Illness

After what doctors call a “complication” from a medical procedure, I’ve just spent three days in the hospital. I haven’t been this sick since having pneumonia many years ago.

One thing I was reminded of is how difficult it can be to sleep in a hospital bed, while connected to various tubes, with inflatable straps around your legs to prevent blood clots, the bed undulating to prevent bedsores, high-tech machinery beeping, chugging and whooshing, and periodic visits from the nurses and technicians. They should call it a “patient platform” instead of a “bed”.

The more significant thing I’ve been reminded of is how illness can change your perception of the world. Having an abnormal perspective makes the world seem very different. What is normally interesting, enjoyable or possible isn’t anymore.

I’m very glad that I’ll recover soon. I wouldn’t want this unpleasant state to start feeling typical, the way being healthy becomes a memory for people with chronic illness. Being ill for a long time doesn’t mean that it’s normal to be ill — you can still compare your state to a healthy one. But maybe you can adjust after a while, your abnormal perspective becoming “normal for you”. The world might seem interesting and enjoyable again.

I don’t want to find out if I could get used to this particular perspective. Apparently all I need is some more hemoglobin and the world will again seem normal.

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