I have been really sick for about a year. I never expected this, and I certainly never expected it to go on for so long. It’s funny what that does to you. Last year, I struggled with “first world problems.” I was sad when I scuffed my favorite shoe, disappointed because my vacation wasn’t long enough, and looked a lot towards tomorrow, instead of today.
Sound familiar? I think a lot of people live that way in the good U.S.A. There is nothing especially evil in it perhaps, but something becomes alive when you get so very sick. You notice all the good things that you’ve been missing out on. Things like time with family, appreciating family. Loving good friends, and cherishing today.
I know a lot of people have it worse than I do. But when you have something that feels like a constant sinus infection, it’s hard. When you cough all night and get about 3 hours of sleep, it’s hard. When you exercise and have an asthma attack for an hour afterwards, with your throat bubbling and cracking because you have so much mucus, it’s gross and it’s hard. When you feel bad enough to think that you might be nearing the end, and make plans for your business in case YOU go down, it’s hard (although my husband has assured me he doesn’t think that’s really going to happen).
The good results from being sick:
A) I love my family. I appreciate being with them more than I ever have. I don’t know how much time I have left with them. Not because I think I might die (although that’s possible—and we all die). But because we might move if the root cause of this sickness is allergy related. When you realize your entire life might change, you spend a lot less time on facebook and more time with real people.
B) I have redeemed the time. When you try to sleep during the day, because you only had three hours of sleep during the night between coughing, you have to use every bit of time awake to be productive.
C) You appreciate thoughtful people. I can’t tell you how much it means to have a person’s compassion. So many of my clients showed me how much it means to show empathy. It’s not so much what they said, but how they showed it. Many of them knew how to show empathy because they had been thru hard times too. It was the questions asked, the good wishes they bestowed, and the patience they practiced if their photo order ended up a few weeks later than expected. It really meant so much to me, and has forever changed the way I will relate to people in the future.
D) Someday, when I have children, I will actually be grateful for getting up at night when the baby cries. I was always afraid I would resent that aspect of childhood. However, I now think that getting up because your baby needs you, instead of getting up because you’re choking on mucus or coughing…well, that’s actually one of my beautiful thoughts. I think I might be grateful almost every time (I’m a realist—so I’m not going to say EVERY time).
E) I have learned to appreciate my husband in a deeper way. We have both agreed that this has been one of the most difficult times in our 7 years of knowing each other. There have been times when he’s cried with me, held my hand and prayed when I felt I couldn’t, and got out of bed to watch movies with me at 3AM because I couldn’t stop coughing. It’s been a beautiful and sacrificial love he has given me, and I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.
F) I might become a marathon runner when this is all over. If I exercise with asthma, and live on half breaths, I think once I’m well I’m going to be the most hard-core beast that a Rachel ever was.
Again, thanks for all your well-wishes and patience. I do appreciate it so very much. I will keep you updated and hopefully the next blog post will be full of cheerful health!