Today I feel grateful for breath. Don't ever smoke, people. If you could see my grandfather, you'd never smoke. He quit smoking well over 20 years ago, though the effects didn't catch up with him until years later. Each breath a struggle. I remember him crying only once before, when my other grandmother was on life support and near death, too young. I never heard him utter a curse word before last night. Medicine and oxygen not enough.
And each time I visit one of my friends I am grateful that I can dress myself, brush my own teeth, leave my home, breathe on my own. And for the technologies and people who help her. Not being able to walk as far as I like or as much as I like, that I can live with. Both health care providers and friends have been surprised by how much I take things in stride, but in so many ways I am lucky. I really am. I can give up walking, or some of it, for Lent, but maybe someday the health problems will get better or new treatments will help. I am grateful that I can breathe.
I am grateful that my grandparents feel they can ask me to be the backup caregiver for my uncle, who has lived with my grandparents his entire life, after their death, that they have that assurance in me, so that they have one less worry for him. My aunt will be the initial primary caregiver, but since she is close in age to her sibling, she will definitely need help as she gets older. My parents have bad health themselves and can't take on this responsibility.
I am grateful for my doctors and other health care providers, who show a lot of patience toward complex problems that have no easy solutions but only tradeoffs, and for their empathy for me. This is more than a lot of people get from their doctors. We've had way too much together time lately, much as I like them, but I am glad that they are good at what they do and good people. And glad for insurance that allows me to get medical treatment and the expensive tests that lead to more accurate diagnosis.
I am also grateful I don't have my son's stomach bug and hope that I won't get it. I am grateful that my children really have excellent health (this bug is an exception), and my husband does as well.
Clarification: I am not being Pollyanna-ish, but it's too easy to focus on my worries. More like Julie Andrews singing about her favorite things, I am shoring up against storm and ruins, to mix references in an illogical way. There is a balance, and I don't want to ignore the good. In fact, I want, for now, to focus on it.