Over the last two weeks, thanks to a trip a waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells, I’ve been suffering with a severe and aggressive case of viral conjunctivitis. My right eye was scarlet red, leaky, painful, and swollen. I looked like the losing side of a boxing match and it wasn’t pretty.
Besides looking like a mess, I felt like a mess. The virus set off my lymph nodes all down the right side of my head which made me ache everywhere in my head and neck. I could barely sleep. I was treated, and treated myself like a leper, washing constantly so not to pass in this illness to anyone else. Goodness, I even had a system for tissues and which hand touched which eye, so I didn’t cross-contaminate myself. And even though I was super careful, it crossed to my good eye (though not as severely) and both eyes were blurry even with my glasses on. I felt like a walking bomb of germs with a hair trigger setting. To say I was miserable, was a mild description… I was downright awful!
Though the whole time I had to keep going for my family’s sake. My son was recovering from a tonsillectomy and his well being always comes before mine. Once he was settled, then I could take care of myself. But while all this was going on, no matter how pathetic I felt about myself, I tried to pick myself up by saying, “This is nothing compared to what some people have.”
I was brought to a place of humbling understanding thinking about how many people out there have illnesses completely worse? How many people are born with complication and deformities they won’t get rid of in two weeks? These people suffer ten times more than I did and for far greater a time. My stupid eye virus is nothing in the scheme of things.
I felt a sympathy for those with a live-life need for medical attention. If my eye was as miserable as it was, imagine what it’s like to live with Apert Syndrome. The little girl I raised money for this past summer, Hannah “the Warrior Princess” Donnelly, had this affliction. She’s disfigured, breathes with the help of a ventilator, and is constantly in the hospital. If she gets so much as a cold, she’s in a life or death situation. Yet, this is her life, she makes the best of it the best she knows how, and she has a smile in every photo I see of her. Her outlook is so beautiful and yet, here I was sobbing because I looked like (and felt) Rocky Balboa for a couple weeks.
Thinking this way put things into perspective for me. It helped me cope and get through this hiccup, because illness has a way of making one feel pathetic and weak. What I was able to do instead of continuing that downward-spiral thinking was pray for those who have illnesses and disabilities worse than I did. I prayed for their peace, for their mental and physical state, and made sure to check in on them. Even if you, the reader, aren’t religious, by simply reaching out to those with critical needs you’re giving them support and acknowledgement. Perhaps they had been in a bad place mentally and your words hit at the right time. No matter what the situation, hearing from a friend is always a good thing.