Hospitals are places of some stark realities. They freaked me out for so many years. Sterile zones of pain and death with unwell people lingering around outside. I didn’t like to be reminded of them. Similar to homeless people, it’s easier if you avoid and pretend they don’t exist.
I’m being sold so much at the moment. Online I am never not being asked to buy things. I am tempted by food, books and clothing whenever I go to work. These things that we enjoy as people with our privilege of health. We are sold as if the products are our right. The holidays, the clothes are our life’s purpose.
Hospitals don’t sell you much other than sandwiches and vending machine crunchie bars. They don’t have much nice to look at and they are places of desperation. We have paced hospital corridors as someone we love is ill and many of us have been the ill ones. Hospital is a place you don’t want to be. All that is sold to you in there is a dusty view of the outside world and it’s an upsetting temptation.
Illness fills us with the realities of our life and what we have neglected. We tell ourselves we will never take it for granted again but it’s so easy to fall back into routine of discontent and gossip. Easy to feel forgotten, jealous and hurt by so many things that happen.
This time I can’t un-think about illness, those with months to live and those in constant pain. I am thinking of all the people who only want to be sold a life with an element of wellness and more time with their family.
We have made things so polarised. On the streets of central London I am an unsuccessful and often quite moody young person with grief, anxiety and irritation. I believe I deserve so much more money, more recognition and more pretty things. When we go into a hospital, suddenly we aren’t on this trajectory and things are much more black and white. I am privileged because I am without constant pain, manageable anxiety and the ability to sleep in my own bed.
I can’t quite articulate it much further but I’m mostly annoyed at being sold things. I want to know what the point is of earning more and more money if I can’t even guarantee my vulnerable human body won’t suffer something that lands me in a hospital or casket. It’s cheerful.
Is this the start of a time of a new freedom or at least a bit more gratitude? I really hope so.