Life Lessons From A Hospital
For some complications that I wouldn't want to revisit, my husband had to be admitted into the ICU for two days, and then to ICCU for two more days. Overall, he stayed in the hospital for a week, and so did I, and I learned some really valuable lessons that I know I would remember for life.
Nothing is as humbling as a visit to the hospital. It is a place that brings you awareness of your own mortal nature. We get immersed in our daily routine, handling one task after another, dealing with one problem after another and totally forgetting ourselves in the little joys and moments of happiness that are a vital part of our lives. But a visit to the hospital makes us confront the reality, and that is, we are on borrowed time. Nothing lasts forever, neither our sorrows nor our joys.
Firstly, the hospital teaches you to have faith. When you pray in a hospital, it is a prayer from the very depths of your soul. It is the most sincere form of prayer that you would have ever offered in your whole lifetime. Not only in a Higher Power, but the hospital also teaches you to put your faith in the doctors and nurses and the numerous staff that aid in the daily operations. Without seeing any report or file or papers, you learn to take the doctor's word and give him the go-ahead for the treatment. When he says, 'there is nothing to worry', you accept it. When he says, 'there are some complications', you accept it. When strangers offer assistance in looking after your kid as you make some important phone calls, you accept their help!
On any given day, I would never entrust my kid to any stranger. And yet, when I had to take a really important decision and wanted to consult the elders of my family before taking the decision, I entrusted my kid to two kind ladies who assured me with just a wave of their hands, that they would look after the kid while I made the call. During visiting hours in the ICU, I left my kid in the care of the receptionist as he was not allowed inside. It was the call of the situation, and I surrendered my trust and faith in a Higher Power, and to Good Samaritans whom you meet by the dozen in a hospital any given day!
Secondly, the hospital teaches you to remain centered amidst a crisis. When you look around and see hundreds of people who await recovery of their loved ones, who battle the disease and pain of their loved ones, you realize that you are not alone in your suffering. When the doctor keeps the same expression in dealing with every kind of patient and their relatives, you learn to stay as stoic as the doctor is. When you eagerly ask the doctor for some kind of assurance, and he takes his time to think and makes a carefully-thought-out statement, you learn to think before talking. Mostly, the hospital teaches you to be mindful. You concentrate on one thing at a time, take each step as it comes.
Thirdly, the hospital teaches you patience. When my husband was in ICU, I was allowed to meet him only twice during the day - morning between 11 to 12 (just for five minutes) and in the evening between 5 pm to 6 pm. Rest of the time, I had no idea of how he is faring, and he had no idea of what I and our kid were doing. But these few days taught us to be patient and surrender to the expert panel that was taking care of my husband. I learned to sleep, surrendering everything to a Higher Power and not to worry.
Fourth, the hospital also teaches that in the midst of the direst of situations, you can always find occasions to smile, laugh and have fun. During boring nights, my husband's only solace was the innocent-yet-funny bickering between the sisters and the staff inside the ICU. They would discuss what food to order, and tease each other and made the patients smile. While I waited anxious hours at the waiting lounge, I saw the staff of the hospital playfully punch each other, make some jokes and laugh out loud. It brought some respite from the dreariness of waiting.
Most of all, the hospital teaches to never take anything or anyone for granted. We lose ourselves in our virtual world, assuming that our family will always be around. We take our health for granted, assuming that nothing will go wrong. We also forget to enjoy the little pleasures of life, thinking that there is time for all these. But a visit to the hospital brings home the solid truth - whatever is, is for NOW.
Live fully, live every moment!