What a week it has been. On Friday, I wrote my first death certificate. There are spaces to fill in for supposed cause of death and co-morbidities and such but eventually, I suppose, old age is not really a valid cause of the expiration of life. The patient died from not being able to breathe anymore - I listed "respiratory failure" as the cause of death.

On my overtime shift on Saturday, I had to certify death. This is quite different from writing a death certificate. To certify death, all a doctor has to do is put into writing a confirmation that the patient has no heartbeat, is not breathing, is unresponsive and has fixed dilated pupils unresponsive to light. The strange thing is that the same bed that that patient died in was filled in not long after by another patient who was similarly going to die.

Death, death, death. There are another couple of patients on my list who are similarly terminal. Nothing much I can do for either of them. Everyone dies of cardiac failure or respiratory failure, one way or another. Do bad things come in threes too?

I guess I take solace in that dying patients leaves me less work to do - I don't have to see them anymore from day to day and there is no discharge letter to write ... death certificates are much simpler than discharge letters ...

On the financial front, I have managed to lose a significant amount of money buying puts on various big blue chip stocks on the Australian Stock Exchange. All signs point towards a downturn in the worldwide stock indexes, consistent with the recession that has already hit.

My advice for the financially interested - listen carefully to the news. Separate fact from editorial. The stock ANALysts on CNBC and other news sources are all saying the news is *bad*, but that the bottom must be in or just around the corner.

It will be a long time before this stock bear market turns around.

Meanwhile, some of my puts will expire this Thursday. *sigh* - I can still hope for a BIG drop this week. The Nikkei stock index is already today breaking below support at 12,000. Who knows how low that might go?