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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Day 12: Being Ill and Getting Better

This should not have been a year in which we take our good health for granted, but that is the definition of human nature; eternally optimistic and very forgetful of unpleasantness. There I was, caring for my kiddo who had managed to get what the doctor labeled a "summer flu". What the heck?! Is that even a real thing? He was down for the count; fever, sore throat, aching all over, clogged nose and cough and I was concerned. I did the usual; encouraged fluids, rest, made soup and tea, and he recovered little by little, with no major concerns. This was not, after all, COVID, nor strep or any sort of infection. Just a little virus (ahem).

And then it was me. I got up on Monday morning, not as easily as normal (I am a morning person, so by 10 pm, you can find me in a sleepy heap somewhere, but 5 am is perfectly glorious on most days.) I decided the bathtub looked like a really good place to crash, filled it with warm water and did not get back out. Well, I eventually got back out, shivering and aching and wondering how in the world I was going to do my job today, an hour and a half drive from home. I was not. That has only ever happened once before. I found a sub and went back to bed until noon, or five or six, I do not recall. 

You honestly believe for a day or two that you will never function again the way you did, say, yesterday, for example. But when you are very fortunate and it was simply a bad bug; strength, health and a will to move return, like a miraculous cure from beyond (that's what one child used to call the other world only she could see, where, according to her 2-year-old self, she lived before, when she was a big brother). Yes, just as odd, the return of good health when you felt like the end of the world was very near. I am humbled again and grateful, and I will not take good health and the strength to get up and do what I want to get done today for granted again...or at least not in the very near future. 

If you are suffering, from illness or pain or a condition that leaves you not up to your optimal self, I am sorry to hear it. I know that this is the daily reality for many people, and your fortitude in the face of these obstacles is an inspiration to the rest of the world. This is not to romanticize your stark reality in any way, just to say, I see you, I see you. I see that like the rest of us, you are living the life you have before you today to the fullest, in spite of so much more standing in your way. Those few days of feeling truly atrocious do not mean I completely understand or can even imagine what it is like to live with an illness you have been told is terminal, a chronic condition or the uncertainty of whether or not tomorrow you will be functional, but it does build some empathy...and admiration for the courage you exemplify.

Lift a glass/mug with me and remember to celebrate how you feel today, bad, great or in between. Each day, it is our attitude that can be changed, even if our bodies are not cooperating. May today include optimism, some joie de vivre and a smile for something, someone, some reason, small or grandiose.

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