Thursday, January 22, 2015

Post 60: The Amazing Grace of OK

I don't usually remember dates, but I remember this one: On Dec. 23, 2014, I got the flu. We're talking nasty bug. I don't know what my temperature was -- I'm guessing 102 or 103. We didn't have a working thermometer in the house. (Yes. You're right. One more reason I won't be named Mom of the Year.)

I crawled into bed wearing long underwear, a sweatshirt, flannel pants, and wool socks and buried myself under three blankets and a comforter. I was still cold. It wasn't good. The next day was worse. It wasn't a stomach flu. I coughed. I ached. I froze. There were many days during the next few weeks where showering was an accomplishment. First of all, I had to get out of bed or off the couch. I had to take off five layers of clothes. And then I had to stand in the shower, and standing for more than a minute really took a lot of energy.

I'm not making this up. Ask my family.

After a week, I was having serious trouble breathing, so I finally went to the doctor. The flu had morphed into bronchitis; she prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler. Not long after that, I started feeling human.

Then, one wonderful day, I woke up with enough energy to be me again. The living dead had rejoined the living. I was grateful for everything. The ease of climbing the stairs. My appetite. A good deep breath. If you've never had asthma, let me assure you: There is nothing better than breathing.

A funny thing happened a few days later, though. I wasn't consumed with gratitude for the amazing grace of simply feeling OK. Apparently it's pretty easy to take breathing for granted when you're fully oxygenated.

We are people of short memories. Most of us have faced illnesses or accidents that limit our day-to-day activities. We fall, we break, we need help to take a shower or make lunch or pull up our pants. Then, if we're lucky, we heal.

And two seconds later, we forget. We forget how awful it was to be ill or broken. We forget how it felt to be needy.

We forget how fabulous it is to be whole.

The flu has flown, thank G-d. Or chicken soup. Or amoxicillin. I'm trying to keep the feeling of gratitude with me, just a bit longer. To relish hopping out of bed feeling happy and strong, eager to drink my morning coffee and tackle the day ahead.

Fortunately, no one else in the family caught my flu. On the other hand, I hope the appreciation of feeling OK is contagious. Consider yourself kissed. Now, pass it on.

Sidenote for those of you just joining the fun: Post 60 is a digression on the Creative Instigation blog, part of my 60th year celebration. This is Post 3 of the 60. Party on!


CJ Kennedy said...

Happy dancing that you are feeling OK and no one in your family caught the flu

Jan said...

Thank you, CJ! And thanks so much for sticking with the blog, despite my erratic posting.

Roy said...

Good point. I aqree it would be a shame not to stop and be aware on those days when nothing hurts. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying your blog. I'd like to read all 60--keep going!

Jan said...

Thank you, Roy! I'm working on the next post now, and I appreciate the encouragement! :-)