Every six weeks I attend a clinic and receive an infusion of a drug called Remicade. Remicade is from the family of drugs known as Biologics, and I, like many others, have received enormous benefits from having these drugs made available to me.
Remicade is an expensive drug. The cost per vial is approximately $1,000 and the dosage is determined by the patient’s size. Each time I visit the clinic I take with me four vials and I am not a particularly large person.
Fortunately I, like every other patient visiting these many clinics around the country each day, have insurance that bring these drugs within an affordable range and every time I receive an infusion I bask in gratitude at my good fortune in living in the best country on the planet.
So I felt a slight twinge of disappointment as I was sitting comfortably in the recliner watching a video on my laptop when a patient I had seen at the clinic once before walked into the room.
My memory of our previous time together was not particularly pleasant. This man had arrived some thirty minutes before I was finished and I distinctly recall listening to him complain about everything, anything and all in between.
As he sat down I turned the volume up on my laptop and went back to the video.
Unfortunately the man sitting across from him had not met him before and made the unfortunate mistake of greeting him and asking him how he was doing.
That question, as I had feared, immediately opened the floodgates for an ongoing tirade of negativity.
It was wrong that he had to spend four hours of his valuable time in this clinic. He’s a busy man and doesn’t have to waste and they should be dispatching a nurse to his home to administer the drug.
Paying for parking at the clinic is an absolute outrage – it should be free.
The nurses at the clinic are useless and incompetent. His appointment was for 11 AM and he had to wait 20 minutes before they were ready to administer his IV.
Our entire medical system is a joke. It’s pathetic, run by idiots who don’t know what they are doing.
And “don’t get me started on the weather.”
And his victim statements went on and on and on.
Blissfully, by maxing out on the volume controls my laptop, I was able to avoid most of his tirade and so was somewhat startled when, after about eight or nine minutes of his, I heard a thick Scottish brogue interrupt his mindless ranting. The accent belonged to the person who had innocently greeted this man.
In a clear, “Don’t mess with me” tone I heard, “Shut up – just shut up. I have been sitting here and listening to you complaining about everything under the sun for the last ten minutes and I have had enough.
“You have no idea how lucky you are to live in this country.
“Everyone in this country has access to the finest medical care available anywhere in the world, regardless of how rich or poor they are.
“We are given endless opportunities to build any kind of lives for ourselves that we want and all you’ve done from the moment you set down was complain.
“If you don’t want to pay for parking when you come here and then ride your bike or walk but shut up about it.
“If you think your time is too valuable to waste being here for a few hours then don’t come. That is your choice and if you would rather not enjoy the benefits of this drug, then stay home, but don’t come here and whine.
“Oh, and one more thing, if you don’t like the weather, feel free to move. That too is your choice.
“Now, if you don’t shut up I’m going to come right across the room and shut you up. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”
My whiny friend turned ghostly white. It was as if his brain had turned to mush; he could not respond.
A minute or so passed and he looked like he was going to offer some statement in his own defense when the Scottish gentleman sternly pointed a finger him and said “Not one word out of you, not one. Unless you are going to say something uplifting and positive about how blessed you are and how lucky we all are I don’t want to hear a squeak out if you.
“One more thing. Change your attitude right now about how you talk to the nurses. Start saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and be respectful.”
And for the rest of the morning we all enjoyed blissful silence.
Sometime later our chronic complainer slunk away no doubt still unaware that he, and he alone is the sole architect of his own misery.
They say that shown a glass with water filled to the center point, the optimist will see it as being half full and the pessimist as being half empty. My guess is this guy would see an empty glass as being void of opportunity and a full glass as being limiting.
In many ways it was sad to see this person continuously fill his own life with negativity.
It is my strong belief that each of us has the power to choose optimism over pessimism, self-assurance over self-pity, appreciation over criticism and joy over sorrow.
Remicade is prescribed for treatment of certain chronic illnesses. I think we should establish infusion clinics for chronic whiners.
Perhaps the real sadness in this story may lie in the possibility that this man, and potentially millions more, may truly not know that these choices exist.
Which means that those of us who do know, have the enviable task of spreading the word that our happiness requires nothing more than choosing to be happy.
So this let’s make it our mission to get this done.
Till we read again.
P.S. My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
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