ME: Hey, how are you?
HER: I am good
ME: What brought you here?
HER: Blood Transfusion, it’s my date for blood transfusion today
ME: Oh… and you can brief me about the issue?
HER: Thalassemia, Beta Thalassemia Major
This is the total conversation we had that day, within fifty-five seconds… but the impact is long lived.
In the hustle of life, we often overlook the details of our surroundings. Minor details, including who just walked by us or who is humming across the road. We fail to experience the weather and the atmosphere… even lose the sight of the scenes which surround us. Maybe because all this carries no importance, thus we care nonetheless.
That day I was at the hospital, on my way to grab my blood reports. I saw a girl on the wheelchair, almost 15–16 years old. Something about her looked different.. and then she looked back at me with her October eyes, her eyes as beautiful as the autumn leaves… dried… wrinkled… devoid of life… yet beautiful… the leaves which the wind adores… the leaves which dance on the wind to meet Thee. Her eyes… like a sturdy oak, standing still… feeling the warmth of the sun which surrounds it. I am not exaggerating, not at all, and the truth is that no words can describe the conflict she had in her eyes… a conflict between the will to live and fear of helplessness.
Beta thalassemia, a point mutation of chromosome number 11, a genetic defect. A point mutation of chromosome… DNA… of something not even visible by naked eye, leading to devastating effects, ranging from paler, dyspnea to jaundice, hepatomegaly… splenomegaly and a lot more. The treatment, Blood Transfusion leads to further complications, including hemochromatosis causing pericarditis, arrhythmias and a lot more. In short, a life of dependency…. and vulnerability.
To think we are just a gene away from being at her place is terrifying. Having a 180 degree twist in life, from being independent and self-contained to being dependent and vulnerable… now isn’t life fair enough for us? But are we grateful for it? I know everybody has a lot on his/her plate. As in A Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl says this:
“A man’s suffering is like the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. … We are all filled up with suffering at some point in our lives.
But this shouldn’t keep us from being thankful for what we have, because indeed we are living someone’s dream.