Doctor, doctor – and the case of Busoni

What do you do if you are feeling unwell? For example, if you wake up one morning and find that you have a cold, or even if that is the least of your worries – you may have a rasping throat, thumping headache and feel like the world is going to end – what would you do? Some of us would soldier on to work regardless of how we feel – maybe it is because we have used up our leave for the year and can’t really take the day off. Or maybe some of us work in a profession that looks down upon those that cannot tough it out. (“Policeman felled by common cold!”) Or perhaps if you are a parent with young children, and feel ill during their school holidays, you might think “I’d best go to work, it’s less stressful there than at home!”

Would you consider going to the doctor’s? Someone of us would question the reason for doing so if it were just a common complaint, such as having a flu virus. And you can see the point though – what can the GP do for you? There is little more that can be done apart from the recommendation of rest, lots of fluid, and pain relief for the period. In fact, you may just to let the illness run its course. But in some countries do you know that those who are ill have to visit their GP just to get a certification of their illness, which is then passed on to their employer or school as evidence of non-attendance? It may seem like a strange thing to do. If you are already ill, and need rest, why would you gee up all your energies to visit the doctor, and lounge in a waiting room full of equally sickly people and pick up all the mix of airborne viruses?

The classical piano composer Ferrucio Busoni was one of those people who refused to visit the doctor. He kept working and even when he became ill from fatigue, he refused to stop; unfortunately this is the extreme of balance! (You can read more about Busoni from the Piano Teacher N4 website.) Perhaps we should know when we need rest, and avoid going to the doctor for minor ailments, but if we suffer from prolonged poor health, take a bit of rest, and if health problems continue, see a doctor. That’s perhaps the best thing to do!