Monday, October 6, 2014

If You Don't Have Your Health, Then What

We've all heard it said, if you don't have your health you don't have anything. Of course, those of us who don't have our health know better. See, I have a wonderful husband, a loving family, an amazing fur baby who adores me, a comfortable home, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, a computer and internet connection, indoor plumbing, a washer/dryer...the list goes on and on. I am very blessed, despite my health problems.

Life goes on even when you feel terrible and can barely move. I think it's just hard for healthy people to conceive of what it must be like to live with a chronic condition that interferes with daily life. I remember reading about a study a number of years ago that showed most people thought they wouldn't want live if they were paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. BUT, people who were paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair were still living lives of purpose and fulfillment.

Being confronted with a challenge of this size each and every day shapes you in a way that you can't anticipate. It's ugly and it's hard but that doesn't actually devalue life. I may not be able to contribute to our family finances but I can prepare healthy, tasty meals and I can do laundry and clean. I can take care of things at home so hubby can concentrate on work. Even when I can't manage to pull a meal together, I'm still a human being and my life has value. Anyone who doesn't get that, has no place in my life.

The saying is sort of a double edged sword. On the one hand, it underscores the impact health, or lack of health, has on our lives. My lack of health dominates every day of my life, impacting every aspect of my life. It's a pretty big deal. On the other hand, it implies if you have anything going in your life then you must be healthy. In that way, it may actually feed the existing myths. All those people out there who think you must be feeling better because you are up and out of the house - looking normal.

When it comes down to it, something as complicated as health and illness can't be summed up in an adage. Come to think of it, isn't most of life too nuanced for adages? Isn't that what makes life the incredible journey that it is? Why are we constantly trying to over simplify?

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