When we are well we take our health for granted, but there is so much going on inside our bodies that it’s almost a surprise that we manage to lever ourselves upright each morning. And sometimes we take advantage of the multitude of sickness which can envelop our beings with pestilence and plague, though more often with something rather more trivial.
British men (and, in these times of equality, perhaps women too) suffer from the all-defeating manflu, a malady known to reduce the strongest to his bed. Perhaps keen to get in on the act are the French who have a recognised complaint of “heavy legs“, and indeed this was hitherto recognised by insurance companies and a myriad of potions made available for their remedy. The Italians, equally keen on mystery illnesses, are afflicted by “a hit of air” – or sitting in a draught as we might call it – but it seems that the seriousness of the injury cannot be understated.
But hypochondria (any my sense of humour) aside, there are others who are suddenly dropped with terrifically bad news. In the last week or so one of my friends has learned of cancer returning after being, only recently, given the all clear. Today I heard that a close friend of a friend has breast cancer. And earlier in the year another friend received a terminal diagnosis with an immune system problem.
Often we don’t know what to say or do, partly through confused embarrassment and perhaps partly from misplaced caution. I’ve found that being honest, asking the tough questions that no-one else will ask, and just staying in touch has helped my friends – and when I was a bit poorly these were the actions I valued the most.
Have a laugh at the amusing ailments, but likewise spare a thought for those with (what might be) hidden, but life-changing problems.