Celebrate Your Health

Yes, it’s no-post Saturday, but this has been festering, so I want to get it out.

I’m thinking a lot about illness lately. I no longer write about my own, but it’s made me  very aware of the trials of others…and health in general.

How many times have we heard, as long as we have our health, we have everything? Now I always thought I really got this, but not until I had a decline of my own did I see how true that statement is, because without wellness, very little appears to matter.

I get up every morning challenged. It began in February and has yet to quell. I do the best I can, but life is not what it was. There are mornings I just don’t feel well, when even a visit with Carmela, the basset hound, doesn’t do a thing to lift me up. It’s as though my head was fastened to a stranger’s body. Illness is someone you don’t know, till he knocks and moves himself right in.

Yes I’m being cryptic because it’s not about details, it’s the awareness personal, physical peril brings to the surface.

I notice everything to begin with, it’s where I get the heart of my prose from…by simple, vigilant observation. What’s been added to the mix is how many people I encounter who aren’t themselves. They’re more facsimiles of who God created them to be.

I see children in wheelchairs unable to sit up, women walking slowly on the arm of an attendant. And not necessarily older women either. You notice a little shuffling of feet, an arm kept close to one’s side. You see how it’s taking every shred of strength to make it to the corner.

The other day walking down First Avenue, I saw a girl all of twenty with Down syndrome on her way to the market. She had that kewpie doll face with its sad though beautiful expression of a Botticelli painting. I watched her amble in, a Save The Planet bag slung over her ample arm. I found myself touched observing her determined, uncomplaining efforts to fill her needs.

Another painful sighting is the old man in a wheelchair with tubes up his nose while his nurse chats and textes ignoring him as if he weren’t there. He has that faraway look that at once tells you he’s no longer of this world…dreaming somewhere else, swimming in the sad, lonely waters of dementia. I can’t help but to wonder, could that merely be a myth that he no longer knows anything? Maybe he does come back to visit now and then. That’s when I want to pull the little Jamaican’s phone right out of her hand and stuff it down her throat.

We were never meant to live this long for starters. Science, that may have blessed us in many ways, also compromised our joy of life.

When I read about the founders they never heard of cholesterol or fat cells in mutton or Stilton cheese. They ate, drank vats of Medeira, loved, lived and died, usually happily I might add. If you lived to your eighties, like Jefferson and Adams, it was considered phenomenal. Now eighty is the new sixty, even with your colostomy bag.

Where am I going with all this?

To the store to buy organic eggs and Swiss chard so I can make a fat-free omelet with a spray of virgin olive oil brushing its pan. Oh yes, and I’ll pick up some gluten-free bread while I’m out and a pear, locally grown of course, for dessert (and a gun).

I’ll also notice my peers shuffling and swimming down the avenue knowing without a shadow of a doubt, when you don’t have your optimal health organically or otherwise, you truly have nothing.

Celebrate your health folks, because you never know…it could be heading south.


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in animals, Beauty, food, Gratitude, Health, New York City, Uncategorized, Women and men, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Celebrate Your Health

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    You are absolutely right, Susannah. Even little things, like the tendonitis in my left elbow, annoy and hinder what I do all day. I can’t imagine a real hit on my health, don’t want to either.
    My mother and an aunt suffered physically, but were mentally sound at the end of their lives. Another aunt (in her 90s) was more physically fit than most teenagers, but lived in the past, didn’t recognize her adult children, and thought she was a teenager. Which is worse? In either situation, both the person and their loved ones suffer.


    • I’m sorry if my essay brought up all this sadness for you. I wasn’t going to post it, but it was on my mind since I wrote it…to just air these views and feelings. I’ve learned the hard way to just get them out. I think we need to embrace each day as though it were our last. I always took my physical well being for granted. Such a mistake on my part…sigh


  2. great essay. I am so very sorry you are not at the peak. That is hard, it is discouraging and frustrating. I know that it affects your whole being and for that I am so very sorry. Know all this because for the past 2, almost three years, hubby has not been well. It is frustrating and is a whole new ball game so to speak. Will be thinking of you today. Thanks for the post.


  3. katecrimmins says:

    I had this awakening when I had breast cancer. Once you have something, it’s never the same again. I don’t have the cancer (I hope) but I do have scar tissue from radiation that occasionally aches and I can tell when it’s going to rain. My husband had the ear infection last year and while his hearing is back, it’s not the same (although he won’t admit it). I too wish I would have celebrated my health more and I am working on appreciating how I look now rather than complain about whatever aging has happened since I was 16.


    • I’m so sorry you went through that. Can’t image that particular trial though I’ve witnessed it more than I can say. I truly have come to believe something has to be taken away before you really understand what’s important. If you knew the things I wish and long for as compared to a year ago…it’s sad Kate. If only I could go to mass and hear the music. I can’t. It sounds like I’m in a tunnel with a thousand lawn mowers going at the same time. Couldn’t see Patti Smith this year at The Met, an event I look so forward to because I knew, in that venue though small and intimate, I’d never her and may never again. It’s amazing to me how much I’ve been humbled which once again, like a thunder clap, reminds me…God always has the last say. I appreciate what you wrote. Candor..the hardest virtue.


      • katecrimmins says:

        I can understand. My husband says he hears “chirping” in his ears all the time. He too has stopped getting excited about concerts although he is going to attend on in December — his first since he got the ear thing last November. He bought a headset to listen to the TV and that has helped. Very humbling.


      • He may have a little Tinnitus something I’ve become an expert on. It would help if he watched his salt, sodium and sugar. Makes it worse. I sat through the new Woody Allen film at an 11 am show with a headset, and felt like ET. I HATED IT…though I could hear.


  4. D. D. Syrdal says:

    I became more aware of all this after my motorcycle accident when my ability to walk was compromised. I find I’m a lot more patient with people who have any sort of physical hindrance now. It’s so easy to become impatient with those who aren’t as quick and agile as we are.


    • You could say that again Dame. I’m Joan of Arc out there. My heart opens like a trapdoor whenever I see anyone struggling. And I thought I was pretty compassionate before. Change…I was loose change in comparison. I still think it’s sexy to fall off a bike providing you heal, which you have…:)


  5. Patricia says:

    44 years and counting here with a “chronic” physical challenge. I don’t think it gets easier but I have adapted and complain less. I have learned that some days it is best to stay in bed or on the sofa. I try not to beat myself up about it if I miss an appointment or work or lunch with a friend. I still get angry sometimes and I still cry sometimes but then I let it go…for a time. It’s one day at a time…and truthfully one day is all we have at any one time. I am sorry you are having this difficult season in your life. Even with the difficulties there is beauty. It may be harder to see…or hear… but worth the effort. You are in my prayers. Teddy says meow.


    • Oh Patricia, did I need this this morning. I knew of your difficulties so your words are greatly felt. I have been trying to be more gentle with myself…not always easy. I’m still at the mad and angry stage with a lot of…why me…thrown in. I write a gratitude list every day as I sit in Starbucks lost in my own twice removed world, because you’re right…there is still beauty and love but one does have to search a little harder…like a flower lost in weeds. When I see Carmela in the morning with her upright tail wagging like a pendulum, so happy to see me…or when Rosie the cat gallops out when she hears my voice…the sun suddenly appearing on a windy corner…I remind myself, all is not lost…just altered and I will be alright. Thank you..Truly…thank you.


  6. Be grateful that your reaction is that your heart and eyes open in a whole new way, almost like enhancing on the good you already had within, because there is a crew of people who become mean spirited, bitter Effers because they have the slightest ailment. They can sadly only see themselves and lord knows that’s not pretty.

    Any time I have ever had a scare of some sort I would also suddenly notice every hardship case in the try-state area. I said to my husband “it’s almost like when you get a new car, one you rarely see on the road, then suddenly they’re everywhere.”

    Be well friend!


    • Thanks Top…you’re right of course. I refuse to be bitter and my anger is slowly evaporating finding the more I give and help others the less sorry I feel for myself. I’m lucky it’s not my eyes…I can write and read…I can walk…it’s just a new world of limited communication. Sometimes days go by and I haven’t spoken to a soul…my life is email and the written word which makes sense being the writer I am. I do wish others were kinder. Lost so many friends that clearly were not, and work. Illness makes people jittery, as though it were catchy. Thanks, as always, for being such a smart, sensitive, Quaking friend.


  7. micklively says:

    I’m torn between two extremes. I take my (relatively) good health for granted. I should take more exercise, drink and eat less. But I think “why worry”? The gag about the bloke whose doctor tells him “no sex, no alcolhol, 300 cals max per day, no fat, no salt, no sugar”. “Will I live longer?” he asks. “No” says the doctor “but it will feel like you have.”


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