Health is everything: it is the ultimate wealth and most of us are simply oblivious to it!

For most of my life I have taken my health for granted.  I simply assumed that everything would work and work fine till the end of days despite the fact that my father has suffered two strokes and is partly paralysed and cannot take care of himself.  I rested in this assumption simply because I have been eating the right foods and in moderation.

Recently I have been caught completely by surprise.  First there was the shock of learning that I have to take a thyroid replacement every day because my thyroid gland is under-active.  Then there was the shock of learning that all my good eating had been to no avail.  Despite being vegetarian and staying away from fatty foods I find that I am genetically predisposed to a high cholesterol level.  Apparently the liver is responsible for some 80% of the cholesterol.  And now I find myself on statins.

Then back in June 2009 I found that my neck was in considerable pain and once all the pills had been taken, the physiotherapy tried and the MRI scan I found that I had a prolapsed disc in my neck and frankly there is nothing that can be done about it that does not risk me being paralysed if things go wrong.  After nine months I had made all the life changes to deal with that so that I lessen the chance of aggravating my neck.

Funny though it may sound, I can cope with that.  How do you cope with the fact that your lower back can seize up such that you cannot even sit?  That is the situation I find myself in: if I sit for more than half an hour I end up experience intense pain and cannot even lift my legs to put my socks on.  What do you do when you cannot sit?  When you can only walk very slowly or simply lie down?  What do you do when you have such an active and curious mind like mine – one that loves to learn?  What do you do when you cannot write – something you have wanted to do for such a long time, have started finally and now enjoy doing it?

I do not have the answers.  I know that is the situation that I find myself in and I am doing my best to live with it.  Sometimes that is simply the situation that you find yourself in and there are no magical answers.  You just have to do the best that you can do.  And still be grateful that things are not worse.  I am grateful that my friends, my family, my loved ones, my home, my business, my community, my neighbourhood has not been washed away in an instant.  And I am grateful that I am not sitting outside in the freezing cold or a large sports stadium – cold, hungry, uncomfortable and wondering if I am being bombarded by radiation.  Can you imagine the Japanese mothers who are, right now, wondering how their babies, their children, will be impacted by the radiation leaking out of the damaged nuclear plant.

My friends, our health is our wealth.  And we should cherish it, be grateful and make the most of it.  I am suffering and my quality of life has deteriorated simply because I cannot sit!  And how many of us take sitting for granted.  Or being able to tie our own shoelaces?


The difference between children and adults

It has snowed heavily and brought many parts of the UK to a standstill.  And it has been interesting to watch how different people have reacted differently to the snow.

Clea, 10 years old, got all dressed up in her ski clothes, searched out her friends who live next door and got busy playing in the snow.  I saw her embracing the snow literally: she was rolling around in the snow and scooping it up.  To her snow occurred as an opportunity to be with friends and play: a gift, an adventure!

My wife, Aldine, is an optimist.  So it was no surprise that even when there was a severe weather she got herself and the children in the car on Saturday morning and drove up to get to her friend Analia’s home.  She did not make it there yet she can hold up her head high.  In the end she is the one that chose not to drive at 25mph and thus face a six-hour journey.

I, being a pragmatic fellow, decided that the snow and cold was a great opportunity to do all the stuff that I had put off – like the accounts and the tax returns.  And to pick up and read a book on swarm behaviour – something that I find interesting.  My approach is best described as: why take the risk when I do not have to take the ris.  Has that been the stance that I have taken in life?  Choosing to be safe, to be comfortable?  In some areas, yes.

Looking more broadly, I notice that adult conversation (especially the media) has been around control.  The snow has disrupted the bubble of control that we take for granted and the adults have not liked that one little bit.  So the conversation has been full of complaint – primarily about those that govern us and their inability to control the world, to bend it to our needs.

Interestingly there has been more indignation and complaint around the country coming to a standstill then there has been about the banks bringing the country to its knees.  There is has been more complaint about being stuck, not being able to get out, to go on holiday then there has been about government policy that has resulted in tens of thousands of people being killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It seems that the wonder of children is that they embrace the new, the unknown, and dance with life.  This contrasts sharply with adults who like to stick to the known – a world that runs smoothly, like clockwork, and renders no surprises.  Is it any wonder that so many of us adults are so bored?