I think therefore I am? – On Adaptation

Photo by Yuriy Chemerys on Unsplash

Humans can adapt to many different situations. It may take a few days to acclimate to the weather at your trip’s destination, but you get used to the new situation. Physiological adaptation occurs with the senses. If you hear a repeated sound your brain will adapt to it and will start to filter it out. You will start to notice it less and that allows you to notice other sounds. The same occurs when you encounter pungent aromas, after a short period of time the smell will be less noticeable. Something similar occurs when you expose yourself to differences in temperature, e.g. sauna or ice bath.

This adaptation process will work to a certain extent and depends on your body’s coping ability. If your body is compromised in any way then your ability to adapt will be affected. Serious illnesses can lead to an inability to handle these situations. There is a limit to what you can cope with. This might be changed with training. Repeated exposure to the stimulus will lead to changes in the body and mind.

Adaptation and coping are not purely physical and the mind has a big part to play. I have looked after many people who have survived for much longer than I thought would be possible. I have often remarked that they are kept alive by sheer force of willpower. A strong mind will sustain a physical body much longer than expected. People with strong beliefs or reasons to stay alive may also outlive their prognoses.

This inner strength lies somewhere deep inside the individual and their determination may have resulted in many successes in the past. These people might be described as stubborn, and like most personality traits people will stay true to themselves right until the end. Sometimes people have to actively let go before they can finish their current life. One person said, “There’s too much love around me, I can’t leave when there is so much love.” That’s why some people will wait until there is no one around before they can die. They didn’t want anyone to witness their very end.

We all make choices. Survival is not mandatory. It is an active choice that many of us make. Adapt or die. It’s not that simple. Even coping with a change in time zone can be a challenge as I am finding out today. Yawn.

Palace of Care – There’s no place like home

Photo by Andrew Umansky on Unsplash

It had taken some convincing for her to be admitted into the hospice inpatient unit, after two rough weeks in hospital. COVID lockdown restrictions had meant that she had not been allowed visitors for most of the time. She hadn’t been locked up but she had felt like a prisoner in her hospital room. For safety reasons not windows could be opened. Things kept changing, and the doctor with the sad face kept on bringing bad news. It seemed like nothing ever went right. The treatments were not working. Her calcium had risen to dangerous levels which required repeated treatments.

When she arrived at hospice her COVID swab result had not come back yet, so for the first day she still had to be under restrictions. She had a room to herself, and she could open the window and door to the balcony. The fresh air was a nice change after being cooped up inside the hospital. The food was delivered in takeaway containers and they only provided plastic cutlery. A small thing but just something else to add to the list. The people were all nice and really tried to make her feel at ease, but deep inside she felt uneasy.

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