Guest column | Health is the jewel of life
“I never get sick,” I retorted as soon as someone started bombarding me with unsolicited health advice. After all, having my tonsils removed four decades ago had so far been the only time I had to be hospitalized. As they say, one should not brag about divine blessings, and I wasted my words soon after a two-pronged attack of dengue and typhoid struck me down.
Twin diseases were like a stone thrown into a placid pool whose ripples would take days to fade. When my platelet count shot up, I was taken to the nearest private hospital. However, dissatisfied with the medical care provided, we decided to move to the military hospital.
A recovered patient is a lost client and sarcasm was all I could use before paying a bill of almost half a lakh for the few hours spent in therapeutic captivity and while I was in the hands of the healers. fighting, a lot of time had been wasted and the weakness and rising temperatures had taken their toll on my body.
It was a collapse at an unholy hour in the dark of the night that caused panic and sent me to intensive care. The last time I passed out was during flight training days when my instructor put me through a high level of anti-gravity acceleration. However, this time the experience took place in a rather embarrassing place: the restroom.
Wired with instruments controlling various parameters, I had never experienced hours like these. Another first experience was the infusion of platelets, drugs and fluids into my veins. With five of my co-patients on a ventilator and one with terminal cancer, my heart pounded upon seeing their plight as I wondered if they would ever lead normal lives afterwards. Although placed in a much better league by comparison, I struggled to maintain a good mood in that dark smell of grief. Commendable physicians have worked around the clock like a shadow of God on earth in their struggle to pull patients from the clutches of death.
As I waited for time to heal me, I felt a conviction growing within me. If life was the greatest gift, then healthy living was a crown jewel. Life had so much to offer and yet we succumbed to ego, jealousy and anger, which disturb the harmony of body, mind and spirit. Wasn’t it better to count your blessing than to feed the pain of regrets, shortcomings and failures? We climb to sublime heights on wings of fantasy, not realizing that life was stranger than fiction and that an invisible microbe was enough to expose the inconstancy of fortune.
Although I have no idea where I fit into the grand scheme of things, nor do I seem to have a role in the cosmic drama, fortunately, the veil of illusion that had clouded my vision has lifted. . I walked out of the hospital emaciated, but wiser with a heart full of gratitude that left little room for negativity.
Thank goodness for adversity, it finally dawned on me that happiness is the highest form of health and the only constant in life.
(The writer is an independent contributor based in Mohali)