Hospitalisation, Recovery, and What Matters

This year has got to be the most dramatic year ever.

If you noticed, I’ve not been posting anything for the past few days. That’s because I fell sick and eventually got hospitalised! That’s the second time this year I’ve been to the hospital!

The first time (in April), I got hospitalised for some undiagnosable liver-attacking virus that resembled dengue. The doctors ran several blood tests but were unable to determine what virus I got. Well, at least I managed to recover (and the good news was that my liver was able to recover to a healthy state once again).

How I got hospitalised again this time is a bit of a long story.

Basically, it started out as a simple throat infection. I should have gone to see the doctor earlier, but I thought little of the sore throat and self-medicated. Bad idea. I soon developed a really high fever. The first time I saw a doctor, the doctor prescribed really strong antibiotics. That, however, just complicated matters as it caused my entire body to itch so badly that I couldn’t sleep. Imagine your whole body itching away so badly – your arms, your back, your chest, your legs, your feet – all itching away. And there’s nothing you could do to alleviate it. It’s a really horrible feeling.

Last Monday was the first day back to school after a short one-week break. I was supposed to have lunch with The Girlfriend, but I suddenly found myself so terribly exhausted that I had absolutely no appetite whatsoever. She bought my lunch, but I was unable to bring myself to eat the food. The next thing I knew, I suddenly found myself breathless and rather confused. Not only that, my entire body from the neck down went numb. All I felt was pins and needles going through my whole body. By then, I was starting to feel as if I was losing consciousness. The Girlfriend aided me to the nearby bench so that I could lie flat, and called for an ambulance. It must have been a sight for everyone in school who’s just back from their one-week break!

The ambulance came, and off I was sent to the National University Hospital (NUH). The doctor’s diagnosis was that this was probably the case of an allergic reaction towards the medicine I took. The effects could also have been caused by the virus, or a combination of both the virus and the medicine that I was potentially allergic to.

For the next few days, I was kept under observation while treating me with really strong anti-histamines and steroids to reduce the itch. On the third day, I was discharged from the hospital. My entire body was still itching, but it was much less severe compared to the previous days thanks to the medication.

But whether it’s my sickness or my medicine, I’ve been feeling exhausted like never before. Even today, I’m still feeling really tired. At the very least, I’m glad I can feel a slow and gradual gain in strength.

Being so sick to the extent that I end up in hospital twice in a year is really a horrible feeling. Not only is it a really strong and bleak reminder of just how fragile life is, it also reminds me that I’m not as young and energetic as I used to be a couple of years back. Sure, I’m still young, but I’m not that young anymore.

Right now, I’m a little paranoid. Parts of my body are aching, and I’m wondering if my organs – especially my liver that was damaged a couple of months back – has been affected. I’m just hoping that everything will be fine.

Well, whatever it is, it does make me cherish every moment of my life even more. Having been hospitalised twice, the possibility that I might be hospitalised again (and even for something worse) is so real to me at this moment. Life as I know it may change forever. Heck, life as I know it may not even exist! It’s a morbid thought, but as several philosophers have said, death is the ultimate negation that puts everything into perspective. When you know that everything that you set out to do could possibly be wiped away by the ultimate nihility of death, you suddenly realise what truly matters. When you realise that everything you set out to achieve may just be nullified by that one single moment known as death, many things begin to pale in comparison to that ultimate nihility. Suddenly, so many things don’t seem so important when you recognise just how death can easily negate those things that seem to matter so much. Suddenly, they don’t matter anymore.

To me, what matters the most right now are the people I love (The Girlfriend especially), my friends, and the processes that I value (such as studying philosophy). Every single moment is precious. Every moment I have that I could make a difference in someone’s life – even if it were for a moment – is precious. Every moment that I could learn something valuable from someone is precious.

A friend once remarked how she loves interacting with all kinds of people because they are all vessels of experience. Every person is a lifetime worth of experience, of mistakes made and learnt, of memories both happy and sad. To be able to spend a moment with any person is to share in that person’s experience, and to gain some valuable lesson or insight from that person’s vessel of experience.

It’s easy to say all these and to remember them when right now, I worry about my health/life. I recognise that it’s easy to forget these things when I do get better. But I do hope I won’t forget to cherish the people and the moments I have in this finite life time.