In Sickness & In Health
I’ve never had a stomach of steel when it comes to hospitals, needles & sickness. In fact, I used to tell my friends that should they ever impale their eyeball with a screwdriver, I would probably be the last person they should call. Even if I mustered the strength to drive them to the hospital, it’s likely I would only be able to drop them off at the emergency room door. Many decades ago, I went with a friend to get an abortion. I sat in the lobby waiting and soon after she came out, I became dizzy and nauseous. So much so that SHE had to drive herself home! Ugh. I’m assuming it was my brain giving me pictures of needles, blood and sick-smells because I certainly didn’t witness anything gruesome. The same happened when my grandfather lay sick in my brother’s bed. One minute I was talking to him and the next I was sitting down about to faint.
Well since then, I’ve not had the chance to test whether I’ve outgrown that or not. Until recently. I just took my neighbor to the doctor. She had chemo last week and was still feeling ill, bringing a bucket on the ride over in case she threw up. I wondered if she’d have to drive us both to the hospital, with me passed out in the backseat. But thankfully, I was fine. I went with her to the doctor’s office as well as to the chemo room to get some fluids into her. I’m happy not to have gotten physically sick while being around all this, but I have to admit I was mentally sick about it. Cancer must be so common nowadays, because these hospitals and the people who work there are so good at what they do. The doctors have files as big as encyclopedias for each patient. They give handouts that teach you everything about chemotherapy. They’ve got rooms set up where patients sit on comfy chairs and spend hours getting chemicals pumped into their bodies while they watch TV and read magazines. I couldn’t imagine not being motivated to live a healthier life in order to avoid being in a situation like this. But considering that my neighbor still smokes after having a portion of her lung removed and going through chemo, I suppose not everyone reacts that way. I love having a great health care system that’s there for people during the worst times of their lives. But when do we hold people accountable for their own health?
Anyway, I wonder if what makes me strive for perfect health is that beginning part of my life when sickness and hospitals made me so queasy. Even when I was young, I was adamantly against going to the hospital. Back then, I didn’t equate that to lifestyle choices as much as I do now. But either way, I’m relieved to have better-than-average mindfulness with my health. I know it’s my responsibility to do what’s right for me and my body/mind/spirit. Let’s hope that keeps me far from hospitals, even if I can take people all the way to the emergency room now.