Our physical body does not last forever, at least not in this world. It breaks down over time, even when it’s cared for carefully. At times, it gets injured beyond repair. Eventually, sooner or later, the parts of our physical body wear out. Physical sickness is simply an expected part of living.
Several hours ago, I came to visit my Dad who is turning 80 next month. He is a “strong” Dad! But at this time, he is having serious difficulties urinating and defecating, that he had to be taken to the hospital only a few days back. Examinations reveal that my Dad is suffering from an enlargement of the prostate and gastrointestinal illness. The doctors say that from hereon he has to wear a diaper or an artificial medical aid so he can urinate.
When there are no physical symptoms, we take our body for granted. Then when we suddenly get sick, we are forced to see our limitations. It vividly confronts us with the stark reality that every one of us inhabits a physical body which will someday decay or die. When you deny or avoid thoughts of illness and even ignore its obvious symptoms, it gets harder to accept and adjust accordingly when sickness does come.
Often, those unprepared or in denial of this reality are accompanied by psychological or emotional symptoms. Anger. Discouragement. Loneliness. Hopelessness. Bitterness. Confusion. When sickness slows one down or inhibits activities, some start to ask largely unanswerable questions such as “Why me?” or “Why now?” The state of being physically sick can truly be a huge psychological, emotional, and spiritual challenge to health care.
Every one needs to grapple with this inevitable reality of life. Face it now. Be prepared enough.