Mens Temporum . UK

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Medical Matters

If evolution did bestow on us some form of sixth sense which would account for the unlikely coincidences that I have described here, then it would seem likely that it was because that sense gives us a better chance of survival. Therefore it would probably become evident in our decisions regarding our health. However, nowadays we rely on medical professionals to advise us on this subject and also it is possible that the unconscious mind is aware of conditions within our bodies which are not evident through consciously noticeable symptoms, so it is difficult to ascribe any experiences specifically to the future influencing present thoughts. However, at times of illness we all have intuitive feelings about the potential future course of the illness, so I have documented a few of my medical experiences here along with the thoughts that I had during them so that any pattern present may be observed.

A year or so after completing the draft of my novel I consulted my doctor about irregularities in my digestive tract and was referred to a consultant at the local hospital. While waiting in his consulting room I heard him talking to a previous patient outside. This man evidently felt the need for attention and was relating to the consultant other afflictions which he claimed had baffled medical experts in the past. The consultant, clearly eager to attend to his next patient, suggested to the man that perhaps he ought to write a book about his experiences and managed to send him on his way. I smiled at this suggestion given that an equally casual one years earlier had set me on the literary path that has now culminated in my writing these anecdotes although I have never seen my own motive as having been the need for attention. Indeed I have postponed writing them for many years as I still doubt that they are of much interest to anyone and I never made any serious effort to get my novel published either.

During my own session with the consultant he recommended a colonoscopy and explained that this could be a physical one or a virtual one, the latter being simply a scan in a CAT scanner. To assist my decision he mentioned that the physical approach had the advantage of minor problems being curable at the time, although the procedure itself did entail a certain amount of risk of accidental damage to the colon, while the virtual approach clearly couldn’t cure or damage anything so a subsequent physical procedure would still be necessary if any problems were identified. I opted to have the virtual procedure and this was carried out a short time later. Despite the consultant’s remark I discovered that immediately afterwards all my symptoms had vanished and the report from the scan also confirmed that there were no problems with my colon, so justifying my decision. I later wrote to the consultant to offer my explanation of the event.

Prior to the scan I had to spend a day without any solid food and also had to drink a collection of strong purgatives to clear my digestive tract out entirely. I could only assume that my symptoms had actually been caused by a persistent bacterial infection which had itself been purged by this preparatory treatment. Therefore if one takes the entire virtual process including the preliminary procedure into account one could say that it did effect a cure. This was a situation where a decision to be taken hung in the balance and I happened to make the right choice maybe by luck but maybe by some other more reliable means. The coincidence of my being reminded of writing my own novel immediately prior to the consultation was also possibly a factor as I had already learned from that how reality and the virtual world of fiction can interact in ways that conventional reasoning doesn’t predict or often even explain. While this first incident may actually be explained in various ways the next one seems more involved with a future experience influencing a decision.

Early one year I noticed a hard lump developing on the side of my face and when it was clearly apparent I consulted my doctor about it. An ultrasonic scan at the hospital indicated that it was a type of tumour which was most likely benign and a subsequent biopsy confirmed this. While waiting for these examinations and results neither I nor my wife had had any qualms about the outcome and her indifference might have seemed almost callous had I not felt the same. The tumour was a normally slow growing type that was unlikely to become malignant for many years but its removal would involve complications if left too long. I had the option of either being put on a National Health Service waiting list for an operation, which might mean a wait of several years given that there was no urgency, or paying for a private operation much sooner, so I opted for the latter. As the arrangements went at a leisurely pace anyway it wasn’t until the beginning of December that year that the point was reached when I needed to choose a date for the operation and on the sixth of that month, having turned down a last minute date before Christmas, I was offered three other possibilities in the near future, which were the tenth, twenty-fourth and thirty-first of January. I chose the tenth because it was a couple of weeks after Christmas, which I thought was ideal, but I had no idea why I thought that as it seemed an almost arbitrary choice.

On Christmas Eve I developed a sore throat and then a persistent cough which continued to worsen in the days following and as the date of the operation approached I was concerned that it might have to be postponed as a consequence. My previous apparently arbitrary choice of the date for it had somehow developed into a conviction that it was essential for it to be done then although I still could not justify the feeling. I did not consult my local doctor about the affliction then as I was too involved in the preoperative procedures but I mentioned it to the surgeon and hospital pre-assessment team who, apart from testing me for Covid, were unconcerned and planned to operate on the assigned day, which was a relief to me despite my not knowing why that was.

By the morning of the operation I was coughing up what appeared to me to be the results of a bacterial infection and I continued to do this while at the hospital. On the morning following the operation I was discharged with a bundle of medication, which included a large quantity of painkillers which I didn’t need and a course of antibiotics to protect the operation incision from infection. Unsurprisingly the antibiotics also eliminated the bacterial infection causing my cough, which quickly cleared up without my needing to consult my local doctor at all. At that point the reason for my earlier conviction about the timing of the operation became clear. I had previously assumed that it related to the operation itself in some way but evidently it had related to the bacterial infection. It might be assumed that in the days immediately before the operation I had realised that the antibiotics would cure that infection, but in fact I had never had an operation before in my adult life and didn’t even know that antibiotics would be provided afterwards. Also any such explanation could not account for my entirely consistent initial thoughts when choosing the date from four offered at the beginning of December weeks before I even contracted the infection. This incident might just appear to have been a fortunate coincidence but my thoughts and feelings throughout the period imply that it was more than just that. This is the reason why first hand experience gives a different very personal perspective on such incidents compared to simple observation of the bare facts surrounding them by other people.

One may wonder how events would have worked out had I not been due to have an operation at the time that I acquired the bacterial infection, but wonder is not necessary as a year later it happened again. This time I had had an annoying cough that had started in November but in the run up to Christmas it had become persistent enough for me to speak to my doctor on the phone about it. I mentioned the events a year earlier, which obviously did not appear in the local practice’s medical records as such, and suggested that antibiotics might again be necessary, but she was keen to consider other alternatives. She suggested that this long term cough was possibly the result of post-nasal drip and I confirmed that I had this condition and that I generally had recurrent problems with my sinuses that caused this. Therefore she prescribed a nasal spray to eliminate the drip although it would take a couple of months to do so. In addition she said that she would book a chest x-ray for me as an added precaution, but I knew that it would take the National Health Service a good few weeks to schedule this, especially with the festive season about to start, so I considered paying for a private x-ray which would be done sooner. However, unlike the operation a year earlier I didn’t feel the need for this so opted for the slower NHS service.

The date for that x-ray was a month later towards the end of January but I still wasn’t concerned about the delay although my wife was adamant that I needed antibiotics and her opinions frequently exhibit a surprisingly precognitive influence just as much as my decisions do, so I took her attitude seriously into consideration. As the day of the x-ray approached the cough became more severe and there was once again evidence of a bacterial infection, so I spoke to my doctor again about it expressing my increasing concerns, but as by then the x-ray would be done in just a couple of days we agreed to wait for the results of that. She did however prescribe an additional topical treatment for oral thrush in case that was the actual problem as it often arises in such cases. Immediately following the x-ray two days later the radiologist asked me whether I was on antibiotics and when I said that I wasn’t he said that the results would be sent to my doctor that evening and that I should consult her about them the following morning without delay. In fact it wasn’t even necessary for me to do that as later in the day she phoned me and told me that she was emailing me an electronic prescription immediately to get antibiotics from the late night pharmacy. I was hardly surprised about this but still not that concerned. The antibiotics eliminated the bacterial infection and a subsequent x-ray confirmed that the lung infection that had developed from my throat infection had also been eliminated. By then I had been using the nasal spray for two months and the post-nasal drip had also ceased so there was no risk of another infection.

My doctor told me that she had discussed my case with a more senior member of the practice and they had agreed that in retrospect it would have been better for them to have acted more promptly. While my wife had been right about my needing antibiotics and I myself had also been convinced of this before Christmas it obviously isn’t good form to tell one’s doctor that one’s own intuition should override their judgement and in this case I could have opted for a private x-ray to speed things up but chose not to, apparently because it wasn’t necessary in the long run but maybe teaching my doctor a valuable lesson was. The doctor assigned to this case by our large local practice was a very pleasant young lady who no doubt would benefit from the experience and I had come to no harm, so I was quite satisfied with how events had turned out.

With these medical matters resolved I made an appointment with my dentist to visit her many weeks later as I hadn’t had my teeth checked for over three years because of Covid and my subsequent facial operation. A few days before the planned visit I noticed a small region of blackening on my front teeth, so used an inspection mirror to look at the back of them and was shocked to see that they were widely blackened there beyond normal view. However, my concern about this only lasted a few days as my dentist told me that it was just superficial staining by bacteria which was easily removed and that there was nothing wrong with my teeth, so I jokingly suggested that I evidently only needed to visit her every three years. Once again I had made an appointment some time earlier which resolved an issue that I became seriously concerned about just days before the appointed date.

In the case of medical matters and my own wellbeing my only conclusion is that, just as with other situations, when rational decisions hang in the balance I seem inclined to make the right choice somehow and time events remarkably well, which is reassuring, but as ever exactly how that happens remains indeterminate. Fortunately the examples that I have been able to describe here turned out not to be serious issues but they do seem to support the idea that this apparent prescience could be an evolutionary development that aids survival even in our modern technological world.

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