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?
I don’t know why, but for the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about writing this article pondering death. I think it is the flippancy around COVID19 deaths bandied around by some leaders in the media but for whatever reason it has been niggling away. This can be a traumatic subject, so please take care when reading.
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.
Michael Knight, or Mick as his mates call him, is a 78 year old who has suffered from asbestosis for the past 35 years, has arthritis in most of his joints he has to take pain killers for, and recently survived a horrendous, protracted, and simultaneous bout of COVID19 AND pneumonia. If you think this coronavirus is just another flu; you need to hear Mick’s story. If you are curious about what it is like to get COVID19 and what you should do if you, or someone you know gets it; you need to hear Mick’s story. If you are one of those people who doesn’t think they need to abide by social distancing norms; Mick says you’re a “f*cking idiot.”
“We never get to see Lauren! Can we stop and see Lauren? I miss my friends!” exclaimed Lydia, Deana’s five-and-a-half-year-old daughter as they were walking past Lauren’s home with her four-year-old sister, Emilee. Deana’s heart was breaking. How could she explain to her five-year-old that although Lauren was likely just inside that house, she couldn’t go and see her because they were under quarantine for the coronavirus? She got down on one knee to get closer to them, and held their hands.
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.