Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good health is a gift

I had a routine checkup today with my doc to renew a few of my maintenance medicines. As I sat in the waiting room, an older gentleman sat down a few spaces from me and started talking to a woman across the way. She seemed to get very interested in a six-month old copy of Southern Living. 
He kept talking to anyone within earshot, scanning the room for anyone who'd listen. I'd been expecting an email from a client and had just punched the fetch button when I realized no one was listening to him.
I put my phone back into my pocket and turned to him. It seemed he needed someone to listen, so I did.
He reeled off an inventory of ailment that he'd had over the last few years. Some were very serious. 
He tentatively asked why I was seeing the doctor, and I sheepishly told him it was a routine checkup and that I had no major health problems.
He looked thoughtful for a few moments before saying that he'd enjoyed good health for most of his life, but then things went south. I think talking about it made him feel a little better.
The nurse stepped to the waiting room door and called my name. I told the guy I enjoyed talking to him and to take care of himself. He said he would, but as I walked away he called after me to say thanks for listening.
I heard him say  as I walked away, "
be grateful for your good health, you'll miss it when it's gone."   
I know what that man said is true. While Jilda and I are basically healthy, she's had quite a few problems the last few years.
We've never taken our health for granted. For the most part, we eaten right, do regular exercise, get plenty of sleep, and combat stress with yoga and meditation. But still things happen.
Good health is a gift, that should never be taken for granted. Just ask my waiting room friend.

I shot this photo as the early morning sun fell on two chairs on our back deck.


  1. Health is a gift that a lot of us forget until we lose it... Since I've lost the weight I treasure my health :-)

  2. Hi Rick, so true! This past year many of our family members have had health problems, makes me very grateful for health, and determined to do what I can to keep it. You also gave a gift to that gentleman, every one wants to be heard and feel valued. :-)

  3. I found this story so poignant.
    Sometimes people really need to be listened to more than anything else.
    If we can do that, as you did, then we are helping them to feel better - even if they have a serious health problem, it really helps to be understood.

    I would love to meet someone like you when I am sitting and fretting in a doctor's waiting room...I get so nervous that my blood pressure must hit the roof! *smiles*

    1. I get that way too sometimes when I see the doctor :)

  4. Anonymous12:38 PM

    He NEEDED you, Rick, & you were THERE!!

  5. It was very thoughtful of you to listen to this man. So many people have no one to talk to or share thoughts with them. My son started to visit the nursing home for the elderly behind our property when he was twelve. He would sit and listen to stories that these folks had to tell, and when he came home he would retell them to us! He learned a lot of good things from them, so it helped him as well.

    Health is a gift, one we should never take for granted because you never know what will happen tomorrow. That's why we need to live as fully as possible each day!

    1. Jodee, before my mom passed away, she was in a nursing home for a while. I went every day with few exceptions.
      I spent a lot of time talking to the residents. I also gave the ones who could still read, a copy of my book Remembering Big.
      I enjoyed talking to those people. I heard some remarkable stories.

  6. so lovely that you were there to listen to him, i'm sure it really meant a lot for him! and good health really is a gift, and most people don't realize it before it's gone:-) x

  7. These days, we're all so isolated in our own busy lives that it's sometimes startling when a stranger strikes up a conversation. This man needed someone to talk to and you were kind enough to move past the fact that he was a stranger and listen. Karma will smile on you Rick.

    Good health IS a gift that too many of us (myself included) don't always appreciate. Talking to that man was a good lesson in this.

  8. Thank you Rick. You made my day. This is an example of the true spirit of Christmas.

  9. How wonderful of you to listen to him when no one else would...sometimes all we need is a listening ear.

  10. How nice of you to take the time to listen. : )
    I thank God every day for my good health.

  11. What a kind and sensitive thing to do. Just stop and listen. Having gone through some rough times with loved ones, I am thankful every day for my good health.

  12. That's so nice of you to put aside your connection to the world and just sit and listen to this man. Obviously, he needed it. Note to self..!! Good health is a gift and blessing. Watching people I love get sick and suffer made me realize that a long, long time ago. Great post and picture.

  13. It was kind of you to give that man attention. He was in need.



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