van gogh

I believe it’s crucial to discern and then appreciate the small things in life that have unconscious significance; such as being able to wash your hair and get both of your ears wet.

Yesterday I received a thumbs-up from my plastic surgeon at Vanderbilt Medical Center regarding some work he performed on my left ear this summer. For most of July I had to wear bandages over my ear and found showering quite difficult and swimming virtually impossible. I’ve also been avoiding my hair dresser, along with any other people who might accidentally touch my ear or spray something inside of it.

The ear still looks purplish and you can see where the skin grafts took place, but most of the time now I forget that there’s anything “special” about it as I go about my days. Each time I wash my hair, though, I catch myself being grateful that I can actually do that again. I had a similar feeling a few years back after I broke and separated my right pinkie toe and couldn’t wear normal shoes for almost a month and took only baths for two weeks.

Those with chronic infirmities bemoan the loss of activities of daily living (commonly called ADLs), I’m sure, and I’ve gotten a small dose of that loss that’s increased my empathy for such folks. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

What “small things,” that are actually a big deal, do you feel grateful for today?