Fandango’s Provocative Question (1 July 2020)

Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. I’ve just had a busy morning and am having a late lunch, so I’ll try and get a few words down now, and just knock it into publishable shape tonight. This week, Fandango asks:

Are you satisfied with your life at the moment. If so, what is it that brings you the greatest satisfaction? If not, what might you do to achieve satisfaction in your life?

I think the difficult thing here is not so much defining what satisfaction is, but recognising that there are several aspects of life, each of which might be satisfactory/unsatisfactory in its own right. Coming up with an aggregate is not so easy.

Some examples, not exhaustive. And I’m going to use the Columns Block just to wind up all you classic-lovers:

REASONS TO BE SATISFIED
REASONS NOT TO BE SATISFIED

  • I’m glad I got my brain back after the stroke
  • I’m happy with where I live
  • I’m happy that that I got to see other parts of the world
  • I’m happy being married. In fact married life, despite my quips, just gets better.
  • I’m happy that I do charity work, and that is directly helping people.
  • I’m satisfied that my values are good ones. But, aren’t we all?
  • I’m not satisfied with some of the other things after the stroke that seem to be more permanent
  • I’m not satisfied that I don’t drive at the moment
  • I’m not satisfied that it is such a big deal to get up to London – the best work is in London
  • I’m not satisfied with my general back-to-work situation.
  • I’m not satisfied that I can’t ride my bicycle
  • I’m not satisfied with all the weight gain since the stroke. I once prided myself that I was below average, when the rest of the world was becoming obese.
  • I’m not satisfied with how parenting, or my daughter, turned out. I know parenting is hard work, but the kicker is that she has ended up with such totally different values to me.

Off the top of my head. As you can see, some of the things I am dissatisfied with, I can’t actually do anything about. So, in terms of what do I do?, it’s a case of tough luck.

Maybe you can read something into my overall satisfaction level from the relative lengths of these lists? I dunno, if you can, that’s probably just as good a guess as I can make.

Am I Being Unreasonable?

As the UK is coming out of lockdown, so too are we – my wife and I. Only slightly – I want to make sure that all the cards are stacked in my favour before resuming my old life.

With that in mind, we had a garden-guest around last week, a friend of my wife. I can’t remember how we got there but the conversation somehow got to post-lockdown behaviour. I said I’d be far more comfortable coming out of the house if I knew there were no cases in our local hospital.

Okay, if there are no cases it does not necessarily mean we are [i.e. the vicinity is] COVID-free, but if we did have enough COVID cases, I’m sure some of them would end up in the hospital, and counted in the statistics.

It so happens that the husband of this friend works up at the hospital. Ah, the friend says, Rob gets an email every day, telling him exactly how many current COVID cases there are. My response was simply that this kind of information should be in the public domain.

These last few days, therefore, I have spent time poking about on the web, to see if this information is, indeed, available. I couldn’t find it, so I ended up asking the hospital themselves whether they publish numbers.

This morning I received a reply. No, the numbers aren’t published because it might breach patient confidentiality.

Now, I wasn’t asking for names and addresses, just aggregate numbers. So I’m not sure how that could breach anyone’s confidentiality.

My next step? Well, the UK has a Freedom of Information law, and hospitals are public bodies, so I think my likely way forward is to put in one of these requests when I have some time. That is a pain, though, not to mention that the law gives them a month or two to respond to this request. Most likely they will sit on it until, hopefully, the pandemic is over, when this information is useful now.

I can’t help thinking it is a weird state of affairs. All around the world, people are looking for snippets of information to help them make pretty fundamental stop/go decisions, and our public health services are actively witholding this information.