The Case of Chopin: To go or not to go?

For many years Katherine Hough, now a twenty-seven year old woman, suffered excruciating pains in her body that made daily life difficult. She seemed to suffer from strange symptoms that started out from a sense of unease and tiredness and progressed on to stomach pains. And when she was off at University her health declined even more. She began to faint frequently. Her hair fell out. She suffered from severe joint pains and was often simply just tired. Her mother thought it was down to what she termed a hectic student lifestyle. Then Katherine visited her GP.

For many of us a trip to the GP may come perhaps at too late a stage. We all suffer from niggles here and there which do not warrant a trip to the doctor’s – such as having a cold and a temperature. In fact, the better thing to do would be to have a rest at home instead of trekking out to the doctor’s office, possibly infecting other patients, or picking up something worse from the airborne atmosphere of ill patients. What do you do? You simply phone in work or school and then leave a message to say you are unwell.

This may be the most common occurrence in Great Britain, but strangely enough, in the Far East, in some countries you are expected to go to the doctor’s to be certified unwell, receive a medical certificate advising of home rest of a certain duration (usually two days’ leave for a temperature or a cold) then produce this certificate when you return to work or school. This medical certificate, or MC as it is commonly abbreviated to, is your proof that you were unwell and a legal work requirement in some countries.

Imagine have to trek to the doctor’s for him or her to write you a note, telling you that you are unwell when you already know that in the first place!

Footballers have to continually find a balance between playing, or knowing they cannot perform at their best. Arsenal captain Mesut Ozil has often been slated for missing big games with colds, but perhaps it is good to give up your place to a team mate who can do better if you cannot perform to your best.

The classical piano composer Frederic Chopin died young – on a trip to Majorca in the winter, he and his partner George Sand failed to find accommodation and had to seek refuge in an abandoned monastery. Chopin was quite frail anyway, but no doubt spending a whole winter in the wet and without heating didn’t do much good for him! Perhaps he should have sought medical help instead of toughing it out. Always two sides to a tale!