ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mortality as Metaphor

A doctor reflects on the everyday in the public healthcare system, a monument of systemic inequity in which patients are turned into statistics out of context.


They say every blow that life deals you is a lesson in strength. There is not a soul on this earth who has never wondered why some receive extra lessons at no charge.

— Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1978)

Till I joined a government hospital as a doctor, I was under the delusion that pain was a positive experience—that it built character, made you stronger, and prepared you for the distasteful intricacies of life. But sometimes, pain is just pain. It might not kill you, but it can leave you weaker, in a comatose state between life and death where you become the audience of a world you can never truly participate in. It hurts meaninglessly, unreasonably, metastasising into your future—as if grief too was some sort of cancer. In hospitals, you understand that
karma is a myth, bad things can happen to good people without any justification, and what has never gone around can still keep coming around one more time. Like alcoholism. Like heart attacks. Like stillbirths. 

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Updated On : 19th Jul, 2021
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