It was a normal morning and I was about to walk inside after checking the garden. Then it happened. I slipped on our rain soaked deck. Result: great pain, ER, x-rays, broken arm at elbow, surgery, hospitalization, continued pain. 12 days later; I’m now recovering. I’ve had plenty of down time to ponder what I’ve been learning about taking my health for granted and letting go of good health – at least for a time. This will be short because I can only type with my non-dominant left hand.


1. Physical (also emotional, mental, or spiritual) health trumps all other tasks I have to do.
2. Be grateful. This may sound like a contradiction, but after I let go of my pity party, it helped to put my accident into perspective.

  • Yes, this is painful and inconvenient; but not life threatening – others have terminal cancer, permanent disabilities, etc.
  • I live in a 1st world country – where there are ER’s, competent medical staff nearby, etc.
  • I have health insurance.
  • I have a support system (family, friends, community)

3. Depend on others. This can feel weak and embarrassing, but perhaps that’s a virtue I’m being called to at this moment.
4. What is really essential? Sometimes I (and perhaps other type A personalities) think we are indispensable. This has forced me to reevaluate what’s really important.
5. Learn some new things. For example, my husband, kids, and body have forced me to learn

  • “Sticky keys” – for making capital letters in emails
  • Media that I haven’t taken time for (movies, TV programs, pod casts, YouTube videos). I’m becoming more tuned in to pop culture thanks to our kids’ media recommendations.
  • Importance of bowel movements.

6. Be an advocate. I always thought I was a compassionate person, but now I identify more deeply with other’s pain, limitations, etc. Compassion is good, but ideally it moves us beyond identifying with another’s pain to helping to decrease or prevent it.
7. Learn to accept uncertainty in life. It beats trying to control the uncontrollable.
8. A window into the future;
I am living through this; but I won’t live forever. Will I be able to face death gracefully whenever it comes?
9. Let it be. It’s not all about me. I don’t have to save the world. I just have to be a decent me and love others. Whatever happens; it’ll be OK.

I don’t wish bad health or an accident on anyone – But wait! Maybe I do. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way. This has slowed me down, but it has taught me a lot.

I’m sure many readers have dealt with health challenges. Please share what you have learned.