Very interesting post, candidaincontext.
Of course, I could not agree more about eliminating as much stress as possible from your life, and even negative unhealthy people, but this last clause raises a big moral issue.
Should you eliminate everybody who is sick from your life? That seems pretty callous to me, and if I did that, I couldn't live with myself, could not look at me in the mirror again. And I would be so disgusted with myself for betraying dear friends and family in time of need, that it would eat me inside, and make me more sicK.
But on the other hand, when you are sick, some days, there is only so much you can bear.
I have a friend--my very best friend in the US--who has been diagnosed with cancer of the rectum and the colon, phase IV--that's pretty advanced, and I don't know if she is going to make it. I could NEVER abandon her now, that would be a terrible thing to do to her, it would break her heart, but somedays, I am just not up to it.
So, I found the following solution: I keep in touch with her by email and phone, and we have ordinary conversations--she is not depressed, because she is a very spiritual person and believes in survival of consciousness--; actually, I found talking wiTH her frequently uplifting; but when I feel I don't have the mental stamina to communicate directly with her, I send her get well cards, good paperbacks that keep her mind busy, spiritual books, juicy historical novels, even flowers, whatever; and I let these little gifts do the talking for me when I have a so so day. They don't have to be expansive, a Hallmark card will do.
On the other hand, I broke up with a semi-friend who has advanced emphysema due to her heavy smoking; not only she caused her own problem--and refuses to admit it--but when she called me, she only poured her health problems on me for hours on end. I just could not take it anymore, and I told her to stop calling. Whereas, when I call my dear friend in the US, we get done talking about our health in five minutes, and after that, we talk about the books we read, politics, relationships, whatever. She does not weigh on me, I don't weigh on her, and I almost always feel better after our conversations. So for me, the criterion for avoidance is not if the person is sick, but if she deals with her sickness by puting the weight on others, drowning in self pity, etc.
Another of my friends visits lonely people on their deathbed in hospitals; she says it's hard but reports she is often elated by talking to these people when they get ready to leave this world.