It was my first day back to work after being home sick for two days.
Being home sick is unfamiliar territory for me. The last time I can recall needing two days off for sickness was in the 4th or 5th grade when I had the flu.
On Thursday night my fever was gone and my stomach, while quaking, had not erupted for a few hours. Therefore, I prepared my lessons with the expectation that I would go to work the next day.
Friday morning came. I left my house, a bit unsteadily, and hoped for the best.
While I was uncertain about my health, I felt the call of responsibility. There was a lot going on at school that I needed to handle.
I found a seat on the mostly empty bus and sighed with relief. One part of my journey was done. And I had survived. The day would be okay.
Or so I told myself.
Then someone sat next to me.
Not quite newsworthy information – I know.
However, his body odor made me gag momentarily.
I counseled myself, “It’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.”
My journey continued.
Suddenly, the bus hit pothole after pothole after pothole. Were the potholes there last week, I wondered? After all, I had taken this journey each of the last few school years. Is it possible that I had not noticed the numerous potholes?
Well, I certainly did today. My belly quaked and threatened.
My heart raced and sweat formed on my forehead.
I was scared.
I took deep breaths, prayed for strength, and strove for calm.
Somehow, my stomach held, and I made it to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Once at the terminal, I made my way to the subway. While walking to the terminal, I resolved to avoid people. If it not had been the Friday before a holiday, this game of Frogger would have had a less than zero percent chance of working.
I walked carefully. All the while I was examining my surroundings like an undercover agent on security detail.
I made it to the subway. And then I continued on to school. Somehow I made it through the school day despite multiple trips to the bathroom, an inner ear issue that caused reverberation and echoing and two panic attacks.
When I reached home Friday afternoon, I collapsed on the sofa. My feelings swirled among joy, exhaustion, and relief.
As I sat there on the sofa, I thought about my day.
The sense of concern and worry I felt about my body was profound
I thanked G-d that this was a one day occurrence and with G-d’s help, I would be better soon.
But I wondered…
What about those people who live a life of infirmity? How do they cope with travel when each step is part of an unpredictable obstacle course? How do they live day by day with such uncertainty?
The overwhelming sense of vulnerability that I felt one day is a constant for them.
I simply can’t imagine it.
I hope this day will help me retain a message I’ve been told many times – appreciate your health.