I regret that it took a life-changing illness, and losing some of my privilege, for me to truly empathize with the struggles of less fortunate people. I wish I had come to this realization sooner, when I had more health and energy to help other people.
It was both a relief and a concern to find the source of the mold. The relief was knowing where it was coming from and the concern was: How the hell do I get rid of it?
When chronic illness becomes a new kind of normal, it also becomes a cruel existence, one in which pain is a constant torture and exhaustion is as frequent as breathing.
Telling myself to not take my health for granted has always been a mental game I've played, an affirmation, perhaps even a mantra that I've repeated to make myself feel better about the fact that scary stuff can happen to anybody, at any time.
I could see all kinds of things that I had missed when I was stuck in my bed. I could feel the breeze swirling around me; I could see hummingbirds buzzing around a tree branch above the roof. I didn't realize it until later, but it was the first time I had been outside in two years.