February 10, 2014

Just One Little Can

It is amazing what power exists in one small can.

Two weekends ago I had an experience I have never had before: food poisoning. I will spare you any of the details, but it was not pleasant. We believe a can of tuna fish that made up part of my dinner on Friday evening was the culprit. I have never had anything come upon me so quickly and violently.

By Sunday afternoon I began to eat some solid foods again, if dry toast, jello, and broth constitute solid food. On Sunday evening I allowed myself a baked potato with just a hint of butter. Monday morning, after sleeping almost 10 hours, I felt almost human again.

A side benefit: in 48 hours I lost almost 6 pounds. As a diet I wouldn't recommend it, but the body is an amazing machine that rids itself of whatever is causing problems as quickly and efficiently as it does.

Once again, this lost weekend impressed upon me the absolute blessing good health is to my satisfying retirement. It is almost a cliché that you don't realize what feeling good is, until you don't. To not feel your stomach doing its job or to not feel too weak to get out of bed, are too easily taken for granted when healthy. Granted, at almost 65 I have the usual aches and pains that come with age, but nothing significant. I have no issues that restrict my ability to go about my daily life pretty much as I see fit.

Experiences like this past weekend make me appreciate that blessing. I am well aware that too many people, including lots of readers of this blog, have ongoing physical limitations that make each day a push through their infirmities. They do it because they choose to live as fully as possible and fight against the pain and problems. I hope that as I begin to face the health complications that are waiting for me I can show the same grace and determination that these folks do.

Finally, and just as important as the slap of health reality this episode gave me, was a fresh appreciation for the incredible woman who is sharing my life. Betty did things to help after some of my more unpleasant attacks that I am not sure I could have done, at least not with the concern, and love, and compassion she exhibited. She immediately put her own needs aside, getting as little sleep as I did during the worst times and ministering to me.

I am not sure how a small post on food poisoning turned into a love letter for my wife, but that was the end result. She has her 60th birthday on Valentine's Day (so appropriate!). My goal is to surprise her with a little something special to help show her how much I love her. I will be happy to spend the time with her, watching her enjoy the activity I have found and us simply being together.

Just one little can: with a powerful result in two remarkably different ways. Isn't it amazing how life gives us so much to learn from even the simplest event?


No thanks. I'll pass



32 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your food poisoning! It is pretty nasty, and hits hard and fast. When we become ill, it does have that effect of helping us to appreciate our good health.

    I know several people with health/physical limitations, who are still able to muster grace and acceptance for things that they are not able to change. Would I be as gracious with a permanent health problem that limits my ability to do what I want, when I want? I hope so. For those of us with high energy lifestyles and strong streaks of independence, it will be a challenge.

    I'm attaching a link that I think that you and your readers will find heartwarming. When I read stories like this, I'm reminded of all that I have to be thankful for. Throughout this young man's journey, he remained optimistic and never asked "why me?".

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/02/cny_man_shares_journey_of_survival_after_3_kidney_transplants_in_25_years.html#incart_m-rpt-2

    Glad to hear you have recovered Bob! The love and support of a spouse goes a long way to help us through life's journey.

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    1. Heavens: 4 different kidneys and a life-threatening infection. That guy has an amazing story. Clearly God has him picked for a special task that isn't complete yet.

      Would I be gracious with a serious health limitation? I would hope so, but I'm not sure any of us know unless we are in that position.

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  2. Hi Bob, sorry to hear of your problems. I have eaten thousands of cans of tuna with no ill effects. Don't give up on that fish. It is usually quite healthy (ha). Lost six pounds! You must have been pretty severely dehydrated; I'm sure you gained most of that back already.

    Yeah, I am one of those readers who battles one thing or another on a daily basis. It makes me appreciate the good days all the more. I would hate to think about going through what you did without someone there to "take care" of me. She is a blessing to you as my wife is a blessing to me.

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    1. Up until the "incident" I ate 2-3 cans of tuna a week. I am sure I will start up again, but not quite yet. Yes, I have gained back most of that weight.

      People do it everyday, but without Betty by my side during this it would have been a much bigger struggle. She says moms are built to handle the messy/gross side of things - probably several years of diapers and sick infants does its job. But, whatever the case, thank God for her.

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  3. Oh, how I know what you mean, how we take our health for granted right up until the moment we are laid low by one thing or another -- and there are so many things that can go wring, right when we least expect them. (I avoid Indian food for the same reason you will now probably avoid tuna; one bad experience can put you off something for a while).) Anyway, glad to know you're back on your feet. And thanks for sparing us the details!

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    1. A good friend was sickened by a batch of green chile chicken enchiladas and couldn't face them again for a few years! I will probably not wait that long for tuna, but none for the rest of this month!

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  4. I'm glad you are better! What an ordeal food poisoning is! I tasted the warmth of Mexico and got a case of Montezuma's revenge. Hope never to go through that again!

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    1. Several years ago I was in Mexico City on a mission trip. I was very, very careful about only drinking bottled water, washing my hands a lot, etc.

      On the last night in town, I had a Caesar Salad and got sick the next morning. Why? The lettuce had been washed in local water. I was so careful for the better part of a week, but one slip up cost me.

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  5. I've had food poisoning and it's not pretty. I got it at the Getty, in LA, of all places. We had Salad Nicoise for lunch there and apparently that tuna was bad, too. It was awful to be visiting my sister-in-law and be so sick for a couple of days.
    As love letters go...this is pretty cool. You never know what is going to remind of you of why you love someone. Even if it's holding your head up while you...well anyway. Glad you're better!
    b

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    1. The Getty, really? Such a stunning building and neat place to visit.

      See..tuna is evil. No, it is quite good for us but has the potential to do us in. I love tuna melt sandwichs, just not for awhile.

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  6. Scary stuff - and so quick! There is nothing like losing something - even temporarily - to remind you how important it is! I started blogging a few years ago for that very reason. It has been an interesting and exciting journey! Thanks for getting that message out to the 60+ community once again. My blog, Journey to Health, talks about that journey - which never ends, by the way! At least not on this earth! http://100gone.blogspot.ca/

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    1. The proverbial blink of an eye (or bite of the wrong food) can change everything. It feels so good to not even know my stomach is there!

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  7. Bob - Everything you say is so true...especially the part about appreciating your spouse at the times when we are not at our best. I also stand in awe of the miracle of the human body's ability to recover from illness as well as the resilience of the human spirit in the face of health adversity.
    Don

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    1. I'm afraid the part about "in sickness" gets forgotten too often. It is easy to love someone "in health." The real test is the commitment when the sickness part rears its ugly head.

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  8. What a great story Bob. You can take even a moment we all dislike (...dislike a great deal) and turn it into a love letter. How long have you and Betty been married? The growing old tough times--do cause some unique reflections. But to "see" a blessing from this incident--requires talent. You are a very engaging writer and I enjoy your posts--when I can get at them. Google+ is an amazing/connecting tool.

    Just a quick side note. My sister is seriously disabled and has struggled with major health issues her whole life. Thirty years ago, she met, feel in love with and married a young man who has never been able to walk. I have been blessed to watch these two--who could now complain as the cards they were dealt with as children--but they almost never do. What an inspiration it I to be so close to Jo and Chris and watch how love really works. They sure could complain--but they never do.

    Just a quick note--I have been friends with the "Sorry Charlie--Sunkist Tuna" guy who developed that iconic ad years ago. We both live in Utah Valley--so if you are ever traveling through---be sure to stop by and I will introduce you to him. Your talents are on the opposite ends of the spectrum---but from what I have seen of "talent" I think you would enjoy meeting. Oh... and by the way--he also developed SMOKEY BEAR as well. To be able to write one sentence that has captured so many peoples mind... ONLY YOU...CAN PREVENT... catch you later. You keep writing---I'll keep reading and enjoying. Lewis R.

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    1. We will have our 36th anniversary this June. My parents made 63 years together so I have a lofty goal to shoot for.

      The story about your sister and her husband is a true testament to the power of love. Too often our minor bumps in the road are made out to be much deeper and dangerous than they really are. When compared to others with really serious challenges, our grips sound silly.

      The tuna that caused my problem wasn't Sunkist. Your friend can rest easy!

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  9. I have gotten turistas and/or food poisoning at the Club Med in Guyamas, on cruise ships, and in local restaurants!! In Mexico, salads seem to be the culprit for sure!

    Locally, well, we don't go out to eat all that often so not a big problem!l

    Mexico:It is definitely the SALAD!! When I ate in local restuarants, local food,I was great.One night, fancier place with salad before the meal= sick sick sick!!

    My husband will eat anything that is not totally green,from the back of the refrig.. I have to watch him!

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    1. Yep, it was the fancy last night meal in Mexico City with the salad...either the water used to rinse the lettuce or the raw egg added to the dressing....big mistake!

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  10. Not fun! And I must ask - are you sure it was the tuna and not possibly mayo, if you added it, that may have been left out to long? My one and only attack of food poisoning was due to mayo on a sandwich I left out for too long. Would hate to see a reoccurrence if so!

    Lovely that you found a gift within unpleasant circumstances. It's usually there, if we allow ourselves to be open to it.

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    1. The mayo was used before and after, so I am afraid that tuna is going to take the fall.

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  11. Congratulations on a recovery and a loving relationship. Happy Valentine's day.

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  12. Bob, I don't envy you. Had it once after eating chitlins that a friend's wife said she would cook, many years ago. She did not know they had to be cleaned a certain way; I found out much too late, and you can imagine the consequences.
    Congratulations on your recovery, and congratulations also to Betty's upcoming 60th. Hit that milestone in December myself. Never noticed, quite frankly, even though the wife tried to make me. It's just an age - no big thing.

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    1. You mean there is a right way to prepare a pig's small intestines?

      I see 65 as a milestone in a few months and Betty sees 60 as important. But, I pretty much ignore birthdays, too, when I can.

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  13. Glad you have recovered!
    Sometimes it is the little things that make you appreciate all that you have :)
    Happy Birthday Betty!

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    1. Isn't it the little things that seem to be the most important in building a joyful life?

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  14. Hi Bob,

    Awful experience, isn't it? Had it happen to me three times (twice on business trips.) First you think you might die, then you are afraid you might not. For me, 24 hours of pure misery.

    Glad to hear all is well, and Happy Birthday to your wife. My bride of 45 years also has a Valentine's day birthday. Something special about that, right?

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    1. Another Valentine's birthday! That does make her special.

      Surprisingly, in all the years and all the miles of business travel I spent some unhappy days in hotel rooms with colds or the flu, but never the violence of food poisoning.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I'm glad to read that Art is doing well after his episode of a few weeks ago. We all have to watch out for each other.

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  16. I'm glad that you're better. Happy Upcoming Birthday to Betty!

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  17. Food poisoning and other dysentery diseases need to be taken seriously. There can be some serious complications. ~25 yrs ago I developed Reiter's Syndrome (an autoimmune disease) after a salmonella infection. Like Daryl said in his post, at first you're afraid you're going to die then you're afraid you won't! I still deal with the after affects of the arthritis from that syndrome. What a gift to have a loving partner to minister to you in your illness. I'm reminded of the 50/50 marriage proposition that is 90/10 some days. Let's celebrate love every day, not just on Valentine's Day.

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