I remember the last time I was sick.
I realized it when I was on an elliptical. I had been trying to exercise every day, increasing my time on the elliptical to the max of an hour nonstop. The elliptical was placed in a room with a large TV since only my grandparents used the room to watch TV, and my sister and I and our friends would sometimes use the TV and computers there to play games or watch movies. In other terms, it was a room barely used, and since the elliptical was also barely used, it seemed fitting to put it there – out of sight, out of mind.
It was hot in the room. Or, it felt hot for a while. Especially with the windows. Especially since my grandparents felt cold all the time and turned the fan off, except when they saw that I was exercising. At times like those, they put on a jacket or two.
I was walking. Calmly. Watching random YouTube videos on my phone or looking up to see what my grandparents were watching.
And then I was dizzy.
And then it was hot.
And then the water I had did no good to appease me.
And then my legs felt heavy, and I knew my breathing would be unable to keep up with me.
After fifteen minutes, I stopped. Fifteen laborious minutes in which my body felt like it moved for hours. I walked out of the room, leaving my water there, with only a few sips taken.
“I think you’re sick,” my mom said after I told her how odd it felt to be tired in just fifteen minutes, when just the day before, I had completed an hour.
I bit my lip.
Sick? I can’t get sick, I thought.
I was always that way when I get sick. Probably because I almost never get sick.
I like to brag about my health, and in times I do get sick, I don’t like taking medication, declaring loudly and proudly that my body will take care of everything for me. I fight against sickness and illness by ignoring it. By going through life without recognizing it. I never give it the power to throw me off my normal routine. Even on days with high fevers, I remember going to school and going to the coldest places so that when the nurse called me to her office to check up on me, like my parents would tell the school nurse to do, I would have no fever or have a fever too low for me to get out of school.
In a way, I guess you could say countries are like that too.
Especially “superpower” countries.
When they get “sick”, when they have a little hiccup or a little mistake, they might not recognize it. They might completely ignore the mistake or problem that people complain about. The country might think they can just get on life just fine because it’s a problem that can resolve itself over time.
Instead, a “sick” country might as well be redirecting its attention elsewhere, away from itself. It might consider other countries’ problems and try to help. It might interfere with other countries. It might start problems with other countries.
As long as it could refocus attention elsewhere – away from the “sickness” of a failing infrastructure, a demoralized population, a collapsing economy, etc.
Just like me, a “sick” country can have high pride in itself, declaring itself as the number one country in the world. That country can gladly denounce other countries because of the pride it has, all the while refusing to recognize its own problems.
And just like me, a “sick” country could refuse help. Refuse the “medicine” that others try to offer it, not that medicine is offered all the time. But help from anyone could be refused because of that it-will-resolve-itself-over-time mentality. Ways to help, offered by people of that country, could get declined because refusal of help means power, because if a country gets better without help, then obviously help was not needed – at least that’s what the superpowers think.
But unlike me, a “sick” country doesn’t have someone to help them get back on its feet. My parents, sister, and even grandmother offer advice and medicine to me and sometimes even forcibly give me help if I don’t accept it because they want to protect me. I have parents who care about my health. A younger sister who just wants the best for her older sister. And a grandmother who wants her granddaughter healthy.
But do countries have that?
Or is the whole world sick?