Sunday, November 4, 2007

The miseries of being sick

I was sitting in a training class recently when a strange sensation overwhelmed me.

I was reviewing some notes when a chill went up and down my spine. I had goose bumps, and despite the fact that it must have been 80 degrees in the room, I put on my sweater.

I didn't think much about it until I went out to my car at lunch. By the time I made that short walk, I was shivering in a way one would if they got caught outside on a cold and windy January night.

Then, in the remaining hours of the day, I developed enough sinus pressure to last me a year.

At this point, I realized that I was getting sick for the first time this season.

I am not a very easy person to deal with when I am sick. I don't say this with any amount of pride, but we all have personal shortcomings. And I realize this is a big shortcoming of mine.

I say this because we all know people who suffer with all sorts of serious physical problems. Not some temporary ailment that leaves in a few days, but debilitating illnesses that are a constant part of every day they live.

I know several such people, and I am constantly amazed at how they endure their situation. In every case, these folks deal with their problems with patience and grace, and they are truly an inspiration to me.

I'm sure they have their private moments where their challenges appear too much to bear. However, when I am around them, they often carry themselves with a dignity that is awe inspiring.

Which brings me back to my little sickness.

When I am sick, 'dignity' and 'grace' are not the words that immediately spring to mind.

Within the context of all the suffering in the world, it is really quite pathetic.

I whine. I complain. I whimper softly on the couch. I whimper softly in my bed.

I renew my relationship with my old friend 'self-pity' as I stare out my bedroom window watching everybody enjoying their daily life. I tell myself my sickness is causing me to completely waste the day.

Of course, what I am momentarily forgetting is that I am a homebody by nature so even if I wasn't sick, I would probably still be hanging around the house, working on one project or another.

We rarely make the most of our time. It is only when we lose the ability to live our lives as we please that we believe we are wasting our time.

When our lives are interrupted by things like an illness, we pledge to ourselves that when everything gets back to normal that we will live life like we never have before.

As we all know, that rarely happens.

On an episode of the television show 'The Simpsons,' Homer suffered a serious health scare and pledged to get the most out of life. In the next scene, he is shown sitting on the couch, eating pork rinds, and watching bowling on television.

I guess the main point of all this is that good health is something that we all take for granted. We don't appreciate it until we lose it.

I think this is the case with most aspects of life that are truly important. The routine of every day life can lull us into a sense of false security that we will always have these things.

However, as we get older and our health declines, we really appreciate how good we once had it.

This knowledge should make us stop now and assess our lives and what we want to achieve. But our human nature just doesn't allow us to do that.

We all know that we will die some day, but we tend to look at that as a far-off and remote possibility. But we could go tomorrow.

We all need more urgency in our lives.

But most of us are too busy to be urgent.


jones said...

All too true. I must admit that I am much the same way. Glad you are feeling better.

Joltin' Django said...

"I had goose bumps, and despite the fact that it must have been 80 degrees in the room, I put on my sweater."

Sick or not, I'm wiping my brow when it's 80 degrees in any room in which I find myself.

At 81 degrees, I'm removing my pants and using 'em to fan myself; and anyone who tries to stop me should know that his/her well-being is in GREAT jeopardy when he/she does so!!!