What is health? In nursing school we are taught that health changes from day to day. It involves how you feel when you awaken in the morning. Sometimes it’s bolt-out-of-bed health and attack-the-world health. Sometimes you can ignore the arthritis in your feet or knees. But even at twenty or younger, sometimes
health is intestinal problems or achy flu or a cold that you just cannot shake.
Illness can attack at any time in your life and change the continuum of your health. Sometimes it’s just a virus and you get over it and the plateau of how you feel zips right back up to where it was. But sometimes, there are lingering symptoms. You just don’t feel like you did before that virus attacked. It might take weeks, sometimes months to feel like your old self. And then sometimes, as you keep on going, you realize that this is your plateau now and it’s unlikely to change.
That’s when the dreaded work chronic comes into your vocabulary. I was first introduced to the word when my back started going out on me in my thirties. One writer described it this way: I was playing tennis and I went for the ball—I went one way and my back went the other. Ouch. Lifting children and a vacuum cleaner did it to me. But I recovered. I fought back at my back so that the dreaded word chronic would no longer describe me. It took weeks of walking, stretching, and using proper body mechanics to get to my old self again.
That’s another aspect of health. Possibly from birth to about twenty-five you wake up most mornings healthy. And it’s your damn right, you think. Yeah. This is how it’s supposed to be. But during the day you are drinking and eating junk, staying up late and not getting enough sleep, smoking maybe, doing recreational drugs maybe, taking lots of risks in cars or ATVs or a sport activity you like and having sex that does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. You might argue that you are living, but you are also squandering. Health in your body comes one time. You might be able to FIX something, like I did with my back, but squandering and wasting organs and tissues are actions that often cannot be redone. You get one body free from HIV. You get one set of lungs. You get one stomach and endocrine system, one cardiovascular system that is powered by your nutritional intake etc. NOW you get my point. So when you awaken each day, think about the state of your health FOR THAT DAY. Be grateful for it, or decide what you need to do that day to improve it. But cherish it. What a gift.
Thanks to Google Images