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23 things I learned, experienced and realized while I was sick in a “foreign country”!

By Heba Al Nasser


1. I don’t know how to take care of myself, I thought I have learned so many skills that will better my life, but I failed to learn this most important skill for surviving and it’s a failure, I confess!

2. People assume you know how to take care of yourself, they will suggest things like

Go to the GP – I can’t walk let alone I am too scared to go.

Eat well – assuming I can eat, assuming I have food, assuming I can cook or prepare food.

3. Sometimes, being yelled at is good. My landlady blunt way of saying “I’m not your nurse, you should go to a doctor” made me really go to the doctor who upon seeing me directly admitted me to the hospital. Otherwise I would have stayed sick at home for God knows how long. Very Arab way of doing it.

Then when things get serious and you get admitted to the hospital:

4. Never whine about the money you pay for your medical insurance, first you do not want to get the money back through getting sick, second, if you don’t get sick, the money will be used to pay for another patient bills, so you are doing good without noticing it.

5. It’s very interesting to get sick and receive medical information in a second language – English in my case; it is actually confusing and funny at the same time.

6. Worst thing to do (for your own sake and for your doctor’s sake) is to Google your symptoms. Though I learned so much about my case through Google, but it scared me a lot and it made my doctors go crazy as I kept questioning if what I read was true.

7. I never believed in the “nurses are angels on earth” story when I was in Jordan, now I completely agree with it.

8. Doctors are also angels on earth, you literally trust them with your life and I believe they take your trust seriously.

9. The saying “the greatest wealth is health” is so true. You don’t know what the blessings of being healthy are until you get sick.

10. Don’t take your health for granted, we grow older not younger, follow a healthy lifestyle, serious note to self!

11. It is very harsh to get sick alone, by alone I say without your family around you. It’s actually a heartache but…

12. Your friends and colleagues will never let you down.

13. Your relationship with your friends develops to another level, after seeing how concerned they get about you and how they do the impossible to take care of you.

14. No matter which culture we come from, everyone offers his/her love in a heart melting way.

15. And everyone starts suggesting home remedies for you, honey always wins.

16. In Jordan, you don’t visit a patient with books and magazines to entertain him/her, in London I did and they were very handy to break the boredom and the pain.

17. Friends who are abroad started suggesting TV shows and documentaries. I was too tired to watch any but now I have a list of documentaries to watch when I get healthy again.

18. The messages and support you receive from your friends and family online are very encouraging and make you feel very loved, but seriously, I wished to see everyone face to face to interact with them through real life settings not only through messages that were hard for me to type.

19. We need to live in a world where anyone is free to move wherever without going through the hassle of the visa applications, this is what stopped my family from accompanying me while in hospital.

20. You grow more compassionate when you hear that someone is/has been sick.

21. You do not know how strong you are unless you pass through such hectic situation.

22. Dream and live the dream, when you feel you will die, you will feel satisfied.

23. And last: Don’t fly Royal Jordanian ever, ever, ever! They will put you through hell, no kidding!

On another note, I am recovering now with family in Jordan and I feel better. I wholeheartedly thank everyone who dropped a visit, texted, sent flowers, food and books my way. You all made a difference and I love you all!

Photo credit: TheGiantVermin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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