Yo. Hit Pause. For those of you who know sickness or are about to, for you out there in cyberspace who have family, friends or neighbors or folks you hardly know dealing with disease, allow me to pose a question. The answer will be revealing and offer plenty of food for thought. You will be stuffed.
When times are tough, most of you are passive patients. You put your futures in the hands of doctors with their own agendas. Too many do what is good for them. Are you and all the others going to sit back in your most comfortable chairs, the ones with a place to stick your drinks within arm’s reach, and know you have dumped your medical mess in a stranger’s lap?
Not me, brother. No way, sister. That lazy approach is a high risk method of restoring health. Will you be saying to anyone who will listen, it is his problem now or up to her? If you choose this passive path you are out of your freaking mind. Too many of us do exactly that and live to regret it later. Or not.
We show more care shopping for cars and sound systems, invest more time comparing other consumer items than we do for finding doctors to guard our bodies. That is short sighted enough when we are healthy. All of us are playing at the same table, and gambling with our lives makes no sense. When luck ebbs and runs dry, suddenly it is not a game.
Okay, you are sick. Decision time approaches with lightning speed. You have been knocked down. What are you going to do? Are you going to get involved, be proactive and learn about what ails you? Will you think for yourself and become your physician’s partner? You can help make choices or turn to the nearest angel in white and say, cure me. Just don’t get me involved.
Everything has to be easy. And quick. No muss, no fuss. A treatment cannot hurt. No mas. Your comfort zone must remain comfortable. Well, buddy boy, that is not how it works. Take the field. Join the team. You do own it.
A friend was diagnosed with gastric cancer and told his days were numbered. I received an email from him asking me to call him at a hospital in Maine. His doctor had told him he was dying and advised him to go into hospice care. My friend regretted he would not see New York again. Defeat came softly across a hundred miles of telephone wire.
A week later he was back in New York with his old oncologist. He was enrolled in a new clinical trial. He had taken control and bought more time. “Every day is a victory,” he told me. When the hourglass was empty, he left with the satisfaction of having spent more days with his wife, daughter and grandson.
I never have been one to do what I am told. That has kept me in water too hot for comfort. Sometimes taking charge keeps a head above the water. It is easier to breathe up there.