Healthy is all relative

Are you healthy? Is your family? Do you know what healthy really means?

I wish I had appreciated the health our family has lost. My son used to be an excellent athlete whose biggest worry was whether his uniform and water jug were clean. My daughter used to be a dancer whose toughest decision was whether to take jazz or hip hop. I used to enjoy the American dream of a husband, 2 kids and a house in the suburbs. All this was before my neurological differences caught up with me. Before my daughter developed crippling anxiety. Before my son was attacked by his own immune system.

Now we see healthy as a day when he doesn’t need pain medicine to get moving. When she can go to school without a panic attack. When I can talk myself into going to work, then stay focused enough to get there. Healthy is a week when I spend more time at work than in a doctor’s office.

To some, poor health might be having a sore throat for several days, spraining an ankle, getting the flu, or being fatigued from too many short nights. I don’t want to minimize those challenges, especially if you aren’t used to anything less than perfect health. If the worst you know is a broken leg, then a broken leg is pretty serious. I wish the worst I knew was a broken leg.

Whatever your circumstance, take the time to appreciate the abilities you do have. I am grateful that we function as well as we do. That we have proper medical care. That we have insurance to pay for necessary medications. That I have friends and family I can count on. I know it could be much worse, and I thank God it isn’t.

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Some of you immediately recognize the reference in my intro page. Others are scratching your heads. I get it. I don’t understand every cultural reference someone throws my way. But it seems I am the master of obscure connections. Sometimes I feel like Freddy Mercury when he combined John Wayne, Star Wars, politics and illegal drugs in the same song. Except that when he wrote those lyrics they somehow made sense.

I’m not so eloquent. Every day I say something that, in my mind, makes perfect sense, but falls flat when it comes out of my mouth. My poor daughter can only shake her head and laugh when we are talking about what to have for supper and suddenly I’m commenting on the song my brother sang from the basement of the house we lived in when I was in 4th grade.

If I am ever having a conversation with you and I say something that seems to come from left field, just smile and remember that is one of my quirks and why I’m so adorable.

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Oh, and a song in Les Miserables, ends with Jean Valjean singing, “Who am I? 24601!”