Phil has had bronchitis for a week and I've had it since Thursday night. I can't even begin to tell you some of the strange musings that have gone through my mind. What I can tell you is that the Rich Mullin's song with the refrain, "Oh, we are not as strong as we think we are," is so true. (And I know he wasn't writing about bronchitis but still... we are not as strong as we think we are... and in our house this week, it just took one little bacteria to prove that to both Phil and I.)
Both of us, unknown to the other, actually reached the place during the worst of the illness where we felt that we were not going to make it, literally. We've both had pneumonia in the past but I don't remember feeling as hopeless as I have this time around with a lesser disease. Maybe it's our age. Maybe it's that I actually felt hopeless before but because of the passing of time, I've just forgotten how far I bottomed out back then. At any rate, this time around, mortality seemed all too real to me and to Phil as well.
I also thought about friends of ours who have chronic lung disease and in particular, about one person from our Sunday School class who died of lung cancer. I remember when I told him that we were praying for healing and how he responded, "Well, that's on my list. But it's not very high on the list..." He went on to say that when the doctor told him he had lung cancer that had metastasized, he responded with, "Well, I can get excited about Heaven...." I remembered how he used to have to leave the Sunday School classroom when he'd have a coughing fit.. but how he kept coming whenever his health allowed. I was impressed by his example. But I also realized this week that I'm not where he was. The bottom line is that I would like to continue living on this earth for a while longer and I'd like for all my friends to do the same.
But the main thing I realized was how fragile we are. A week ago last Saturday, our lives were "normal" and if you had told either of us that within a few days, we'd both be coughing our guts out and wondering if we'd survive this relatively minor illness, we wouldn't have believed it. Neither of us would have believed it. Yet, that is exactly what happened. We are frail even though we are wonderfully made.
I also realized that nothing is so humbling as disease. Appearance?? Out the window... The least of my concerns. Breathing quickly takes precedence over make-up and blow dryers.
Intelligence? Right behind make-up and blow dryers... One night at 3 in the morning, I was sitting in the bathroom trying to cough without disturbing Phil and my blood-shot eyes focused on a bag of "discreet bladder protection pads" that I had in a prominent place. The bag was folded a little in on itself and honest to goodness, I read this on the side of the bag: "ladder protection" in all seriousness and sat there for about 30 seconds trying to figure out what it meant... :-) It probably took me a full minute to realize that the "b" from "bladder" was missing... Phil and I can laugh about it now but at the time, I wondered if I was not only losing my lung capacity but my mental capacity as well! (Now I will never be able to look at that bag without thinking, "ladder protection"...)
Niceness? Also out the window... Right behind make-up, blow dryers and intelligence.. I had to bite my tongue to keep from biting Phil's head off (he was starting to feel better when I was hitting the throes of the bronchitis). Nothing the guy did really pleased me although I managed to express my thanks anyway. It wasn't until last night that I could really think about all the things he did for me: bringing me cranberry slushies from Sonic, heating up chicken soup for me, washing the clothes, and, perhaps the greatest sign of true love of all - the poor man actually sat down and watched six hours (yes.. six! Hours!) of the A & E production of Pride and Prejudice with me. Surely there is no greater love.. :)
As I have started to come out of this (and hopefully will continue to improve) I realize I have much to be grateful for: being able to take a hot shower whenever I wanted to, being able to go to the clinic without any problems, having canned soup at my disposal, having a warm bed and central heat, not having to worry about being absent from a job, having a husband who was willing to care for me and who could actually say, "I love you"and sound like he meant it when I felt like a cross between Attila the Hun and Dracula... The list goes on and on.
Well, I think I've shot my bolt of energy for the day...
I'm not sure that there is any point to these cough medicine musings other than the fact that I am acutely aware today that we are, truly, not as strong as we think we are.