Diseases, Maladies, and Conditions

Yesterday I had to sit through one of those medical interviews where the interviewer rattles off countless maladies, diseases and conditions, asking if I have any of them.  It is a long list.  That part of the interview took about fifteen minutes, and you can rattle off a lot of maladies, diseases and conditions in fifteen minutes.  Hell, many of them inquired about I didn’t even know what they were – but if I had never heard of that disease, condition, or malady I felt comfortable saying I did not have it.  (We’ll skip over the hubris and flawed logic there.)  The fact that each of those diseases, maladies and conditions was on the list indicates that someone suffers from each one, and not just a single someone, but enough someones that the disease, malady, or condition made the list.  Yet here I was, answering “No” in rapid succession to each of them.  Ultimately, after the interview, it occurred to me that I was relatively healthy.  But what followed that thought is, I think, more significant.  It occurred to me that while my responses, when reviewed by an underwriter, would likely earn me a “healthy” label, I tend to focus on the health issues I do have.  My left shoulder hurts off and on, I have seasonal allergies, my hearing and vision are on the downturn….  I could, but won’t, go on.  But I will note that buried in this there is a lesson on perspective.  In focusing on the few diseases, maladies, and conditions I do have, it is easy to ignore the other side of that coin — the ones I don’t (or think I don’t) have. My tendency, perhaps the human tendency, is to focus on, complain about what is wrong, which often causes me to ignore/forget what is right.  And there is a lot that is right.

Here it is almost Christmas, and I am still thinking about thanksgiving.

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