Astrology and Physiognomy
This section of the course, known colloquially as A & F, neatly demonstrates the value of the academic content of our training: interesting, perhaps, but of limited use to the ambulanceman in the field.
This morning, for instance, one of the instructors, Dick Tiny, introduced us to the practice of drawing up a patient's astrological chart starting with the exact time and location of birth. We input precise details of previous medical history and currently prescribed medication and use this data to construct a health matrix. The patient's tablets are then arranged to form patterns representing organic function and blood harmonics and from the resulting diagram one is able to plot the course of future diseases and calculate very accurately when the patient will die, which is invaluable when assessing the usefulness of a trip to the hospital. Unfortunately, the whole process takes about fourteen hours, which reduces somewhat the viability of using it on a daily basis.
And then, during this afternoon's session, conducted by a Dr. Littlejohn-Thomas, we were taught the basics of the arcane science of physiognomy. This skill, when perfected, is generally considered to be more useful to the healthcare professional than astrology because it is not only less time-consuming but it can reveal a lot more about a patient's condition. It's an interesting scientific fact that from birth personality alone determines health and certain diseases will only afflict certain character types, regardless of all other factors. By learning to 'read' a patient's face, therefore, one can give a comprehensive diagnosis and a confident prognosis on the spot. Of course, to achieve this level of skill takes many years of study and practice and unfortunately, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland, the professional use of physiognomy is illegal throughout the European Community.
Still, the food in the canteen at the Academy of Ambulance Studies excels in both quality and quantity and is free to students, so the day wasn't a complete waste of time.