I am grateful for many things, but right at this moment I am most grateful over my health.
When I was in sixth grade, I missed over a month of school. What first started as a regular cold/flu just progressed to a hospitalization episode. My mom and little sister were off visiting my abuelitos in Mexico; it was possibly one of the few times my older sister and I stayed behind with my dad. When the Robitussin , Vicks and caldito de pollo did nothing to heal me back to strength, my dad took me to the doctor; and when that didn’t seem to do the trick, he desperately searched for answers with my tias. They told him, “Horita la llevamos con alguien”/ “We’ll take her somewhere.”
I still recall lying on some bed in some random curandera’s [healer’s] home. It was the first time I witnessed someone light a match in a cup and then proceed to place it on my chest. My eyes must have been at the brink of popping out of my head. “Are you crazy?!” was what I repeated in my head while my heartbeat raced faster than most marathon runners. To my disbelief but relief, it did not hurt. For sure I thought I’d have burn marks. None.
Sadly though, my body needed more than a curandera. After week three of non-stop coughing and my energy getting lower by the minute my dad rushed me to the children’s hospital. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. I was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Four years later as a sophomore I had my second scare. I still remember how hard I had worked to prep for our first high school Spring musical. It didn’t matter though, not to my dance teacher either. She was the least empathetic to my health and was most disappointed that this little flamingo would be missing from the lineup.
I don’t recall how long it took me to recover that time, but I’m here telling you about most of my health scares, so I’m most grateful that my body has been able fight it through. Despite the number of years since I was first hospitalized, the trauma still is very much imprinted in me. They say that the body keeps score of traumatic events and this has been one of mine.
I would be lying if I was not internally panicking in 2020 when COVID-19 ran rampage. I had to work through those internal thoughts and pray that while I was in the frontline serving marginalized families, that I would not fall ill.
It’s almost the end of 2021 and of course I had to get sick, not COVID-19 sick (thankfully). I talked to my body in every kind way I could. You’re not 10. You’re not getting pneumonia. It was also the first time that I had to go through the healing alone. No mom, dad or sister to fetch another cup of tea or prepare me another warm meal. It truly sucks when you’re already feeling low and to top it off alone. Now that I’m feeling about 80% better I stop and think about all those that had to quarantine alone. All those individuals that took their last breath alone.
May this season remind us that our health (physical, emotional and mental) should be our priority day in and day out.