Sage Advice 71: Hospitals

You know how sometimes a place doesn’t turn out as frightening as you imagined it? Like your new school or your grandmother’s house or a confessional booth. You build up this image of a terrifying place filled with your anxieties and fears, then once you get there, it’s nothing like that at all. It’s just a normal place.

Hospitals aren’t that. Every bad thing you’ve ever imagined about a hospital is probably going on when you arrive. Here’s the thing: this is where most people go to die (some people go to Six Flags to die as per ancient American rituals). It’s not just where the end of life gets catalogued, recorded, and brushed aside to usher in more terminal residents, though; hospitals are also where you go to be told how much your body sucks.

A doctor’s job is essentially to tell you how the damage you’ve done to your body over the years has accumulated. Once you’re thoroughly aware of how imminent your death is, the same person who told you every was wrong will then proceed to tell you how to fix it. Sometimes he or she will even give you some expensive magical pills to fix all the stuff you broke. Then you get a bill that will financially ruin you.

That’s why I like hospitals. I don’t like being in or near them, but I like that they meet every expectation you have. Few things in life really deliver on that front. Usually your imagination is able to set fire to whatever reality things exist in, leaving your expectations far beyond what really goes on. Not for hospitals, though. Death, sadness, illness, financial and social ruin. All of that goes on all the time.

People do get better in hospitals, though. We could talk about how they overcome disease and turmoil, but this is where hospitals fall short of whatever expectations you hold. This is when your brain tells you people are going to a wonderful place of cures and fixes that will make life as good if not better than it once was. However, it only turns out like that for some people. It’s probably the same some people who go to Six Flags to die as per ancient American rituals. Lucky bastards.


-Matthew Fugere

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