Friday, 4 September 2015

It's Different In Other Countries

I have a swollen throat this morning. It's inside my throat, probably a swollen gland near the Eustachian tube beneath my right ear. The left side was bothering my last night, now it's the right side. I'm worried that the infection which hospitalized me recently may be making a repeat performance. My brother Adam tells me that after his recent trip here he ended up with bronchitis when he got home.

As Adam noted, as we age it takes us longer to get over these kinds of things. Add to that the generalized weakness from ALS and you have perfect recipe for long, slow recovery from almost any illness. Once again I have come to realize that ALS does not give me a free pass on the rest of life. The aches and pains of aging, the general joint trouble from a body well used over the years, life's illnesses and opportunistic infections; I am just as prone to these as any other person of my vintage.

On the other hand, I continue to be grateful for the care that I get, both from the medical system here in Canada, and from my family and friends. This morning the Home Care worker came and helped me with my shower, then did my Range of Motion exercises. As she was stretching my body, ensuring that my limbs were limber, she talked about her life in India as a young woman. She was a nurse back home, a somewhat different role than nurses here in Canada.

Her most powerful observation was that there was nobody, nor any system, to help care for aging or sick family members in India. It was up to children to care for their parents, brothers to care for sisters, wives to care for husbands, all unaided by the kinds of care systems we take for granted here in Canada. She talked for a while about how our system in Canada was so much better than that in India, especially for those who come from a poor background.

I hurt again today. My arms hurt. My fingers hurt. My legs hurt. My throat hurts. But none of that really matters, and the pain is mild compared to what I have been through in the past. What really matters is that I don't feel this pain alone. I don't carry this load by myself. I don't know what the future holds, but regardless of how I might feel, I am grateful for the present.

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