Twice a week, district nurses come round to our house to attend to herself who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Two of them attended today. Both of them were ‘regulars’ – they have attended many times.
Unpleasantly, they arrived earlier than they usually do, so I was still in bed. I jumped out of bed, in my pyjamas, and let them in. While they were organising themselves, I got partially dressed. By the time that I had partially dressed, they were more or less ready to proceed. They have been coming for years, and know what to do, so I was a bit surprised, as I made my way from the bedroom to the kitchen (we have a bungalow) to make a cup of tea, when one of the nurses spoke to me as I was about to enter the kitchen. She said, “Are we changing the dressings?” She is a very nice, friendly person, but not particularly bright. Erm… One of the main reasons for their attention is to change the dressings. So I stopped at the kitchen door and said, “Well, yes, but only the lower wound needs dressing”.
And then a strange thing happened. Her face took on a sort of disapproving aspect, and she sort of nodded in a strange way. I looked at her inquisitively, and she said, “The cigarette”. I replied, “Yes, it is a cigarette”.
A couple of years ago, the red mist would have descended and I would have exploded. But I am easy-going these days about such silliness. I went into the kitchen and made a cup of tea. But I was jolly annoyed.
But that nurse is a nice person. She is pretty harmless, jolly and friendly. She is a bit scatty and makes lots of silly mistakes, like leaving pieces of plastic on the bed, and dropping things on the floor for me to pick up. She tends to apply the dressings ‘not quite centrally’, and I need to reposition them. No big deal.
While I was in the kitchen, making a cup to tea, I was semi-seething. But I stayed 100% in control. When they left, I was nice and friendly and said, “See you next week”.
That particular nurse is not a youth (18 to 24). She is around 40 or so. She should know better.
But note in the first place that she stopped my progress into the kitchen by asking me that question: ‘Are we changing the dressings?’ Had she not stopped me, I would have proceeded from the bedroom to the kitchen without hesitation. But, even worse, is that MY HOUSE IS MY HOUSE! She has no rights in my house. If she does not like what I do in my house when she attends the patient, she can bugger off. My point is that she has a relationship with ‘the patient’ but not with me.
It did not take long for me to realise what has been happening. Non-smokers have been denormalised. That is quite a profound thought.
Prior to the smoking ban in England in 2007, pub goers did not worry about tobacco smoke any more than they worried about female fragrances. No one dissolved into fits of coughing or waved their hands about, and pubs were pretty full of people enjoying themselves. On the 1st July 2007, a catastrophe occurred. Non-smokers became abnormal, and they have become more and more abnormal as time has passed. They still think that there is smoking in pubs and still think that their hair stinks and have to shower and wash all their clothes.
They have been denormalised.
So this nice, friendly, but scatty nurse stopped me from going straight into the kitchen to ask me what her job was, and then pulled her face from ten feet away because she was terrified by my cigarette.
I could be really nasty. The nurses are doing me no favours – they attend because it is their job. I could ‘audit’ what they do and complain about their misdemeanours. But I shall not. They cannot help being denormalised.
Gosh! I must admit to being so taken aback by the attitude of that nurse that I lost my natural sense of outrage. But she is a nice person. She cannot help the fact that she has been denormalised.
There is a reasonable conclusion. It is that the ‘denormalisation’ of smoking was always intended to denormalise non-smokers. To make them afraid. Why else would the Surgeon General of the USA say that a whiff of tobacco smoke, in the open air of the street, causes a person to have a heart attack, collapse and die? The intention was to denormalise non-smokers: to make them act abnormally.
The same tactic is being used against plump people. There is nothing abnormal about being plump, as witnessed by the paintings of Rubens, and statues of Buddha. Plump is healthy, skeletal is not.
It is hard to calculate the misunderstandings of “Public Health”. I say ‘calculate’ because the Zealots ensure that those misunderstandings are obscured. Anti-smoking obscures the real failings. Smoking is a convenient excuse to avoid the ‘the reality’. The reality is that everyone dies and no one knows what specific bodily organ will fail and cause death.
It is a terrible error to expect a person who is eighty years old to be physically sprightly. But that does not mean that they must be written off as useless. They can still add value, if they wish to.
Enough for tonight. Remember that smokers, and disinterested non-smokers, are the ones who are normal. It is the anti-smokers who are abnormal.