A few months back, we discussed the scenario whereby one had only a day to live. It sounded like a difficult situation to be in. But on second thought, the alternative seems like a scarier proposition.
What if I Live On?
The truth is that it is easier to kick the bucket than to survive. You do not have to deal with anything – your loved ones will have to. All you have to do is either stop existing or to begin your new life in heaven or wherever you believe in. There will be no pain, no worry and definitely no financial issues.
On the other hand, you have a lot to worry about when you survive.
After the euphoria of defeating the illness or traumatic injury, you have to get on with life.
And life will be very much different from the past.
The challenges one faces after a life-threatening event are manifold.
We shall look at them one by one.
After a gruelling battle with the death reaper, the first thing you would feel is the mental drain.
The first few weeks are alright. You receive many congratulatory messages and hi-fives.
What comes after are your own harrowing thoughts.
It refers to the fable of Damocles who sat down on his King’s throne, saw that there was a sword hanging over his head and realised that he can no longer enjoy the banquet when his life is hanging by a thread.
This is exactly what a person faces after a victory over an illness.
The realisation of the fragility of one’s life paralyses some survivors, especially for those cancer patients who have a high possibility of a relapse. With the spectre of cancer looming, they may not be able to muster enough courage to resume their old lives.
The fact that one had survived a near-death encounter creates a feeling of guilt.
“Why me” becomes a prevailing thought. This sense of un-deservedness may overwhelm the surviving party when it was their loved ones who had perished in the same disaster.
One may feel guilty that he or she lives on while others perish or that he or she could have done more to help others to survive. Or one may relive the same horrible events every night. The latter is now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Loss of support
When one battles with either Damocles Syndrome or Survivor’s Guilt, the emotional support from their loved ones is very important. However, this is precisely when the support starts waning. As the survivor’s hair revert back to its original colour or as they gain back the ability to ambulate on their own, their friends and family start to return to their own lives.
After spending so much time, effort and money to help the survivor, the loved ones have to take a break themselves. This is natural but the survivor may feel abandoned. It is not just emotional support only but also with it, the physical and financial assistance too.
Not everyone can be like Dustin Hoffman who defeated cancer and still looked so charmingly healthy.
Some may be permanently handicapped while others suffered temporary disabilities. One may lose a limb in a natural disaster or the sense of sight to a disease but it is not the end of the world yet. Anyone can still be a success in life despite their physical disabilities.
The road to recovery is arduous. A lot of hard work is required to go through rehabilitation and getting used to mobility-assistance devices. This process is not only tiring but also financially-draining. A typical physiotherapy costs more than a hundred and hence, the monetary burden is very real.
One common challenge that survivors face is financial toxicity, a term coined by oncologists. It describes the draining of the patient’s coffers such as out-of-pocket expenses. While it is common amongst cancer patients, it applies to anyone who requires treatment indefinitely.
With such a high upkeep, it is financially taxing on both the survivor and the family. Most patients have spent a huge chunk of their savings on the treatments to save themselves. By this stage, they will be hard pressed to find any spare cash to continue their treatment, especially if they are unable to keep their original job or find a new one.
Often, a renewed lease on life brings a refreshed perspective on life. Someone who has gone through the depths of hell will not take life for granted anymore. He or she appreciates each moment of their lives and treasures it immensely.
They will seize every opportunity to make their wishes come true. Get married to the loved ones, travelling the world or even experiencing bungee-jumping for once are some examples of what survivors choose to do instead of cooping themselves up in the office and climbing the corporate ladder. Life is too short for that!
Insurance makes surviving a little easier.
Having insurance does not help one to survive severe injuries or serious ailments. However, it allows you to make the most of your life post-trauma. Having a lump sum of cash after contracting a critical illness will have to alleviate the financial burden. Disability income insurance will also provide a living salary for you to defray the monthly cost.
Having insurance before you encounter any catastrophe will help you to remain covered after surviving. Pre-existing conditions are frown upon by insurance companies and thus, you will not be able to obtain coverage if you live on. However, you can still retain your existing policies and not pay for its premium if you have purchased waiver of premium riders.
We are not saying that having insurance ensures that your life will be a breeze after a traumatic event.
No, it takes more than just money. You need a strong mental resolve and a bunch of loving family and friends to make it.
But if you live on, insurance is something you wish that you have gotten beforehand.
Don’t live in regret.
Stay covered, stay safe and stay alive!
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