Yesterday was my birthday, and such milestones always cause a little reflection. I've been flooded with the sweet wishes from friends, old and new, and from family members flung across the nation, and my heart is pretty full today.
It was a strange birthday, spent in large part, at the ER. Tom had a pain in his calf and the doctors felt he should have an ultrasound to check for blood clots. He's had some pretty big scares in the past with his heart. We were there for six and a half hours, spent primarily in the lobby because every triage and treatment room was filled with a flood of incoming patients. It was pretty crazy.
We were never terribly afraid. Caution was more our state of mind, but these little moments make you pause and reflect on all the things that overwhelm your gratitude. And since my birthday is also that of the great American humorist, Erma Bombeck, I offer my grateful wisdom in our combined behalf.
I frequently curse technology, but yesterday I was certainly grateful for it. During the long wait I was grateful we could allay loved ones fears without having to traipse around looking for quarters and phone booths. When the lobby TV started a run of afternoon soap operas, and after Tom and I had tired of talking in hushed tones, we were grateful for games on our phones that added a little diversion.
I'm grateful for reading material in all its forms. I saw a Kindle, magazines and books. I had five novels on my netbook. I was glad to see so many people engaged in reading something.
I'm grateful for vending machines when I didn't dare leave for the cafeteria. After four hours, a pretzel is a glorious thing.
I'm so grateful for acts of kindness. I saw adult children bringing in their elderly parents, and friends bringing in aged neighbors whose children weren't available. I saw blankets being tucked in around frail limbs, soft touches, whispered words of encouragement, and so many reassuring smiles. I saw strangers show support to one another with a smile, a hand when needed, or with entertainment for a small child when a worried parent was spent.
I saw frazzled caregivers repeatedly apologize for long waits, and face fearful and sometimes disgruntled families with smiles and courtesy.
I'm grateful that medical care is so readily available. Even with the long wait, I knew if an emergency happened, I was near help.
I'm grateful for random acts of mercy, like a tank of gas that made it possible to just go without another complication, for change in my pockets for the vending machine, for clear roads and a safe return home when the storm began. For insurance, and the means to pay the co-pays.
I'm grateful for great kids who worry a bit much over us. I'm thankful for the security that brings, and for the strength it creates.
I'm grateful for friends who called, emailed, texted, and Facebooked their care. What a flood of support we felt, and how such things help.
I'm grateful for a restaurant and a hot meal I didn't have to prepare on a day when I was pretty spent.
I'm grateful for a home to return to and a bed to climb into, and a husband still beside me.
I'm grateful for prayers, even quick ones uttered in hurried moments that are received by an understanding Heavenly Father. I'm grateful for scriptures that when tucked into a purse, provide comfort and relief.
Today things are pretty much back to normal. I'm a day older, Tom has a little limp, we have snow on the ground which he couldn't resist climbing on his tractor to plow away. I hope I remember how sweet little things are, and remember to be grateful for them.
Time to shovel. Thanks for listening.