Learning From Illness

Posted by Melissa Dickman on Jan 3, 2013
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I have a chronic health condition...and while often quite normal, occasionally I get sick. Illness in this case can mean fairly painful symptoms... and so when I start to feel an episode coming on it is hard not to fear several painful days in front of me and start to ask why I have to be sick, how unfair it is, etc. I was debating Monday if I should try and see a doctor before the New Year holiday as I had started to have pain again. When I decided to take the hour + public transit ride to the urgent health clinic - I was delayed. I was dehydrated and not feeling well enough for the trip. Finally, I got the last possible bus to the clinic before it would close.

I got off the bus to switch to the light rail - and as I was walking I was distracted with my phone, texting a friend. I was walking in a poorer area of the city, with many abandoned businesses, and few people on foot. As I walked past one empty building, I heard a voice cry out, "Please, you have a phone." I stopped, looked around the corner and found a homeless man under two thin blankets. (Yes, I live in the desert - but winter temperatures that night were to hit freezing...) I went up to him, he was crying and his shoes were off. He begged for me to use my phone to call 911, he said he was covered in rashes and in pain and needed help. I called for help, and in a few minutes the fire department was there and taking him for medical treatment and a warm place for the night.

For one of the first times, I realized how important it was for me to feel sick that day. In one part, so I would be in the right place at the right time to serve the man by calling for help... but also so I would have the compassion for him in that moment, as I knew what it felt like to be in pain and just really want some help. I am also so grateful that I have access to regular healthcare, and to friends who can help me and support me on the days I do not feel well.

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Comments (2)

  • Birju wrote ...

    powerful Melissa, thanks for sharing. i've recently been feeling sick as well, really does up the sense of compassion.

  • Conrad wrote ...

    Thank you for your beautiful comments Melissa. I am sorry about your illness but I am so happy that you are so considerate of others. ou are very compassionate and I believe that makes you happy. I am so pleased to be associated with you and others in the service space group. Warm and kind regards to everyone.