Today I turn “60”. It’s a day that starts like many days, I shower, pour myself a cup of coffee and walk into our screened-in porch. This first hour has always been my favorite. My wife Val joins me to listen to birds, smell air and plan our day. I take that first sip of coffee, my shadow Bleu lies on my feet so he knows when I’m on to something else.
Today I am filled with gratitude. Today I remember we are given just that….today, this moment. Last Wednesday after feeling extremely weak and fatigued for several weeks, I made a doctor’s appointment and went for a blood test. That night our doctor called to tell us that my hemoglobin count was 5.6. Six months ago it was 13.9. “You need a blood transfusion,” he explained. “Usually anyone below 8 is a candidate. Please go first thing in the morning.”
I was stunned. A blood transfusion? Mmmm, must be serious. We went to the hospital the next morning and were greeted swiftly, by caring staff (thanks to our Dr.’s order). Within 5 minutes I was having a electrocardiogram and was set up with an IV. I was receiving blood within 90 minutes and admitted. I don’t know what I thought; fuel me up and let me go? After 2 days in the hospital, a CAT scan and 4 units of blood I was released with out patient tests all this week. The doctors said, “Do you realize how lucky you are? How serious this was?” No. I didn’t.
What I did realize was I felt overwhelmed by the concern of others. Phone calls exchanged, family and friends notified, we felt supported from the very beginning. Val, besides doing the work of two on our farm, was right there whenever needed without complaint, offering her usual humor and love. The hospital staff couldn’t have been kinder, nor my doctors and nurses more competent. I truly felt in good hands. While I was resting at home, Val went to market on Saturday as scheduled and was welcomed with not only concern for us, but able hands. Vendors helped unload our van and set up; customers came to help behind the counter. Hugs were exchanged, additional help offered and soon a card was circulated and well wishes written for delivery. Small gifts were offered, a quart of perfect Michigan strawberries, Michigan apples, the best granola ever made, baked goods, fresh salsa and bread. When Val returned home that afternoon and delivered the gifts and well wishes, I was totally humbled. I read the card out loud to Val with a trembling voice and tears of joy running down my face. Our farmer’s market was not only a business, but a community of caring people! Love washed over me and I have not been the same since.
We all go through difficult traumatic times, and isn’t the burden always lifted by kindness? What if each of us every day remembered those known and unknown who struggle in their lives and offered what we could. A card, phone call, prayer, a moment of remembrance; I can’t help but feel how much difference it would make not only for the person experiencing hardship but for the heart within each of us. May the circle remain unbroken.
So no matter what the test results may bring, we are buoyed by the concern, prayers and goodwill of others sent our way. It is a powerful drug.
“Love is a fruit in season at all times……”