Today, I visited Guma at the hospital with my father, and it finally just hit me how scary growing old, and dying is. I’ve never realized how difficult or terrifying it is to be old, and not to have the magical ability that youths have to recover from an accident and stuff like that. And it really frightens me to think that some day, I’d be in that position: frail and vulnerable.
Seeing Guma look so worried and exhausted and depressed about her injury made me re-think how I’d react if I were in her position. At first, I didn’t expect to see such pessimism and fear because to me, a fracture is just something that would recover, something that would heal itself — like how I always recover from silly scrapes and bruises, and how Xin’s toe just healed itself fine after her fall, or how Shien’s arm is alright now. And so, I’ve always pictured myself being rather cheerful and silly if I were ever in a hospital, recovering from an injury.
But after today, I can see why people are afraid of being in a hospital — I literally felt sick to my stomach standing in the ward just now. It was the combination of seeing everyone there look so vulnerable, sad and grey, so listless and to my over-imaginative mind, hopeless (there was an old lady who was sleeping, who looked so thin, it looked like her skin was stretched over her skull), and the atmosphere of quiet waiting, of dull tiredness, the death-like quality of the silence (even if it wasn’t a ICU ward) that really scared the shit out of me. Maybe it was the association of this place with Ma Ma’s passing on, and the eerie nature of a hospital. Maybe it was the rows of sleeping, tired patients, and the steady beeping of someone’s heart from a far-away room. But I’d never felt so nauseated by a place in my entire life.
I’m afraid of growing old and resembling some of the older patients there — I’m afraid of dying like that.
And I really admire the nurses and doctors who work there. I definitely won’t be able to go to work every day and remain so upbeat and positive and cheerful if my work environment was so still and sombre.
It’s not like this is a momentous life-changing moment for me, but it sort of put things into perspective. I’m young, yes, but at the same time, I shouldn’t take life for granted — the universe doesn’t owe me anything, and everything may be taken away in a single moment. And when that moment comes, how will I react to it? Will I be strong and cheerful as I previously imagined myself to be? Or will I just crumble and give up? Will I have been proud of what I’ve accomplished so far?
I guess it’s really things like this that sort of make me take a step back and reflect.
Anyway, my aunt is going for surgery tomorrow and I really hope that it goes well. So if you’re reading this, and if you could spare some time, please send some good energy and positive spirit to my aunt. (: