The things we take for granted
Today’s post is just a musing I’ve had dancing around in my head recently.
I’ve been completely caught off guard and slammed with the flu this last week. Not unlike probably every other person who has come down with the flu, for the first few days, I was convinced that I was likely dying. Between the extreme fevers, bone-shaking chills, sweats, delirium, fitful sleep, headaches, sharp and dull pain stretched across fever burned skin, muscle, and bones, and the other horrible bodily unmentionables – I was definitely on my death bed.
I loved you world, Sayonara.
Fourth day. I woke up. Miracle of miracles, I was still alive. Barely, but barely is still better than not. Medically speaking, I now know the fourth day is special because it’s when the body finally starts making the antibodies to recognize the flu virus for the immune system to start fighting back and killing off. Go team! And since that fourth day, my body has been inching ever-so-slowly towards recovery – one antibody and one virus at a time.
What has come out of this recent bout of flu is how strongly I take many things in my life for granted that some people do not have the luxury of. In actuality, these things offer my life so much richness when my body is functioning properly, but at the time, I don’t fully realize it. I wanted to capture them here in my blog as a documented reminder for myself. Sometimes, we don’t need to change anything in our lives to find joy, merely looking at and appreciating what we have is enough. Things like:
#1 – Mobility. There were moments when crossing the kitchen to find that headache medication was like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. An impossible feat in my sick state (and my cozy flat is not very large).
#2 – Basal body temperature moderation. Between the fires of the fever and sweats and shakiness of the chills, I ended up with seven layers of blankets wrapped about me all week – ready to be peeled off or piled on at any given moment. I’m looking forward to a normal body temperature again. I’ve got a few more years before menopause… hopefully.
#3 – The ability to digest and process food. The flu robs anyone of the ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients, and so all that’s left with any attempt to eat or drink are immediate painful consequences – usually involving frequent trips to the washroom. Horrible.
#4 – Food! Oh beautiful food – to eat you again. I think there is little I adore more in this world than great food – and to be deprived of that enjoyment has been the worst kind of depravity. I’m eating a mountain of lasagna with extra cheese the moment I get the chance.
#5 – Mental acuity. This week’s been marked with delirium and in better times, foggy thoughts and blurred memories. It’s such a frustrating feeling to know a thought you need to access is there just out of your grasp.
#6 – People. I love and appreciate both the focused attention on the people in my life, as well as the ambient energy of being in the same room as great people. The quarantine of an illness that robbed me of both, also robbed me of the energy and inspiration that comes from being with other people.
#7 – The outdoors. Fresh air. Blades of grass. Pebbles on the sidewalk. A fragrant spring flower in bloom. In a very short time, I already miss these things.
#8 – Spontaneity. Getting up to do something “just because” is the stuff life is made of. Illness is a spontaneity killer.
There are others… but these are the top ones. It makes me consider the countless people who suffer with chronic illness all the time, and how challenging that must be to the person not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I am in awe of these people, and feel humble that all I had was a terribly common flu.