I have recently been to the hospital for a couple of days in a row. Just a regular check up, no worries I’m fine. What I noticed while walking around there, was the number of people. Older people mostly. Long lines of restlessly waiting people putting up with quite an emotionally exhausting atmosphere. It is impossible for me to imagine anyone being there for more than 24 hours. Surprisingly, a lot of people just have no other choice.
I can’t help but conclude that our health care system is designed with diseases in mind, not people at its centre.
While watching “What Really Matters at the End of Life,” a TED talk by BJ Miller in 2015, I recall a remark that was mentioned in the subtitles: Is it really worth paying lifelong contributions to health insurance, when at the moment of need, it’s not you that it serves? “Most people, at the very end, are afraid not of being dead but of dying,” he proclaims. Suffering in the time of need, are we being treated in a way that eases that fear? How come we manage to break through so many unbreakable obstacles, but still seem to somehow pay little attention to the one that inevitably happens to all of us?
Shift of Perspective
It all comes down to compassion. Suffering together. It turns out how we die is indeed something we can effect. In other words, we can’t choose how we see things around by not focusing on what we see.
Hospitals tend to attack our senses. Grey walls, persiennes on the windows, crowds, unpleasant smells, rough conduct by personnel, no privacy. Anaesthetic, literally the opposite of aesthetic. Cut off from the world. Cut off, from life.
There is a memorable quote by Mindvalley that says: “Thoughts create reality.” Imagine our healthcare system being led by this premise. Besides being responsible for threatening diseases, the system will also take into account the improvement of the general state and health of the patient. Just imagine having an authentic one-to-one talk with your doctor every time you go visit. Instead of just figuring out how to deal with consequences, you exam the real causes of the problem: emotions, daily routines, and thoughts. Together with your doctor, you get to the bottom of them and make a plan for a full recovery. Coincidingly, imagine the aroma of freshly baked cookies coming out of the office, being surrounded by green plants, and a bowl of multicolour candies lying on the desk in front of you. Would you like to try one? The little things in life, aren’t so little after all. Sensuous, aesthetic gratification, where in a moment, in an instant, we are rewarded for just being. Making life more enjoyable instead of just less horrible.
Can we trust the current system? Fix it? Or reinvent it from scratch? What do you think?
Written by Petra Cvetanovic