A couple of friends' trials and tribulations with health and well-being have gotten me thinking. I know, dangerous stuff, that thinking. I'm thinking I'm very blessed.
Blessed to be Ignorant: You know how WebMD can be for some people? They look up every relatively mild symptom, find it under a deadly condition and freak out? And then they post to social media and get attention from their friends and family in the form of worried prayers that the 'afflicted' person is not, in fact, dying? Now imagine a person with those hypochondriac-needs-attention tendencies, but who's had extensive medical training. He doesn't NEED WebMD to come up with terrible conditions or mysterious symptoms. He can self-diagnose independent of the Internet, and does so with gusto. Symptoms and tests and procedures galore, all posted in social media for friends and family to latch onto and offer 'support.'
Blessed to have a high pain tolerance: How about the person who can't do anything because his knees hurt? So he sits at home and complains via social media that he wishes he could do this or that, but can't.
Blessed to be ornery: The person who had her knee replaced but was afraid of the pain of rehab. So she scooted around in a wheelchair, popped too many anti-anxiety meds, refused to do the prescribed rehab exercises, and now can barely walk.
Orneriness is a toughie: A friend of a friend in England sank into utter despair when her eyesight failed. She just shut down and waited to die. And then died. I never met her personally, but it still broke my heart that she wasn't strong enough to move beyond the use of her eyes. Granted, I still have good eyesight so I can't truly relate, but I have had friends over the years who were mostly or completely blind, a recent condition for some of them, lifelong for others. They live full, almost normal lives. But now I have another friend struggling with her failing eyesight, and it's heartbreaking again to see her giving up. I do know her personally, and I know she's strong and feisty, but she's having a hard time moving beyond the use of her eyes.
Y'all, this is my personal vow. The only way my body is ever going to keep me from living my life and doing the things I want to do is if it's dead. And even dead there are things I'd like to do. My knees may fail; I'll replace 'em. My elbow might tear; I'll be a lefty again for a while. I might lose my hearing; I'll brush up on my sign language. I might lose my sight; I'll fumble around and ask for help. That painful clicking in my shoulder might be something bad, but I've not yet let it interfere with my life. Parts are bound to fail, but I'll get over it and move on. That's a promise to ME.
We are NOT guaranteed healthy bodies. What we choose to do with our imperfect, failing bodies is ultimately more a matter of attitude than actual health. Which means we can CHOOSE to live a fulfilling, mostly complaint-free life, even in an imperfect, malady-afflicted body.
For some refreshing contrast:
Angelica's leg was shattered in a car accident three years ago. She lives with a great deal of pain and chases around a 3-1/2-year-old, but she lives her life without excuses!
Ben had a softball-size tumor removed from his brain. He posted before and after brain scans, and said his incision was tender. Didn't complain about the awful headaches he'd had leading up to the diagnosis, didn't complain about recovering from brain surgery. Lives every day to its fullest.
My very own mom had knee-replacement surgery in July. She has a good balance of pain tolerance and orneriness, and powered through rehab, gritted her teeth through range of motion exercises, and two months later is almost completely back to normal. Better normal, since her knee works!
Added 10/2: The director of PlazaCo's Annie, Taffy Geisel, has muscular dystrophy. She's an actor, director, playwright, and no-excuses kind of lady. Loves her work and doesn't let physical limitations slow her down.
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