stifle discussion is if you can’t handle the truth. Dems used that argument to push sexuality on TV for decades, mocking the right for prudish attitudes.
But who are the prudes now?? The Dems run from open discussion like fleas from a dead dog. I hardly recognize the country where I grew up. What government actively SUPPRESSES healthcare data in order to push a product or a behavior? We used to criticize Russia for propaganda campaigns, and now we are doing the same thing. I would understand if the vaccine prevented the spread of COVID like the government promised. But now we know that it doesn’t reduce the spread of COVID. It used to reduce the severity of infection and take some of the burden off hospitals, but now the infections hit everyone, vaccinated or not. Vaccines don’t prevent infection, and aren’t nearly as effective as natural immunity. Yet there are still people out there who are furious at their fellow citizens who did not want to be vaccinated. Why? Why do they care?
There have been many ‘excess deaths’ over the past two years described by insurance companies. The deaths were not due to COVID, to heart disease, to overdose, to suicide, to diabetes, to cancer… or to any known category. If you didn’t know, Google ‘Excess Deaths Continue to Skyrocket‘ or just click the link to see an article I read today. There are many similar articles out there, although you wouldn’t know it from the evening news. There are even a few blogs that try to explain away the excess deaths, and others explaining away those explanations. I am not a statistician so I can’t say who is right. But I am disturbed by the lack of curiosity. Shouldn’t we all be concerned that more people are dying, at younger ages, compared to a few years ago?
My own story is only an anecdote, which is at the bottom rung of reliability in evidence-based medicine. But I have to wonder… why did my lungs clot off a couple years ago? Why now at age 62 after a lifetime free from blood clots? And why have a couple of my own patients developed blood clots that other docs say are ‘very unusual’? A few physicians — internists, pathologists, immunologists– have pointed out interesting findings including post-mortem clotting far in excess of what they have seen before. Some of those findings are described in articles or videos in comments posted to my blog. A couple of the doctors who described their findings had to fight to keep their medical licenses after being accused of speaking up against the proper narrative and describing what they witnessed. Are we in China now??
And when the Surgeon General of Florida recently released findings of his own study showing an 84% increase in cardiac death in young people within 4 weeks of mRNA vaccination the response was crickets, interspersed with ad-hominem attacks from the people who can’t bear to have the vaccines criticized. Eric Topol, a national vaccine apologist, pointed out that cardiac inflammation is USUALLY not all that severe in MOST cases. Maybe I missed it, but did all of you hear a lot about myocarditis caused by the mRNA vaccine? Me neither.
My beef isn’t with the vaccine. My beef is with censorship, especially by the government and allies in the media. Electronic media now has the power to shut down debate, especially when social media companies are largely censoring the same side of discussions. I get it; those on the left have nothing to complain about. But it will only be a matter of time before they are on the other side and their opinions are blocked from public discussion. Things that come around go around.
So what do I do? I’ve decided that my lifetime Rx for Warfarin changes my own equation, and favors the booster. Yes, maybe a few of those fat globules packed with mRNA will bypass my deltoid muscle and float to my heart, causing myocardial cells to make spike protein and bring on a wave of inflammation. But I have a strong heart, and clean coronaries. I can probably tolerate a bit of myocarditis. And even if all that spike protein triggers a wave of inflammation, the Warfarin should prevent a clotting cascade in one of my major veins.
But for the rest of you who aren’t taking Warfarin, I don’t know what to recommend. Do you believe data from insurance companies, from a Republican Surgeon General, and anecdotes? Or do you believe the people who told you that inflation was transitory?