The things we take for granted

Yesterday my finicky back decided it had had enough of just taunting me at odd times throughout the day with it’s stabbing pains and aches and completely throw the towel in and have a full-blown tantrum.
It wasn’t too bad when I was seated but the minute I tried to move, it would begin to snap and snarl causing immeasurable pain in the process.
After taking 10 minutes to prepare my breakfast, I decided that eating standing up would be far more manageable than having to ease in and out of a sitting position at the dining room table. Given that I had to be at work in half an hour, and I was moving in slow motion to complete any task, remaining standing was the easier option. Breakfast over, I slow-walked to the bedroom to dress for the day. I decided on ‘comfortable’ with jeans and a loose top fitting the bill. Putting on my jeans was a little tricky but with some maneouvering onto the bed to get my legs in a position to pull them up, it worked. Leaning over the bathroom sink to clean my teeth also required some forethought and modifications to my usual routine.
In actual fact as the day wore on, I realised just how many modifications I had to make to my usual routine and way of doing things. I realised just how much I take for granted in my daily life.
Each task required modifications in order to ease the (now spasm- ing pain) in my back.
I discovered that I needed to rely on others to complete things or devise innovative ways of completing the most simple of tasks.
I also had to allow extra time for doing this.
And when I cried out in pain from reaching into a cupboard to get a bowl for my lunch whilst I was at work, nobody batted an eyelid. My noise just blended in with the cacophony of sound that is a usual Friday within a disability organisation.
Staff believed the cry came from one the clients and didn’t pay it another thought.
It was then that I realised some of the challenges faced by people with disabilities each day of their lives. Many of these men and women rely on others for all aspects of their daily care. Others require modifications to every day items and tasks so that they are able to function with a measure of independence.
I refused to give up my independence yesterday (although it was nice when my co-worker would get things from the printer room to save me the agony of the walk) however I was still confined to my chair for most of the day.
And although I had difficulties throughout the day, I knew that it would not be forever.
As I used an umbrella to turn off a power switch and utilised a paintbrush to lift the scissors out of my pen box, I did so in the knowledge that tomorrow or even next week, I would be able to bend down to turn off the switch or reach over to pick up the scissors once more.
However, for many there is no ‘getting better’. Many people need to adapt to a life that is a new kind of normal.The kind of life where reliance upon others is important for many aspects of their daily routine.

One of my co-workers joked yesterday “I’ll get you a wheelchair but I draw the line at doing your PC”. (PC stands for personal care).
Last night I thought about his comment and wondered just how hard it must be for many people to be reliant upon others to toilet them and shower them due to the fact that their body doesn’t function in the way that it is meant to. And whilst their body has failed them in some way, their mind is still vibrant and active and telling them that this isn’t the way it should be.

In life, we take so much for granted and our body working in the way that it should is one such thing.
Yesterday (until the Voltaren and heat packs kicked in) I had a glimpse of how life is for others and I came away with a new admiration for them.

So tell me, is there something in your life that you have taken for granted? Have you learned any lessons similar to the one I learned yesterday?

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21 thoughts on “The things we take for granted

  1. I can say that there was a period of my life I took everything, and everyone for granted. I was going to live forever, climb every mountain, and do whatever I wanted. I’ve changed along the way, but most recently, I have realized how much I take the support of my husband for granted.

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  2. My knee went out this week. It only lasted a day, but I have a lot of stairs in this house… and everyone relies on me to do things for them. I have to adapt to Alex with his deafness by going to see him when he’s in bed. I can’t just yell up the stairs. Without my knees I’ll be useless.
    I depend on my health as the only one who has it, between Alex, my Autistic son, Chris, and my octogenarian mother.
    I, like you, don’t know what I’d do….

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  3. Oh Sue. What an unpleasant day and what a wonderful question and compassion to come out of it. I have had increasing health problems over the last half a dozen years and have learned a lot about taking things for granted. At one point a few years ago I was hospitalized and was unable to use the restroom independently. I also needed to rely on nursing staff to help mediate my pain and take care of my medical needs. I was grateful I had short hair because it didn’t get washed for 4 or 5 days. I knew I was grateful for my amazing family and friends. One of the things that surprised me was that is was so wonderful to come home to the quiet. In my home with my wonderful cats and husband I am blessed with quiet for much of the day. I don’t take that for granted any more!
    Now I am the parent of 2 older teens/young men who take so much in life for granted. In some ways I look at that and am happy for their innocence. At other times it makes me worry for their foolishness. Taking things for granted demonstrates a confidence that I sometimes find refreshing. I hope that they can demonstrate compassion without having to experience the pain that we have had to feel. I know I can’t protect them from all the pains of life. But for now I’m grateful that they take their skills and health for granted and they are moving forward with confidence into the world.

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    1. I believe it is the nature of tween and 20-somethings to take the world for granted and feel invincible. It is a rare one who doesn’t. It’s such a shame that learning we aren’t invincible and shouldn’t take things for granted comes after life experience such as you had because we want to shield our children from those life experiences.
      Thanks for your wonderful comment.

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  4. I have taken everything for granted for YEARS. And then spent those years and MORE worrying about all those blessings. Glad that’s over! Last summer, I got a terrible infection, which rendered me useless and immobile, fevered in bed, and even led to temporary DEFORMITY! :O I then realized I had never fully appreciated my face. I vowed when my face and lymph nodes healed, I would never take it for granted again, never mind Rosacea and thin eyebrows! You can read about it, I blogged my deformity and everything. Ugh, I love my face. My face is great! Having a neck is also fantastic! 🙂
    Chronic pain is a whole other matter.

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  5. Sue – i’m sorry for your pain and discomfort. It is difficult to rely on others when that’s not our usual modus operandi. I do think the changes that come with age certainly make us more aware. Early accidents or injuries can also teach one to be grateful and aware of others’ difficulties.

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    1. I agree that age is a great equaliser.
      Thanks for your concern but my back is fine now. It is amazing the things I learn through pain and discomfort though.

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  6. I remember when I broke my leg and ankle and was alone all day up Mt French, just outside Boonah, that the Blue Nurses came to help me shower. I had to strip right off, tie a black plastic bag around the cast and tape it water-proof, then hop across to the shower and then sort of flop back over the rim into a plastic chair. Never worried about my dignity ever again! With fibromyalgia I’ve had to learn to do half of what I can do and be grateful I can do that. Now I listen to my body when I’m contemplating doing stuff and if it feels heavy and unhappy, I know I need to say “no” and care for myself first.

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    1. Very true. I think along with age being an equaliser – I think childbirth and hospitalisation remove all shreds of dignity.
      It’s good that you have learned to listen to your body Mo. I think so many of us ignore it and push on until it rebels.

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  7. What a wise and sensitive post! I don’t have a story to tell, though, except that I wake up every day feeling grateful — especially in my nice warm shower as I picture so many in the world who have to literally grub for their cup of dirty water. I do have matching fractures on each of my feet, but I was still able to function — in the old days with a cast and, in the case of the more recent break,with a boot. The first break was a long time ago. My son was 7 months old. Someone must have given me rides to work. I know I never missed a day. But no recollections beyond that. I am so grateful for my good health, and for my chiropractor who immediately relieves my back spasms when they hit.

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  8. Ouch…I hope your back is feeling better. I know only too well of body pains. Sometimes I take my hubby for granted. He is my angel. He drives me everywhere to take pictures without complaining and has changed his life to accommodate me. Sometimes I can get into the selfish mode but thinking of gratitude and being grateful helps me to remember how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful man. 🙂

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