For the past week now, I’ve had a sinus infection. When I woke up feeling sick last Tuesday, I immediately tested for Covid, but it was negative. I honestly couldn’t believe it. Although I’m very grateful I’ve somehow managed to avoid Covid so far, what are the chances that someone who hasn’t been sick for ten years gets two unrelated illnesses within two months of one another during a global pandemic? What kind of ridiculous coincidence is this?
Since my symptoms felt so similar to how I felt in November, I assumed I’d be better in a few days again. I was aggravated at even that. However, now that it’s been nearly 7 days with little to no improvement, I’m starting to feel pretty silly for being upset about losing only a couple days. Apparently sinus infections last a lot longer than other colds. I’ve never had one before, so I’m at least learning a lot. I have a whole new appreciation for the people I’ve known who seem to get them all the time. I had no idea they were suffering so much. I feel even worse, because for some reason, I always naively assumed a sinus infection was less serious than a cold or flu.
The only really good thing about being sick is it makes you so much more appreciative of being healthy. It’s wild to realize I took those ten years of good health for granted so easily. Even after having quite a lot of sicknesses as a child, I hadn’t spent hardly one moment being grateful for a decade of impeccable health. And mixed within my anxious fears about how much longer I’ll feel sick and if I’ll need to end up going to the doctor’s for an antibiotic to get better is a tearful, humbling sense of gratitude. At least I can be fairly certain that I will ultimately feel better again. Now that is something to be thankful for.
There are so many people who have never known a day free from physical discomfort or illness. There are so many people every day that get sick and live with the knowledge that they won’t get better again. And despite how upset I am by the idea that I may have to go see a doctor, I’m so glad that I am able to do that if I need to. So many people don’t have access to even the most basic care. There weren’t even antibiotics a little over a hundred years ago. And soon enough, due to egregious overuse in factory farms, they will not work anymore.
So even though I’m frustrated and tired and uncomfortable, this illness has still given me something precious: perspective. It could be so much worse. It is so much worse for millions of people in this world. And one day when I get sick, I won’t have even a hope of getting better. For these reasons and many more, I am so grateful. I am so grateful for this body, for access to medical care, for medical science, and for all the countless moments free from pain and discomfort that I’ve already been able to enjoy.