What happens when the doctor falls ill? I’ve never asked myself this question until I was in hospital for an illness in the past 1 week. Being so fit and healthy my entire life, it was a big surprise to me and everyone around me that I was having such a serious medical problem.
It was life-threatening and thoroughly unexpected. Being ill for a week, I initially thought I was having a mild infection until I listened to my own lungs and ordered my chest X-ray. I was immediately admitted by the physicians and a procedure was done for me.
Being in the hospital for 4 days had been an emotional roller-coaster. I kept on asking myself, asking God : Why me? Why this problem when I am so young? What is the reason? Why do I deserve this when I have always done my best in treating patients and saving lives and doing good? Is it worth working so hard my life but getting this ill?
I went through an entire spectrum of emotions: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Everything that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described in her human psychology book on hearing bad news. In retrospect, it wasn’t totally bad news but to me, at that moment of weakness, I really crumbled. The strength in me went out and I burst into tears. In the deepest valley of my emotions, I drew joy and assurance from God. Good friends came and counseled me. Mostly, I prayed and worshipped the Lord, seeking answers and peace.
Finally I found the inner joy and peace. The Spirit of God enveloped me so thoroughly that within 1 day of feeling in the dumps, I was back to my usual self. Optimism, happiness and pure faith flowed in me. I started smiling at my friends. I was thankful and amazed by the huge amount of visitors…I was being visited almost non-stop daily. Doctors and nurses don’t adhere to visiting hours and they all came in, cheering me up and showing me how much they care. Friends from church dropped by and prayed, bringing with them beautiful flowers and tiny gifts that really touched my heart.
Most of the time, I wasn’t tired or breathless. In fact, after my procedure, my cough reduced drastically and my fever settled. Although my diagnosis is still elusive (mine a case of medical connundrum worthy of the attentions of Dr Gregory House), I was being treated in one of the best facilities in Asia.
The medical and nursing staff that attend to me have been professional and the best that I’ve encountered. My investigation results came out very early and conveyed to me almost immediately. I know my hospital bills will be substantial, but judging from the level of care, I know that I was in the right place.
As I now recover at home with a small, residual problem and a lot of antibiotics, I still do not have most of the answers. In fact, I am not even sure of my own diagnosis. The biggest lesson I learnt is to slow down and to de-stress. I need to re-evaluate the way I work, my extreme dedication and lack of rest played a role in reduced immunity, thus I fell ill.
Recognizing that God has ordained this rest and this entire episode. Everything that happened has a reason in God’s big picture, I no longer strive for answers or live in negative emotions. Instead, I choose to focus on His goodness, mercy and love, to look at the bright side of things and to be happy so that I could recover fast. I wish to contribute to society as soon as I can. So, in order to do so, I need to be fully healthy again.
For I know that I am the most important patient to myself.