Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Taming Of The Flu, Part II - Lessons Learned

In the moments of semi-consciousness during my recent battle with Influenza (see, The Taming Of The Flu, Part I), the fragility of life became quite apparent.  Some seemingly insignificant virus had attacked my body and had attacked hard.  For the first time in my memory, I lost the battle.  My system was over-whelmed by these microscopic invaders.  

I am no longer invincible.  My presumed immortality must be questioned.  I find a different me gazing back in the mirror.  The cape is off.  The vulnerability to kryptonite has been made apparent. 

Interestingly, other than my new-found revelations, there are no outward signs of the trauma I had just experienced.  Not even a pin-prick hole where blood was drawn or where the IV that pumped four bags of life-restoring fluids had been (both holes as they missed the vein the first time).

Life.  The balance is surprisingly delicate.

Oh sure, we hear the stories all the time of people who survive tragedy and trauma: trapped coal miners; coma-wakers; natural disaster rescuees; organ-replacement recipients; heart-attack, stroke and cancer survivors; dialysis patients... In the pantheon of such, my little episode is nary a blip.  A relatively insignificant fainting spell that was subsequently and easily corrected by forcing a drink of water into my body.

How small it can also make one feel.

I hope never to forget those few frightening moments.  I want to see them as a wake-up call to change my ways.  Silly, I know... these are the things that people say after a life-and-death event.  But in those first few moments after regained semi-consciousness... those moments when I could hear all but had not the energy to respond or to even simply open my eyes... I was afraid.  Those few moments of simply not knowing what was wrong or what had happened to me were scary.

Life is fragile and temporary.  It should be treated as sacred.  Our bodies should be taken care of.  We are the caretakers of the vessels that hold our essence.  

In retrospect, I had just experienced a moment when the essence was awake, but the vessel had been felled.  If the vessel could not be repaired, I won't swear that the essence has an alternative.  I'd like to think it does.  I'd like to think it can go on without the vessel... possibly finding a future vessel to reside in.  That's where I draw my comfort in moments of true uncertainty.

Take care of yourselves.  You are all you've got.

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