Cancer Lesson #27: Being ill is not a competition.


Cancer Lesson #27: Being ill is not a competition.

This lesson is brought to you courtesy of a roommate who, during her (thankfully) brief stay on my second night, managed to alienate everyone – staff and patients – on at least one floor, probably more. (I’m sure the ER people were cheering when they kicked her upstairs.)

This woman spent her entire visit enumerating her many ailments and directing the doctors and nurses on every aspect of her care. When no medical staff members were present, she called friends to treat them to the same monologue or lay in bed emitting theatrical moans and sighs.

Evidently unsatisfied with the amount of attention these actions elicited, my fellow patient – who rated her pain at an eight out of ten – several times got out of bed, grabbed her IV pole, and toddled off to the gift shop seven floors below, probably in search of a more appreciative audience.

Still, my whining roommate taught me this: Being ill isn’t a competition. She who dies with the most prescriptions does not win. Because, duh(!), she’s still dead.

Also, it could have been much worse. If she’d been a continual television watcher, I would probably have imploded.