Hello again everyone. I have in front of me a letter from a concerned patient, worried sick that he might be 'terminally ill'.
Now, as you know, death is not a trifling thing, and is certainly not something we should be making fun of, but it happens to us all in the end, and we shouldn't be afraid to die.
That's what I tell my patients if I think they are going to snuff it, anyway.
The letter - I have changed the sender's details to protect his identity - is here for you to peruse, along with my response.
Dear Dr Kenwood,
My wife of 27 years recently surprised me with an anniversary present that most people would die for: an all-expenses trip of a lifetime to Barbados for two weeks in a luxury hotel. I, too, was excited, until the realisation hit me that, for the very first time in my life, I was going to have to get on an aeroplane.
Dr Kenwood, I have a fear of flying so great, that I would do absolutely anything else in the world instead. I can't even face going to the airport. I know that if I so much as step into the airport terminal, I will be, in effect, 'terminally ill'. You see, I am terrified that if I get on a plane, it will crash, and I will die.
You're not the only person in the world with this kind of phobia, and it's not without foundation. Although airlines regularly state that their aircraft are safe, I'm always turning on my TV or reading in the newspaper and finding news reports about air crashes, as well as millions of near-misses.
Let's be right, Scared, we're not supposed to fly, are we? I have no wings - do you? No, you don't. If you're not careful, one of these days, you're going to get onto an aeroplane that has been allowed to take to the air despite failing its safety tests, or is overdue for a maintenance upheaval, and is going to 'encounter difficulties' in mid-air. When it does, count on trouble. You can't just 'get off' and walk the rest of the way, and it's usually a long way down. Now look here. Let's face it, Scared, if that happens, you are a dead man, and, by my reckoning - and I'm a doctor - it's going to hurt like fuck.
My advice to you, is to tell your wife that, although you appreciate her kind thoughts, you'd rather go to Blackpool, or, if that fails, tell her to go to Barbados herself and get killed.
Hope this helped,
Dr M Kenwood M.D., C.J.D., V.D.