On days like this I feel very glad that I'm not a health professional.
I strongly believe that people are entitled to the same quality of care, regardless of politics, social status or the cause of their condition. And yet I can't help feeling anger and frustration when I see people in hospital with me, apparently hell-bent on self destruction.
I can't help but think of the people I know who live so fully despite failing bodies - friends who have fought with everything to achieve their dreams in the face of unbelievable adversity. I think about the joy that these friends wring from every last little drop of life, despite knowing that life will be considerably shortened by illness, and the generosity with which they share their zest for living with those around them.
I can't help but think of the things that these people would do if they were given the opportunity to inhabit healthy bodies, like the ones that the people around me are destroying. It would be unfair of me to suggest that everyone should seek to change the world in big ways just because they have a strong and healthy body, but I wish that I could show these people how lucky they are.
I wish that I could make them appreciate the pleasures of eating good food in moderation, of having limbs that support their weight without pain; the satisfaction of a deep breath, and of the feeling of sun against bare skin. I wish that I could encourage them to make the most of every conversation; every sight and sound and touch and smell. I wish that I could give them some of the enthusiasm and love of life that so often comes to those of us that are constantly reminded of how short and precious life can be.
I resent the casual way in which some of my fellow patients treat their bodies, hardly seeming to care whether they live or die, and I feel angry that they've brought suffering on themselves by smoking and drinking and taking drugs and eating excessively, but most of all I feel sadness for them and all the things that they're missing.
Ferris Bueller got it just right when he said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it."