I hope miracles are still in your wheelhouse because I sure need a couple right now. I have been sick for the past few days. Please help me surrender my raggedy breath, snotty nose, and fierce, shuddering cough to your (hopefully) healing hands. I confess to having doubts right now about your very existence.
Why would such a loving force subject her children to such misery? The sounds emanating from my chest resemble a Rice Krispies commercial, or maybe even an electrical storm.
Okay, so maybe I brought this on myself. No, no, I’m not talking about exposure to someone who had been experiencing similar issues. I’m talking about Karma. Yes, I know, God, I’m mixing up spiritual metaphors here, but I’m frustrated enough to do it anyway. I confess that my arrogant attitude 12 days ago dictated my health fate.
The one-year anniversary of my knee replacement surgery was looming, and I was scheduled for a visit with my orthopedist.
“Your flexion is amazing,” Dr. Martinez marveled (seemingly). “What have you been doing to achieve this range of motion?”
“I take yoga classes, swim, and bike ride,” I responded.
It’s rare when a cute young doctor speaks admiringly about a fine-tuned body part belonging to a 69-year-old woman. Although, I expect it was his own handiwork he was admiring more than my athletic prowess. Nevertheless, I floated out of his office feeling like the picture of health.
That was on a Friday morning. By Sunday I felt the inklings of a congestion invasion. By Monday, I was hunkered down on my sofa, nursing a bottle of Mucinex. And it has gone down from there. The upper respiratory infection triggered my asthma, and I’ve been wheezing and coughing like an 80-year-old two-pack-a-day smoker.
I had bouts of asthma so badly as a kid I would miss several weeks of school each year. Pneumonia was a too frequent childhood companion. But then I “outgrew it” as the good doctor had predicted and have suffered with relatively few episodes since my early teens.
But I’ve been flashing back to those days this week as I’ve struggled to breathe. It’s hard not to feel panicky. “Ok God, I promise! I won’t take breathing for granted ever again.” Yeah, sure, I wonder how long that promise will last once the hacking subsides.
And I’m so impatient. I want to be well now! I order God and myself. I tend towards being a productivity-a-holic. I have tasks that need to be accomplished! I like being active. But my incessant wheezing is exacerbated by exertion. Even just going up and down the 17 stairs in my home instigates panting so loud my dog even feels sorry for me.
“And, God! Hello! I have plans! Don’t you remember I’m supposed to be going on a vacation?!” My husband and I have planned a two-week driving trip to Illinois to see our children and grandchildren. I’m celebrating my birthday with them.
Following our Chicago leg, we plan to travel to Traverse City, Michigan to see family. We are so looking forward to hiking, kayaking, and playing golf in the 70-degree weather, escaping Florida’s relentless summer heat and humidity.
Wah, wah, wah. It seems kind of trivial to be worrying about a trip or the fact that I’m not able to be active or productive. In my imposed stillness, I’ve wondered if God or the universe has submitted a grounding order for me.
“For the next xx of days you will not be able to run around in your typical helter-skelter fashion, checking off items on that incessant to-do list that lives in your head,” I imagine I’m told.
Earlier in my lock-down, I decided I would go for a bike ride. “That will expand my lung capacity,” I reasoned. Uh, that was a big no. I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf before I even got down the driveway.
Forced inactivity requires you to take stock and make assessments about your life. It’s humbling. I was feeling like a baller when I left my orthopedist’s office 12 days ago. Now I’m feeling vulnerable. I guess arrogance doesn’t become us. A little humility keeps us human and connected to others similarly situated.
As I close in on the Amen portion of this prayer, I do want to say thank you, God, for the insight gained from this health blip. Help me sit within this present state rather than struggling mightily to fight against it.
Perhaps it’s in places like this where bits of wisdom surface – in the quiet, in the dark, where there is little to no control to be had. I look forward to those clear, deep breaths that are as refreshing as a dive into clear, cold waters. Maybe that’s how it will feel when I’m paddle boarding and swimming in Lake Michigan (prayer emoji).
Remember, if you want to make God laugh, make a plan. Maybe our trip will be exactly the way it needs to be without all my controlling, editing, and planning. Lesson learned. Now can I start breathing again, please? (By the way, four Covid tests later, still negative.)
What plans have you made this summer? Have they gone as you envisioned? What went wrong – or what didn’t?
Tags Healthy Aging