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Danit and Michel Aziza

 
LESSON #22: THE BLESSINGS OF A BAD FLU

By Danita Aziza, January 27, 2011

I’m a little leery to declare publicly that I’ve been under the weather.  This hesitancy stems from that fact that I know for sure my Mom reads my articles religiously and if she thought that I was dealing with anything more server than the sniffles as I’ve professed on the phone, she’d freak.  Reason number two relates to my known fascination with alternative healthcare practices that generally prevent me, and the many who refer to me as, “Dr. D”, from falling prey to the latest virus circulating the globe.  Truth be known, from some momentary lapse in good judgment, I failed to contact my wonderful friend and Homeopathic Doctor until I was well into day three of staring at the four walls of my bedroom from under crumpled covers on my bed.

There are only a few good things that can be associated with having the flu.  Firstly, the flu can serve as a unifier in some ways, because come winter and flu season, it doesn’t much matter where you live, you can be sure that someone you know is enduring the same, less than desirable physical state, as yourself.   While I would never want anyone to feel unwell, I did take a tiny bit of comfort in receiving an email from a dear friend in Winnipeg saying that we were definitely connected despite the physical distance between us, as just like me she was at home from work feeling less than optimal.

The timing of my malady couldn’t have been worse.  My ulpan oral exam is next week and missing an hour is a big deal not to mention five whole days.  To this point my attendance has been stellar and then from left field at al critical juncture in learning I was forced to retreat to my bedroom without even the energy to review my signature flash cards that adorn my night table.  How could it be that last week missing three days of ulpan was a terrifying thought and today I don’t much care how far behind I will be from all my fellow classmates.

There is nothing like feeling so unbelievably lousy that puts things into perspective.  On a daily basis most of us don’t give much thought to all the things we are able to do as a result of good health.  We have energy for work, family, friends, exercise, and even though we may moan about the multitude of chores that plague us, we complete the tasks that help to bring order to our lives.  When you are shivering between your bed sheets without energy to even brush your teeth, you begin to long for the ability to tackle the mundane activities of daily life; running the kids to activities, putting in a load of laundry, returning long overdue phone calls and even cleaning out that upside down inside cupboard.

Between sips of liquids you think about the life that ensues outside, how everyone is carrying on with their daily routine while you are banished from public life.  What was so easily taken for granted in a state of good health suddenly and ever so quickly becomes appreciated and envied.  And all the silly insignificant things that get on your nerves and annoy you, your kids’ rooms with clothes thrown all over the floor, something a friend said that upset you, the guy that took your parking space at the grocery store, how ridiculously trite those once seemingly significant issues appear when stacked against contending with not being well.

In the winter months when the days are short and the weather not so pleasant, life takes on a more routine and mundane tone.  Even in Israel where the rains have been scarce and the days not cold at all compared to other locals, a bit of the winter doldrums set in..  There’s evidence even here that people are in a bit of a slump, not to mention what people are feeling in those places with piles of snow and frigid temperatures. However bored you feel with the monotony and however lackluster your spirit, it just takes a good smack to your immune system with a strain of the flu to be thankful for the ability to exist even in the ordinary.

Being thankful for the return to good health usually comes with silent vows to take better care of oneself.  It is hard for me to accept that someone as health conscious as myself can quickly become a victim of an immune system invasion.  I take all the best vitamins and homeopathic remedies, avoid chemical pollution, eat the right foods, but must confess that I am always skipping a meal here or there, trading in a hour of sleep for some other chore to get done and exert far too much energy stressing over far too many things.  My “week with walls” as I call my rondez vous with the flu, has convinced me that  those that think they are infallible most certainly are not and even those that take good care, can still take even better care.

There is no question that good health is the most essential asset a person possesses and yet somehow most of us fail to value or protect it enough until it has been compromised in some way.  We wish for good health when we blow out the candles on our birthday cake, pray for good health before we go to sleep at night and run after it when it has been snatched out from under us.  Sometimes, however, we fall short of taking  responsibility and putting in the effort required to tend to our health in a way that befits its supremacy in our lives.  There is no other gift so precious or so fragile as our health and if you’re lucky enough to have nothing more severe than the winter flu remind you of such, you are truly fortunate.
  
I’m one day away from being back in the game and unlike times past, I’m taking my time getting back to full throttle.  I’m really making a valiant attempt at not fixating on all that awaits me upon my return to routine. Every time such thoughts raise their ugly head I try and take my mind back to the place under the covers where all I longed for was to be able to execute the simplest of tasks.  What I’ve missed while I’ve been under the weather is just a small blink of life, a life viewed as even more fragile than before….that is before I got the flu.  

 
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