I’m sitting in a hospital room watching my husband get worked up for surgery.
It’s super minor; we’ll be home for lunch.
As he talks to nurse after nurse and answers questions for a good hour or more (I can knock hospital beurocratic procedure, I did my time in them ;)) I realize just how ridiculously healthy he is. The man hasn’t had an IV since that one time in childhood. He answered (and answered honestly) “no” to every possible system that could have even the slightest problem. He has asthma listed as an existing diagnosis, but it’s only problematic when he runs in the cold.
The man is as healthy as a horse. (Why is that a thing? Are horses generally healthier than other animals? It seems to me quite the opposite.)
Still, I think about a time decades down the road (lots of decades, ideally) when we won’t be in our low-30s. When we will really have to take care of one another; when the questions and answers might not be as simple.
I have to say, it makes me smile. Not at the prospect of us aging or having declining health, of course, but at the thought of doing this thing together for the longhaul.
My thoughts shift, then, to my kids. I carried my twins to 36 weeks after 9 weeks of bedrest for pre-term labor. My oldest daughter had several nasty bouts with asthma, but outgrew it by about four years old (except the need for a little albuterol before swim practice). My middle daughter is her mama from an emotional standpoint, but so far has her daddy’s immune system. My baby boy has been worked up for scary things like Cystic Fibrosis and dealt with food allergies and intolerances (mostly gone), growth retardation, and asthma that made his sister’s look like a walk in the park. He spends much of his Winter (and chunks of Spring and Fall) hooked to a nebulizer for 45 minutes at a time, every few hours.
Then there’s yours truly. I struggle with mental health junk, chronic joint problems, asthma, migraines. Whatever. We’ll stop there.
My goodness, are we blessed.
Not in the sense of the word that Christians throw around far too easily without meaning much by it, or as a badge of honor suggesting that we don’t struggle because, “I’m blessed, man.”
Truly, legitimately, wonderfully, undeservedly blessed.
Some of our family is, apparently, equine-like in their health. As for the rest of us, there is absolutely nothing terminal among those problems listed. I don’t, Lord-willing, have to prepare to say goodbye to my children in conversations that measure life in weeks in months. I have a friend who is losing her infant daughter, “soon”. We don’t have to struggle with diagnoses that, while they may not be immediately terminal, will limit the quality of our lives in a drastic way – and likely even shorten it. I have a friend who has to have these kinds of conversations with her school-aged son. Who has to think about the very real possibility of outliving him.
My son, when he isn’t getting breathing treatments (and sometimes while he is) is freaking Buzz Lightyear.
My kids are healthy enough and have complete use of their bodies enough to learn so many new skills I lose track, and try so many new things they can’t choose their favorite.
My friends, most of us – dare I say all of us, in one sense of the word or another – are more fortunate than we tend to remember.
What are you grateful for today?