I had a health scare. Not a big one and I got the all clear and am absolutely fine but it made me think. Generally I am fit and well and have taken my good health for granted without ever giving it any thought. Apart from a bout of glandular fever after some ill-advised snogging as a teenager and pleurisy after living in a damp student dive, I have never really been ill.
But looking around me I start to notice more of my friends ailing, bits breaking, parts starting to malfunction. Whereas they had never questioned their body’s ability to do what was asked of it, all of a sudden their bodies are kicking back and refusing to behave as requested. Inability to read a menu without peering seems pretty common as do damaged joints and ligaments. Other people have more mysterious ailments which involve blood tests or scans and a degree of worry. And the more people they mention their problem to the more people they discover with matching symptoms. It must be our age.
And so when I saw my GP and then got fast tracked to the local hospital I could not help but imagine the worst. For the week that it took for my appointment to come round, I could think of little else and whilst statistically I knew that the likelihood was that I would be fine, I could not help but play out the possibilities in my imagination. I knew what the ultimate outcome might be but the main thing on my mind was the sheer inconvenience of being ill. Not now, I though. Not now that I have finally started to move forward. I couldn’t stand the frustration of having to put everything on hold whilst I battled back to health. I suspect that sounds trite but that was my main response to what I was about to encounter. I also discovered that I am far better at pushing things to the recesses of my mind than I thought I was. And so I was able to focus on the day to day practicalities of being ill rather than the longer term issues.
And strangely, when I received the glad tidings that I was fine it was as if I had recovered even though there was never anything wrong with me in the first place. I was filled to the brim with the thought that life is short and all opportunities must be grasped before they float away and are lost for ever. And at the same time I feel like a fraud because all that I had was a scare and yet I know people who are dealing with serious illness every day of their life. But all that I can do is to count my blessings and carry on. To paraphrase Nietzsche, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger. I have emerged feeling humble and incredibly lucky and I am sure that I shall never take my good health for granted in quite the same way again.