No, this isn't a Stanford Healthcare promo, it's just a picture of my latest hospital gown. I think it's pretty fancy, what with the embroidery and all. At any rate, it beats the hell out of the paper ones.
That said, critiquing medical fashion is not the topic for today's post. Health is.
There are many things we take for granted in life. One of them is our health. We don't mean to do it, it just happens. Something as simple as breathing usually goes undetected and without comment -- until we can't breathe, that is. It is then and only then that we notice our breath as the absolute necessity it is. Just ask anyone with asthma.
There's another layer as well, and that is underestimating the general sense of just feeling good. Until you've spent days or weeks in bed because of the flu or some other malady, you don't know how good you have it. You don't notice that you feel good, you simply take it for granted when you get up and put your slippers on in the morning.
But these moments shouldn't go unnoticed. For the last two weeks, for example, I have been living with the side effects of a new cancer treatment that has left me nauseous more often than not, and battling a level of fatigue I haven't seen since the good ole' chemo days. Now, instead of noticing that I feel bad, I notice when I feel good. I literally stop, relax into a smile, and acknowledge out loud that "right this moment I feel good."
I relish it. I cherish it. I long for it.
I have come to deeply understand why people become so despondent when living with chronic pain. A dear friend of mine took her own life long ago after suffering with unrelenting, untreatable back pain for years. I get it. It breaks you down small bits at a time, just like water over stone etches a path if left to run the same course unimpeded day after day.
So I am reminded once again never to take feeling good for granted, and so I share this reminder with you. Rejoice in it. Celebrate it. Love it and honor it, because without it life just isn't the same.
Go ahead -- take a deep breath, then pause to appreciate that your body's amazingly simple yet complicated ability to do just that is a gift, not a given.