“We’re all just one phone call from our knees.” ~Mat Kearney
“We’re all just one trade away from humility, Bud.” ~Wall Street
When I was younger, during less happy periods in my life, sometimes people would try to encourage me with the maxim, “At least you have your health.” Having been healthy all my life, and healthy and surrounded by healthy people when I was young, this maxim tended to fall on deaf ears, or at least ears living in a small world. I knew little of what it might be like to be in poor health.
This is probably common among the young. You can join a pick-up basketball game any time you want, and you can go on as many ski trips as you can afford. In fact, there were significant periods of my young 20s during which I had no health insurance of any kind.
I write this as my wife Abby sits in a hospital bed, recovering from another in a long line of serious illnesses. She has a number of conditions that fall into the constellation of autoimmune disease, and as much as we both try to keep her healthy, sometimes she gets alarmingly sick.
The night before, at home alone, I awoke to the sound of her voice calling my name, as though she were calling to me in my dream. I miss her quite profoundly when she is gone.
This isn’t a complaint about money. Abby and I have always had good insurance, and we have never hesitated to seek medical help because of financial concerns. When Abby is sick, we bring the best medical care at hand to her bedside.
I am also well aware that my own life and health are just as fragile as anyone’s. I could live 40 more years, or a clot could sneak into my left ventricle ten seconds from now and kill me dead. Life itself is fleeting. As I write this, I have a nasty cough I can’t seem to shake. I might feel better tomorrow, or I might be on the news tomorrow as someone who died from a “superbug.”
I accept my biology.