I went for my bi-annual check-up last week. I was in for the shock of my life when I went back for the test results. My doctor looked a little more somber than usual. Maybe he didn’t sleep well. He had a folder with my test results in his hand.
I love the way the hospital in Bangkok is so organized. They always email my test results as well as giving me a copy in a folder.
I also love the way they have everything computerized. It makes for a very efficient service.
I once had a problem with my arm, and the doctor suggested an x-ray. I asked if I needed to make an appointment for that, as well as another one to come back to see him for the results.
He laughed. No, I didn’t need to do any of that. The nurse would take me for the x-ray and bring me right back. I’m used to the NHS in England. It’s always a slow affair that takes multiple appointments for the simplest of procedures.
2-3 minutes later and I was back in the office. The doctor showed me the x-ray on the screen. My bones were fine.
It’s important to understand how fond my doctor is of having all my medical records on his screen. He loves showing various charts and short videos that explain things. This will help you understand this story.
Back to the day of my test results.
“Do you realize you’ve only got weeks live?”
What? Did I hear that correctly? He hadn’t even opened the folder with my test results yet. He was too busy playing around with his computer.
He told me to come closer and look at his screen.
I looked closely.
It said something about 1,560 weeks and 10,920 days. A quick bit of mental arithmetic and I figured out that was 30 years.
He explained that he’d input my date of birth into his new software that would predict my date of death.
He said my health was still great but that didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I only had 1,560 weeks left to live. He said it sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. He’d recently been to the funeral of a good friend that had died at a fairly young age.
He told me that we shouldn’t take life for granted. Staying in good health was important, but something else was even more important. That was living our lives to the fullest. He told me to go home and make plans for my final weeks.
He’s a funny guy. Always friendly. Always joking.
OK, let’s take a look at your test results.
A few minor issues to fix, but very good. I was very happy.
I’m back home now.
I have to start planning the last weeks of my life. Just like my doctor advised. I wish all doctors gave such great advice.
I’m starting with 4 weeks in Istanbul and then 4 weeks in Tbilisi. It will be my first time in both cities. I’m looking forward to it. So is my wife. We’ll have a blast.
But how should I fill the other 1,552 weeks? I’m open to ideas.
30 years seems like an eternity, but it will be over all too soon.
Don’t take life for granted. An acquaintance I know found out that he had lung cancer. He was dead within 3 months. That wasn’t enough time to plan much at all. Most of us are lucky enough to have much longer. We can plan all sorts of adventures. We should do it now before it’s too late.
Make solid plans for yourself.
Live life to the fullest.
Now that I think back to my visit to the hospital, I think the doctor may have said “Do you know how many weeks you have left to live?”. I probably just heard the last part and got too shocked to think straight.
It was a good reminder though. I have to make the most of life. Starting right now.