For some of us, the worst days of our lives are spent in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) or cancer wards, there either for ourselves or our loved ones. There are some heroes who have chosen to spend their days making those experiences the best they possibly can be for those of us who find ourselves there. A number of my friends are nurses, and after my last post Pondering death and what it all means I contacted two of them to ask them, quite simply, how the hell do they do it?
Privacy does not exist in India unless an extreme amount of money changes hands, and even then, you might be lucky. In Lesson 3 we discussed the collectivist nature of Indian culture, how your life is not your own, and the nation’s insatiable penchant for gossip. If you layer the high density population over those complete lack of personal boundaries, you start to see how there could be a nation where there is no chance of personal privacy ever.
Sometimes life has a way of teaching us lessons we didn’t know we needed to be taught. There are a lot of ways it can do this: through our relationships with friends and family, through natural and unnatural disasters, and through our pursuit of professional fulfilment… For me, some of my biggest lessons have come from my body, which has sent me the gift of a chronic, ‘incurable’ condition to battle for well over half of my life.
But it was when I glanced over to the mirror on the wall to my right, I saw where the real damage was. There was a huge, deep hole in my right elbow. “Hmmmmmmmmm, a bandaid is not going to fix that,” I thought.
“I thought Japan was supposed to be a developed country,” he said with a look of pure horror on his face. “I’m from a third world country and our conditions are better than this!” (Of course Spain is not a third world country, but Diego was prone to dramatization back then). We surveyed the situation as our translator gestured for us to come to the front counter. We then looked at each other and, in that moment, decided to roll the dice.