Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hospitals and Stressed Souls

'I hate hospitals, they depress me.'
I heard these words so many times. They need not be said. It shows on the faces of people when they first come to the hospital. Healthy people start cringing, wondering if the abundance of sickness around will find a way into their healthy souls. Distressed souls see those who have suffered more distress and are stunned at the possibilities. The air is thick. The atmosphere grim.

More so if it is a cancer hospital.

Somehow with cancer, the finality of life seems to sink in. Despite the many fine stories one has heard of - Anthony Burgess who wrote his way out of his cancer with a one year time frame and into a life as an established novelist, Stephen Hawking (who did not have cancer) but who went way past his 2 year time frame, to Sean Stephenson who famously says in his TED talk that all the doctors who predicted that he would die in 24 hours (again not cancer) are all now dead and he is the only doctor alive - there is sill that question of how long hanging in the air. If we know we can plan better.

There are all kinds of people at the hospital. Rich, poor, young, old. There are children so small you wonder if there is any justice at all. Patients who are still in shock that god could betray them and those who have accepted the fact that god has added them to that list. But life goes on with attenders in tow, stolid with their suppressed emotions, their fears bundled up deep inside them, going about with hope, trust and a sense of helplessness. Should we do all this? Should we go in for surgery? Do they know what they are doing? And the many who turn away from it with a I-hate-hospitals look.

A day or two at the hospital and things settle down. People find it in them to smile and laugh, go to the canteen and eat. There is a sense of I have seen it all when the new patient comes up and involuntarily pukes some blood. Little traces of bloodied cotton swabs are seen at the wash rooms, young kids with bald heads sit unnaturally still holding a life that seems to have been frozen into a blank stare, attenders who are daily workers struggling with their finances come up. Life goes on.

It is a daily fight between the wills. Those who choose to give in and those who choose to not give in. An entire institution battles on supporting those who want to hold on. Medicines, machines, people, prayers. Its as if the one soul that's distressed, gathers support in a larger unit of family and the friends, and then further on to the doctors and staff and the institution itself.

Defeat, fight, conquer and harsh words. I'd go easy with those words as far as the diseased cells are concerned. If some cells have gone astray because they felt neglected or abused, its time to give them some love. They are already distressed. I'd somehow like to hold them closer and give them some more love.

They are a part of the whole after all. Just as we are a part of the whole too.

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