With confidence let them make known their needs to one another so that each can—The Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters
find and offer to the other that which is necessary. Blessed are those who
love the others when they are sick and unable to serve, as much as when they are
healthy and of service to them. Whether in sickness or in health, they
should only want what God wishes for them. For all that happens to them
let them give thanks to our Creator.
of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, 23.
It’s been quite a summer! In the heat of late July I had an unexpected immersion into the unfamiliar. Several days into my visit with the Sisters in Mexico, I began coughing. Each day got worse, and I went to the doctor upon my return to Minnesota. To my surprise, I learned I had a serious case of no, not H1N1, but bronchitis!
Increasingly exhausted from the bronchospasms (a new word for me!) that seemed to consume me; I moved gingerly trying to minimize the consequent pain. Most surprising, however, was how distressing it was when I had coughing spells and couldn’t breathe, followed immediately by a struggle to get oxygen back into my lungs.
Suddenly it felt as if I were in another dimension of life…the range of what I could deal with was limited to getting from breath to breath and all else faded into the background. Generally I’ve been blessed with good health and lots of energy. After two rounds of antibiotics and two types of inhalers, the debilitating coughs had lessened, and a troubling side effect presented itself: I lost my voice! Anyone who knows me knows that this was significant…I love conversations!
What to do with the increasing disconnect? I was feeling better due to medication, rest and so many peoples’ kindnesses to me. While grateful for others concern and prayers, I also felt an increasing anxiety about the extended loss of my voice. My fear was: what if it was permanent? After three weeks of hoarseness, I was considering going back to a doctor when I woke up from sleep with a persistent question: what if the hoarseness was caused by the very medication I was on? The antibiotics were done, and I felt better; could it be the inhalers I was still using for the “left-over cough”? After consultation I discontinued the one that contained steroids and day by day my voice strengthened…May I never take the gift of voice for granted again!
Why do I share this story? After several ups and downs in the recovery process, I now have more energy and feel healthier than I have in two months. I have learned once again how easy it is to take the precious gift of life and health for granted. In my next post I’ll explore some of my reflections ranging from health care to the ever-changing landscape of what is good or not for us (discernment of right timing and placement). Stay tuned!