I am not a physician nor do I play one on TV. But I have had “Walking Pneumonia” four times in my life – in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986. (Since that time a powerful pneumonia shot has been developed, generally good for ten years or so, and I have been blessed). But my point is that I know this ailment. It is not fatal nor does it have to be life threatening but it requires care. Walking pneumonia is very sinister and it creeps up on you with sore throats, coughing, then too much coughing. But for weeks it can allow you to walk around and go about your business without a sense that you are suffering from anything but a nasty and annoying cough.
During those years I was younger and robust and I had a job that required incessant travel. I was fatigued but, at least in the beginning, not enough fatigue to feel that I could not stop doing what I had to do. Then it hits you and, if not treated, can whack you upside the head with a two by four.
When that happens you need lots of antibiotics and rest, serious rest, bed rest, pajama time, no stresses and no meetings. By my last bout in 1986 I was bedridden for four weeks and just simply home for another two. I had a small business and my wife ran it with the help of good friends and some very good college interns. Even if I had wanted to be involved I just simply couldn’t – nor would my excellent physician allow me to anyway.
So we need to get serious here about Hillary Clinton. I will take her at her word and her staff’s words that she had a hacking cough. Walking pneumonia can simply creep up on you. But then she has known since at least Friday about her diagnosis and the lack of transparency is itself very troubling. We all can legitimately ask why it took a collapse during a not excessively warm or humid day in New York to find out about this. And I will accept that it is difficult for her to give up on achieving a dream that has defined her entire adult life – the nomination and perhaps election to the Presidency of the United States. I understand.
But any suggestion that just some antibiotics, a couple of days rest, and grandma’s chicken soup will make this disease go away in a few days is, at the very least, not sensible – and, at worst, stupid and dangerous. The Democratic nominee is very ill right now and she will be for a while. This could cripple her campaign. She and her staff will have to rely on what we call “the old truth trick”: a daily update on the true status of her health and the real truth as to whether or not she is physically up to the job of campaigning.
American Presidents have suffered and misled the American people before. In recent years, John F. Kennedy’s Addison’s disease, Lyndon Johnson’s heart disease, and Ronald Reagan’s condition after the assassination attempt were things that were hidden to the press and the American people. In this regard, these men were not role models. The same holds true for Donald Trump – he should also release his medical records and both and he and his physician should answer questions. And Mrs. Clinton and her staff should be providing a whole lot more answers than allowing serious questions to simply fester.