I have spent most of my life feeling quite good, no serious illnesses or injuries until age 53. Then one sunny May morning I went out for a leisurely bike ride around my neighborhood and ended up unconscious on the ground with a traumatic brain injury, fractured ribs and contusions all over my body. Healing took months and certain parts would never be the same again, especially my brain.
LESSON #1: Most people have no idea how to react to or respond to life-threatening injuries. No, an e-mail or text doesn’t cut it, and phone calls don’t work well with brain injury patients.
Life went on with significant brain challenges for the next nine years, until I received an unexpected diagnosis of COPD last year. This included a fair chance of developing lung cancer in my future.
LESSON #2: Friends and acquaintances who presently have no known illness (yet!), may feel lucky or even superior. You poor schmuck. They may also look for reasons why this could never happen to them. (You smoked right? NO!)
My most recent unfortunate illness was most revealing in terms of friendship. I acquired a horrible and easily transmittable infection last October. Granted it is communicable and I would not want even my worst enemy to contract it, BUT
there is nothing so depressing as feeling extremely ill and TOXIC at the same time…
If you don’t believe me, try it sometime!
LESSON #3: Serious illness is perhaps the only way to find out who really cares about you, and who does not. Caregivers are angels!
The thing I find most interesting about those out there who feel superior to those who are suffering, is that we all will experience some sort of terminal illness or injury someday, because we all will die of something. It’s just a matter of time…