Wednesday, April 13, 2011
So, I try to keep things fairly light and interesting around these parts, but sometimes that's not always possible. Take, for example, my recent medical situation.
I'm a relatively young guy, just barely 35, and although I don't hit the gym like I should, I’d say I'm in pretty good health. No major medical issues, no chronic conditions, my blood pressure is always good, and so on. Then something like pneumonia happens -- randomly -- and your whole world is turned upside down.
Although I haven't lived through a war or been a refugee from anywhere, I’ve probably been more places and seen more things than the average person has. Because of these experiences, I'd say that I have a pretty good grasp on the priorities in life -- what's truly important and what's not. I didn't really think I needed a reminder, but life decided to send one my way regardless.
The pneumonia I caught didn't start out too bad and I ended up getting some meds sooner rather than later, but for some reason, things stubbornly decided to get worse. I went back to the doctor for a checkup and I've got to say it's pretty sobering when a doc takes a look at you and says that you need to get to a hospital NOW.
As I was lying on a stretcher in the hospital, I was starting to worry if this was going to be more serious than taking a few pills and taking a few days off of work. I tried not to dwell on it much, but it was impossible not to wonder if this might be IT. What if I needed some kind of procedure I couldn't afford? What if I needed some kind of emergency life-or-death surgery?
More than that, though, what I really thought about was my wife and kids. Who would take care of them? Who would provide for them? My wife is my best friend, but would she do if I wasn't around? What kind of life would my boys have if they could barely remember their father?
It's pretty grim stuff.
After a battery of tests, a cocktail of drugs and too much time spent doing nothing but lying around and waiting, it turned out that the complication was a minor one that was mostly rectified with one more injection of a particular kind. Just one correct dose of Chemical X and I was back on my feet, more or less.
I'm extremely thankful that it wasn't more serious, and I’m extremely thankful for the many miracles of modern science. More than anything, I'm thankful that (unlike so many others) I was able to rejoin my normal life. I think a lot of us go through our daily status quo occupied with so many different things, but we don't realize how little it takes to strip all that away. One stray cluster of airborne germs; one inattentive driver speeding through an intersection -- I don't think we realize how fragile we are, and how tender life is.
I'm not trying to preach here, but maybe just take a few minutes and think about what a tenuous grip we have on what we like to think of as our normal lives. Maybe take just one minute more and be grateful for what you’ve got, even if it’s not much.
Me? I may not be rich or have everything I’ve ever dreamed of, but I know how good I’ve got it, and I’m damned glad to have it.
Normal blogging will resume next post.