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Apr 13, 2012

The bronchitis diary

I was fighting bronchitis most of this and a part of the last week. With the right drugs, it is not a big deal. Like any other minor or major ailment, it does make you think about your own body. We all live so much through our minds that the illusion of independence from the body becomes strong. Until that it, something goes wrong and the mind runs back to the body like a little scared child to its parent, asking for help and protection, refusing to work, denouncing its own independence.

It is good for all of us to get sick once in a while. It makes us a little more compassionate to all those people who have much more serious conditions, sometimes life-threatening, sometimes painful and sometimes debilitating. It makes us remember that people’s minds are situated in their bodies, which may or may not be good hosts. We don’t see each other much anymore – a lot of business is conducted through email. What a great and efficient way of doing business! However, what we see less and less is when someone looks pale, or is limping, or is short of breath. We just don’t notice these things as much anymore, because you may become a message in my inbox. We communicate more, but see each other less.

Illness and getting older are key human conditions. We like to pretend to be forever young and immortal, but I dread the world where it actually becomes true. We are better off frail and sick, because the ability to feel pain, and be tired is what we all have in common. Once we lose that ability, we become something less. Love is inextricably related to pain and life - to death. Forgiveness is rooted in compassion, and compassion depends on the common biological limitations.

I guess codeine can also make one overly philosophical or pathetic. But I am over it now; thanks for asking. Now, how do you feel?

1 comment:

  1. Good points, Sasha. One of my favorite authors is Sherwin Nuland. His most famous book is "How We Die." While the title is morbid, the content is excellent. His most recent work which I'm now reading is about the medical profession being as much about art as it is science. We need to be aware that our daily stresses can play an important role in our health. A dentist once told me he can tell when exams are held at Brown just by examining the gums of the students.

    I hope you are feeling better.

    Best wishes.

    Bob Rude