This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.
Symptom: I was taking the health of my loved one for granted
This idea applies to myself and to my loved one, my grandpa. For instance, just because I’ve never seen my loved one ill, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on inside. Its like a great looking car, and assuming that runs fine.
Until the car starts giving you signals that something is wrong.
Along the way, you realize that the car its a classic, and that it has been on the road for quite sometime. And because it never really had any problems, you rarely gave it service other than gasoline and oil change.
You realize that taking anything or anyone for granted is in itself wishful thinking, to the point of believing that things shouldn’t change too much in life.
Rx to Self: Question your assumptions
I’m talking about the impermanence of life. The first time you experience your own memento mori. The moment of awareness of your own mortality and its almost unpredictable end.
After my own first attempt, I realized that it didn’t take much for me to do it, and with no hesitation. However, when someone you love and care about deeply is showing signs that life is compromised, the story is different.
I felt the necessity of being present in the moment. I wanted share and experience life with my grandpa before it was too late. After all, he was the one who raised me and took care of me during dark times.
It hit me hard when I got notified that something was wrong with him, and that there wasn’t a clear answer at the time. The uncertainty was nerve-racking.
Also, I felt guilt because at the time I wasn’t visiting him as much.
My excuses were many. For instance, that I’m over-scheduled, that I have to cross the border back and forth in order to see him, and that in itself made me anxious and could trigger symptoms.
All of that bullshit vanished after knowing that he was ill. It was time to take action and prepare for the unknown. I wanted to be part of the process and provide help. It was my way of giving back.
This happened during the winter break.
I never felt so focused, motivated, and with a courage that I didn’t even know I had.
It was time to get my act together and help my grandpa have a better quality of life. I wanted to do it, and that’s all I cared at the time.
The problem was that I had no clue on how to navigate a healthcare system that wasn’t the USA.
I had a lot of unanswered questions.
Time was running out.