Today I have two friends in the hospital. My best friend from high school is having complications from having her gallbladder removed last week (the update is she farted last night and that is VERY good news) and one of my best friends from college is having her double mastectomy today.
This reality certainly put things in perspective this morning when I woke up with hives all over my neck, collar bone, and upper back.
I'm itchy (enough that I finally took some Benadryl even though it tends to make me comatose). Thankfully, I'm not swollen and haven't had any throat-itching or swelling at all.
Its' strange because I haven't had hives since I figured out my food allergies in college--more than ten years ago. I'm easily able to avoid beef and pork no problem, since I'm a vegetarian by preference anyway.
Last night I went to a swanky dinner party for my friend and former boss and although I told them I was vegetarian and did NOT eat the main course--a pig head--I ate seafood (caviar and Missouri trout) and even some mushrooms (I usually scorn fungus, but it was a swanky dinner party and I wanted to be adventurous).
Anyway, no idea what caused the breakout, but how hilarious would it be if I'm allergic to caviar? And if I told people all the time in a loud voice that I'm allergic to caviar? That would be great.
While unsettling and uncomfortable, I know my minor case of hives is irrelevant in the big picture, and as I sit here, trying not to claw at the red welts on my neck (strategically covered with a scarf for teaching), I'm thinking about the pain that two of my dearest friends have been going through or will go through in the coming days.
It seems like such a cliche, to be grateful for one's health, but David and I have been reminded too often this year that we take our health for granted. The fact is that if we or one of the girls were sick, NOTHING else would matter. Talk about stripping your priorities down to the bare bones.
Forget about wealth (or wisdom). Daily concerns about money would be wiped out by the looming reality of medical bills. The minutiae of daily chores and minor stresses and to-do lists would become impossibly irrelevant. When it comes to matters of life and death, nothing matters beyond getting the best possible care and showing the most possible love.
It shouldn't take a health scare to remind us to show the most possible love toward the people we care about, but often it does. Today I invite you to send a card or make a call or send a text to someone who's ill or someone who's hurting or someone you want to connect with just because.
And while you're at it, if you wouldn't mind sending out some prayers and good wishes for Monica and Beth, that would be much appreciated.