The Truth About Life With Ill Health I Realized While Waiting for My Doctor

Yesterday when I was waiting for my turn to meet the doctor in the madly crowded outpatient hall at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), I looked around at all those waiting with different ailments and different expressions on their faces. After almost three hours of waiting and staring at all those around me, I realized what underlines us all is that we must all live our lives as well as we can, no matter what comes our way.

As human beings we have very little choice in the matter of coming into this life. We don’t get to choose our parents, our siblings, our relatives or our homes. From the moment we arrive we are learning how to cope and make the most of whatever we have and whatever life hands us.

While waiting in the queue I saw there were three more patients struggling with myasthenia gravis, all in their late 5os and accompanied by their spouses and sons/daughters. I was the only one in the mid-30s and was accompanied by my husband and two aged fathers. At that moment I realized that although we may share many common experiences from an ailment point of view (the three hours of waiting had weakened our backs and almost made us put our heads between our knees), we are still unique in this world. Whatever happens in our lifetime is still a life lived. I further realized that our bodies are merely the vessels and receptacles for all our life’s work and dreams. Our passions, our loves, our interests and our experiences all reside at the center of our being. Regardless of what happens between birth and the final end, what matters at the end is the life we lived.

Sometimes the plans and hopes we may have for our lives can be changed forever and in an instant. But still, it’s the only life we can truly call our own. I find this thought very comforting when I feel lost in the challenges I may be facing and am questioning what purpose and meaning my life may have. It seems more fair to me when I think that all lives are a mixture of chance, choices and constant change. It is somewhat ironic then that it is when we feel in control and in command of our lives that something will happen to remind us we are not. We can never take anything about this life for granted, nor allow ourselves to think we are superior to another life by virtue of our current circumstances.

I would never have dreamed of this life and where it has taken me, what I have seen and what I have felt. When I look at those around me and those I know and love, I am reminded that they don’t know what awaits them around the corner either. I sincerely pray and hope it’s not pain, suffering or misfortune, but these things could happen to any one of us at any second. (Just as something pleasant or fulfilling may also be a moment away.) Yet we sleep, we eat, we breathe, we dream and we do what we can from day to day, despite the odds and chances of whatever lays ahead.

To those like me who must bear the burden of pain and hardship caused by ill health, it is not an easy reality to face and there are so many times I have wished it wasn’t my reality. I wish I didn’t have this illness, but I guess that wasn’t to be my path. Despite that, I still have my one and only life. Just as precious as yours. And just as worthy as the next person’s.

Who will love me, who will meet me, who will value me and who will remember me are things that I may not have a lot of control over. But, how I love myself, who I remember and how I live out my remaining years will be up to me and the great unknown. I still intend it to be a life lived. Now I am true to myself and my passions. I have accepted all of my past and made a life out of what I’ve been given and what my heart truly enjoys.

Have a wonderful weekend and live your life to the fullest!

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