It’s an often annoying cliche: we are happier and healthier being grateful for the good things we have than being bitter or anxious about the things we don’t have. No less true for being an annoying cliche, of course. I am grateful today, for breath going smoothly and deeply in through both nostrils, quietly out the same way.
Pain in the chest, radiating down the left arm, numb hand suddenly tingling with pins and needles. Doctor told you months ago the left atrium, one of four chambers of your heart muscle, is very weak, need to see a cardiologist, who will call. No cardiologist calls, instead promises: two weeks, one week, any day. No day. Then one day, amidst payment denials from agents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, pain in the chest. Directly over where the left atrium would be, here we go…. just to be safe, a trip to the Emergency Room.
Twenty thousand dollars in state of the art medical testing and a day in the hospital later — a relatively clean bill of heart health. Cleared to resume strenuous exercise.
Bike ride the next day with two friends who have not fallen out of shape in fear of heart attack. A pleasure, even if I was sweaty and gassed after a relatively short and not very strenuous ride. I cannot describe to you the crispness of the world, the trees, the people, the deliciousness of cold water, of each deep breath, the miracle of the entire enterprise of being alive.
It’s all a cliche, of course. You really had to be there. But I am one grateful dog today, still.