Hillary and I Made the Same Mistake


In 1968, I was writing a huge piece of software — part of an inventory management system — and I got a cold. I was under pressure to get my work done, so I ignored my cough. And, I ignored the fact that I was working in a terrible environment — a highly air-conditioned computer room — and smoking cigarettes.

My cough got worse. I said to myself, “I’ll work through this and then, when my project is complete, I’ll take time off.” My cough deteriorated to the point that I had prolonged hacking episodes. Then I started running a fever.

Finally, I went to the doctor, who determined I had pneumonia and sent me directly to the hospital. As I was being admitted, I passed out. I woke up in a hospital bed under an oxygen tent.

After a few days, I went home and back to work. I learned two things: to stop smoking and to take better care of myself.

From the press reports about Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia, it sounds like she made the same mistake I did: when she experienced the first symptoms of pneumonia , she tried to work through it. Then she had an episode at the 9/11 memorial and was forced to take better care of herself.

Because the election is so tight, a lot of Democrats are upset about Hillary’s pneumonia and fear that it will tilt the race to Trump. I don’t agree. Trump may win in November — I don’t believe this — but it won’t be because Hillary got sick.

In the long run, Hillary’s pneumonia episode will be beneficial. First, it will force her and Trump to reveal more medical information. This is a good thing, in general, but particularly for Trump — who looks to be at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Second, this humanizes Hillary, makes it clear she’s a typical American. After all, thousands of our fellow citizens do not have adequate health coverage and, therefore, every day are forced to go to work even though they have a bad cold or pneumonia.

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer and retired Silicon Valley executive. He can be reached at bburnett@sonic.net (bobburnett.net)

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2016


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