Second Opinion

You wake up on one fine September morning coughing up blood. You’re startled but not alarmed. Except that it happens the next day too. Third day, nothing. Fourth day bloody coughing again. It goes on like this for a month.

Being a prudent person, you go to your doctor. He says, “I think you may have lung cancer, but go get a second opinion.”

You go to the specialist. He says, “Yep, it’s lung cancer and you need treatment.”

Since no one likes being told they have lung cancer, you go get a third opinion. Same diagnosis: lung cancer. This one adds, “Not only do you need treatment, but you have to quit smoking cigarettes, too.”

You’re getting into the swing of this multiple opinion thing, though, and you want to be thorough, so you keep going to specialists and get the same diagnosis and advice.

Finally, doctor number 32 gives you the news you’ve been hoping to hear. The blood soiling your hanky each morning is a natural occurrence and if you ignore it you’ll be fine. Oh, and the cigarettes are ok. No need to quit.

What are you going to do?

By the way, the cancer treatment has a monthly cost equivalent to a couple bottles of decent champagne. The side effects are (1) all of your grey hairs go back to their original color, (2) those wrinkles around your eyes smooth over and (3) your kid’s SAT scores go up by 40 points. There are no known negative side effects. But you do have to give up the cigs.

Now let’s talk about climate change.

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