Christmas Gratitude

christmas gratitude angel
I have every reason to be filled with Christmas gratitude this year. The main one being that I am alive to see it.

In January of 2012, I suddenly found myself hospitalized with something I'd never heard of - Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). I went from being fully mobile to totally paralyzed, in excruciating pain and barely breathing. It was mid-June before I was released from the hospital and I am still, eleven months later, recovering. I'm probably 85-90% back to normal.

I'm grateful for that progress and all it entails. Like being able to breathe on my own, feeding and showering myself, walking, having good enough vision to read. All the basics that I never gave much thought to previously.

When you unexpectedly find yourself stripped of such capabilities, you gain a profound appreciation for them. Sometimes I marvel at the second chance I got. I really do. I am a very lucky person and I know it.

Although the circumstances did not, in any way, feel fortunate, I can recognize the breaks I've had throughout my illness. For example, in the eleventh hour, I narrowly escaped being intubated. My doctor said it was amazing, he couldn't explain how I suddenly started breathing better on my own.

One night, a nurse mixed up my pills with my roommate's. For some reason, I checked the little paper pill cup and saw that the pills weren't mine. Good thing because my roomy's maladies were different from mine and it sure would not have been good for me to ingest them. Unfortunately, she did take mine. Thankfully, she was fine after a day.

All along the way, I was protected, helped and comforted as much as possible. I almost always got the best nurses on the floor, too. A very dear friend had died a few days before I became ill and I'm sure he was with me, at least some of the time. Tears of gratitude spring to my eyes when I think of it.

It would be easy to feel bad about 2012. Afterall, the year has been a write-off for me. But the pluses are big ones. My attention has been called to the health of my body, I've had a lot of much-needed rest and I've learned not only that I can survive but also how much others are willing to extend help and love, even to people they don't know.

That includes the tons of people (I learned later) that kept me in their thoughts and prayers after learning that I had GBS. There are human angels everywhere, if you bother to notice them. They are the ones that touch your heart and make it swell with appreciation.

The world is a kind and giving place and I'm lucky enough to still be in it. So, you see, it is easy for me to be filled with Christmas gratitude this holiday season. I look at the Christmas tree and remind myself that I almost didn't get to see it. I take a deep breath and say thank-you.

What can you be grateful for this year?

I wish you a warm, wonderful Christmas and a terrific 2013.

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