Sometimes, You Just Need to Stop and Count Your Blessings

The past week and a half have been difficult. Even though the horror of Las Vegas didn’t directly impact me, it certainly made me pause, and certainly made the media go into it’s usual frenzy. Closer to home, I had my weekend plans go sideways, not once but twice — first we couldn’t go camping, then even the short hike I planned got scrapped. Monday of this week started with its own insanity. As I dropped off Mr. Grey at school, I looked at my calendar on my iPhone and discovered that didn’t have the free morning I thought I had, but rather had back to back meetings starting in 45 minutes. The first one was at a customer’s site. I was un-showered and unshaven. It was a mad dash, but I made it, clean and shaven. That afternoon, we discovered that my son had brought home lice, a discovery which would send me to the drug store, and result in him staying home for a few days. While these problems aren’t insurmountable, it’s felt a bit like I can’t get a break lately. In times like these I’ve learned to remind myself of the things for which I am grateful.

I am grateful for my health. Two years ago, I was convinced that my health was failing, that the downward spiral had started, and that it was irrevocable. I had pain in my right side, under my rib cage, that the doctors couldn’t diagnose. I was convinced that it was the beginning of a failing liver. Of course, I wasn’t honest with the doctors and told them that I was a “social drinker” even though I was really a blackout drunk. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Probably because they weren’t looking for the right things. I was convinced that I would be dead before my 55th birthday, which was a little over twelve years away.

I am grateful for the support of my family and friends — especially Mrs. TKD. I asked here the other night why she still loves me. Given that I was such a nightmare for so long and given that I can still be a gigantic asshole from time to time, it seems like a legitimate question. She smiled at me and joked, “it’s a habit.” Last night after a particularly difficult night with the boy, after we turned out the lights and before she started to drift off I thanked her for continuing to practice here habit of loving me.

I am grateful for the gift of music. While I don’t consider myself a musician, I do love music. When I was still drinking one of the health consequences I suffered was a temporary loss of hearing in my left ear. One day I woke up and couldn’t hear a thing out of it. It felt like it had closed up, like they do when you have a horrid head cold in the winter, but only on the left side. This loos of hearing would come and go and sometimes I couldn’t hear out of my left ear for days at a time. Sometimes it was only a few minutes. I went for hearing screening and it was confirmed that I do have some midrange frequency hearing loss, but that I wasn’t deaf in that ear. The doctors never identified this as being related to alcohol use, but again, I told them I was a “social drinker” so they had no reason to look there. I believe, however, that this was related to my alcohol abuse because since I quit drinking, I’ve never experienced this problem again. I remember distinctly being terrified that I might lose all my hearing and never be a able to listen to music again.

While the past week or so has been trying, I’m not facing the end of the world. Most of my problems are high class problems, most are first world problems — well, except for lice, lice is most definitely a third world problem. And most of my problems, even lice, are easily managed even if they may seem disastrous in the moment.

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