We humans tend to take a lot of things in modern-day life for granted. Until, that is, something happens to remind us of the incredible contributions made by so many people that enable us to live . . .
I stopped the preceding sentence there for a reason — not because I was too lazy to talk about the many material possessions and luxuries of life that we enjoy thanks to the fruits of other people’s creativity and endeavours.
I want to talk today about the people who actually enable us to continue living life, the people who treat us when we are ill or wounded.
I’m talking, of course, about the people who choose to work in the medical profession.
They’ve saved my life at least four times. I would have been dead by the age of 30 had it not been for the skill — and dedication — of a surgeon.
And they’ve saved me from potentially debilitating situations that would have made my life miserable.
I’m betting most people in the western world over the age of, say, 50 can relate to this. I bet the practitioners of medical science have saved you, too.
I was reminded of all of this on Wednesday during a consultation with my endocrinologist. I visit him once every two years, when we review blood tests and bone density scans done a month or so earlier.
I started seeing him in 2008, before I was to undergo some elective surgery. In truth, I would never have gone to see him had it not been a prerequisite for the surgical procedure — and because he would be prescribing hormones and monitoring them afterward.
After the surgery, he sent me to have a bone density scan, just in case. It would probably be fine, he said, but he just wanted to be sure.
Well, it wasn’t fine. I had — and still have — low bone density. But he caught it before it got the point of seriously disrupting my life. I’m at low risk of bone fracture now and the bone density situation has stabilized. It is no worse than it was in 2009, thanks to the treatment of my endocrinologist.
I shudder to think of what could have happened to me if he hadn’t sent me for that first precautionary bone scan.
There’s more to this particular story, about how my decision — with emphasis on the word “decision” — to undergo the elective surgery saved my life, but I won’t get into that now. Suffice to say that it also involved the power of what I thought was a totally unrelated prayer at a time when I was closer to death than I knew . . . It seems coincidental, but we theosophists don’t believe in coincidences. Sometimes things happen not for the reason we thought at the time. (I’ll do a post on this another time.)
What is important today is that medical professionals enabled me to get to this point in my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be writing these words today.
That revelation, by extension, makes me grateful for not only all the medical professionals who so nobly devote themselves to healing people, but for all the people past and present who have contributed to making my life what it is today — myriad people in myriad ways.
And, of course, there are the miracles we take for granted that man has had no part in creating: the air that we breathe, the bright sun that keeps us warm, the blue sky and the clouds that bring us rain, the oceans . . . and on and on and on it goes.
Such are my thoughts after a visit with my endocrinologist this week.
Photo: The Doctor, an 1891 painting by Luke Fildes. (Source: Wikipedia)