CFN – I recently read the Forbes compilation of the 30 best under 30 in science and health, and in all honesty, the profiles blew my mind. (LINK). I think anyone who reads that article will feel the same way, what these prodigies are doing in their own respective fields will eventually change our world. Not only did it blow my mind, it renewed my faith and provided more hope for the future of humanity.
Being from a small town, in a mainly agricultural area, I never got to meet such people, until I moved away, years ago. I quickly learned that I love and adore passionate people and I realized that these people are the ones who really change our world. Such people are dedicating their lives to a purpose that serves more than themselves. The unselfishness of their life’s work and passion for knowledge is ultimately what I admire.
Super heroes. There is a thought…. Generally, a super hero is a mere product of some imaginative person’s mind, in another word, fiction… They go around wearing some kind of spandexy uniform, usually outfitted with capes and masks… As a writer, I know first-hand, that any, and all (!!!), stories have real roots in our world. Something the writer observes inspires them to “paint a picture” using the experience, and the finished product turns into something with a life of its own. The writer breathes life into these stories, the more imaginative the writer, the more complex the story. We get to admire the finished product. It brings to mind the monologue in the movie “Kill Bill”, where David Carradine talks about super heroes:
“As you know, l’m quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book, not particularly well-drawn, but the mythology. The mythology is not only great, it’s unique…Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak, he’s unsure of himself, he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race…”
This brings me to my epiphany, super heroes walk amongst us, reading that article in Forbes cemented that thought.
Roughly six years ago I became a patient at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Before then, I had heard of the place, but I didn’t understand that it is a place where super heroes earn paycheques. Even super heroes have to eat… I see now that I am truly one of the lucky ones, through these years I have witnessed others’ health journeys, within the walls of Sunnybrook and other places. I have accompanied others to appointments at other hospitals, and it made me see how blessed I really am to have “my” superheroes.
I love to picture myself in others’ shoes and imagine their life. I do it often, and always have. The past 6 years have proven that routine scary and interesting. It was scary at first, to imagine the daily lives of the amazing people who consider me a patient. Go onto “Wikipedia”, search “Sunnybrook Research Institute” and prepare to have your mind blown. This is where I have spent a lot of my time these past years, and every visit opens my eyes to something I had never noticed or had never thought about before…
When I think of super heroes, the medical team that is overlooking my care comes to the forefront. I often imagine what it would be like to be a member of staff at one of the world’s highest regarded hospitals. I imagine what a normal days’ work would involve… Day in, day out, the patients, the tests, the test results, the good news, the bad news, the news right now, and the possible future picture that that news suggests. Big stuff… For me, when I am presented with something, my immediate process is to evaluate all the variables I can possibly think of, good or bad, and I go about a plan of action. I see that I have that in common with the people who oversee my treatment. When an obstacle presents itself, the doctors and nurses do everything in their power to make the best decision for the patients sake, and luckily, I myself have benefited from this.
I often wish I was as educated as them, to problem-solve next to these brilliant minds and help fight the fight… They seem to have infinite knowledge through education and experience. I won’t lie, I am very often intimidated while I am there, rendering my brain mush. Not in a bad way, but intimidated because I can’t seem to wrap my simple mind around the many complexities that make up everyday life of an oncology professional. It takes a very special soul to obligate their life to the battle of cancer. I see them as the front line in this huge, world-wide battle, and people like me, the beneficiaries. They go to “war” every day like a super hero and go home every night as a normal person. I imagine what a good day and a bad day could possibly be like, and either way it often makes me teary eyed with sadness and joy. I imagine it’s like being on a ship, and it is sinking, and here are these super heroes bailing the water out, bucket by tiresome bucket. There is no guarantee of a happy ending for everyone, yet they continue to bail the water out anyway. That is pure courage, if you ask me.
Indeed, I believe that super heroes walk among us. They are extraordinary people, without whom, the world would be a hopeless place. We are truly blessed.