Getting along with illnesses

Getting aged, we should inevitably have health problems. Of course, amateur hams are not exceptions. Since the average age of amateur hams is increasing now, I often meet those with illnesses lately. The QSOs with those people are always impressive as well as stimulating to me.

A few weeks ago, when 20m was widely open to the west hemisphere, I got a call from David G4PKT. His call sounded a bit familiar to me. He was a retired surgeon aged 71 years. He told me he used to be an FOC member years ago. It explained me why his call was known to me somehow at first. Asking him why he quit the club, I heard he had got multiple sclerosis and could not send CW well enough. He has decided to give his seat to a possible new member. His fist sounded almost perfect to me, though. His present interest was in photography. He joked to me telling that it was easier for him to push the shutter button than to handle a key. I have scarcely met any medical doctors in UK through ham radio. It was a fun for me to see him with the same profession. And his personality and sense of joke were also attractive to me.

I have been seeing Tom W6NLK in San Diego quite often. It is always his very early morning hours when we meet on 40m. Slow and unique bug key swinging on the quiet band. That old fashioned appearance itself was impressive enough to me. However, it was a kind of shock to me to hear he had been undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. The biopsy revealed fairly low grade malignancy while the MRI indicated rather high malignancy. The doctor has taken it for a malignant one and has planned an intensive treatment with chemo and radiation. Sometimes, he tells me he has some adverse effects due to the chemo. But what he always says is that he is peaceful without fear. His keying, stable and swinging, tells me it is really what he feels. He has been involved in counselling job for young people. His attitude toward illness and life might be based on the same thing which made him occupied in that job. One time, he told me my being itself was a pleasure for him. What an idea! I thought it was me who should  thank him for such a nice chat.

Maybe, in some time, I would be in the same phase of life. Could I spend it with the same attitude toward illnesses? They could be good forerunners for me. I hope they would enjoy ham radio as long as possible and let me know how they are getting along.


  1. Thank you Shin for your blog and qso. My interest was peaked after your comment about qrz.com and it led me here. I too am a semi retired physician, an anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician. I too went into medicine following a career in engineering and I too have suffered some infirmity with age including neuropathy which has reduced my CW ability and completely curtailed my activity as a guitarist. I I can't feel the strings, or the fretboard positioning and my grip does not have the finesse required to make music anymore. I always thought that would be how I spent my sunset exploring music. When I interview a patient and they ask how I am doing I respond I'm doing good, because there isn't any future in doing bad. Contained in the joke is the nugget of the truth. 73

    1. Lee, thanks for the QSO yesterday and the comment here. We have so many things common each other except for the illness. I am sorry you could not enjoy playing guitar any longer. I thought, in the joke, you meant you might find something good in the future so far as you are hopeful for that. Or more realistic idea? you story reminded me of Victor E Frankle, a psychopathologist in Austria, who had experienced being treated brutally at the Nazis camp during WWII. In his book, as you might know, he introduced the ultimate value in life in accepting own fate. He says it is better than producing or experiencing any thing in life. It might be out of the point in your case. Anyway, keep up your activity in profession, hobby and computering. See you again on the air and go on talking of our lives.