I recently had back surgery that affected my mobility. One of the first things I noticed (as the optimist that I am) is that it caused me to stop and see the small wonders surrounding me. The red-headed ladder back woodpecker on my birdfeeder; the buds on the trees about to burst into lime splendor; the deep plum leaves suddenly showing up on my knockout rose bush; the steady rhythms of the music pulsing on my patio.
It is the only way to survive life’s challenges. We need to find the one good thing to focus on; and if there are more, celebrate! If possible, surround ourselves with loving friends and family. Engage in pleasurable social activities. The more smiling the better. Attend the book club even if you haven’t read the book. Order food that you desire, even if you can’t finish. Take a “walk” around your neighborhood, even if you’re in a wheelchair or using a walker. It could always be worse.
After spending a couple of weeks in the hospital, I had had the pleasure of being fed by their food service. Most meals contained a chopped-up protein (chicken, beef or pork) that all looked the same, slathered with a brown, glutenous gravy, a snowball of mashed potatoes, and a collection of vegetables. This offering came for lunch as well as dinner. My problem with it was that I was not used to eating this way for lunch. After all, what was wrong with a salad?
When friends called and said, “What can I bring you?” the first thing that came to mind was dark chocolate. This would be my dessert rather than the canned fruit cocktail on my tray. And then, of course, there was the day when my sister asked, “Can I bring you anything?” My immediate answer was “Sushi”. Never having any fish, I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms.
My last request came just when I was getting ready to leave: “Bring me a scoop of butter pecan ice cream for lunch.”
As I left the hospital, I commented to the nurse: “I’m looking forward to my first piece of grilled salmon, asparagus and rice and a nice glass of cabernet.” It’s the simple things in life that we ultimately appreciate, especially during challenging times.