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Woe and Joy

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

I am a reasonably healthy person. I am grateful for that every day. Especially on days when I am NOT well. There have been too many of those recently. After a recent delightful celebration, I broke out the next day with widespread red welts and itching so intense that surely Dante intended to name a circle of hell after it. The doctor recognizes it as a case of hives – such a bland name – and loads me up with antihistamines, creams and three different prescriptions. Three days later I’m itch-free. Thanks be to God and modern medicine.

As soon as that misery abates, I wake up to a blurry patch in the vision of my right eye. I’m old enough to be very familiar with floaters and the mild annoyance they can be. This is not that. As an artist and a writer, much of my life depends on my eyeballs. I track down an ophthalmologist and discover that some small blood vessels  burst in the back of my eyeball. This “vascular occlusion” has a treatment, but doctors want to make sure all my statins are in check, that my blood pressure is where it should be, that I’m not clogging up veins that could cause a LOT more “inconvenience” than a bit of blurry vision. While we check to make sure that my veins and arteries are good to go, whammo – my throat flames up, my voice drops four octaves and after days of razor blade-ish pain in my throat, kaboom – the schnozz starts producing buckets of goo and the coughing is non-stop. My stamina wanes with the coughing and hacking, but I keep my appointment for treating that mysterious eye issue. Why not add a shot in the eye to my host of gripes?

My good buddy tells me I’ve got to start taking Grandma’s Herbs.  My sister thinks its stress – and I think she’s on to something. I’m quite sure the throat and nose gombu is just a little parting gift after an adorable snuffly granddaughter’s recent visit.

I don’t like being a whiny hag on a toadstool moaning with every malady. What I want is a good night’s sleep (for once in the last three weeks), clear sinuses, the return of my voice, and a little spring back in my step.

Now having completed this pity-party, I stand all amazed at how truly blessed I am. Overall, I have better health than most and I’ve already lived longer than many of my ancestors. I have access to better healthcare options than many countries provide. I have witnessed spiritual and medical miracles in the lives of my loved ones. I have access to a car. I have insurance. I have food. I have friends and family I love and who are fond of me.

No one is tearing my children away from me at a border. No one is thwarting my citizenship because of draconian jots and tittles in immigration loopholes. No one is calling the police about “suspicious behavior” when I walk down a street at night. I am humble. I am grateful. I have stewardships in this life. Life is holy and good. I want to be a participant in restoring every breach. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Sing, Seraphs! Sing, Poets!

About Linda Hoffman Kimball

Linda Hoffman Kimball is an artist, writer, photographer, and poet who grew up as a faithful Christian near Chicago, & joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1971 while at Wellesley College near Boston. Early on she assumed that all Latter-day Saints were articulate, inquisitive, faithful, and socially engaged since her role models in the University wards in Cambridge, MA., were. Her husband says she is “fluent, but not native” in Mormon-ese. She is a founding member of Mormon Women for Ethical Government.

2 thoughts on “Woe and Joy”

  1. Oh, I'm sorry that your mortal frame is giving you some trouble. I hope this all clears up soon. But, yes, people can respond to physical ailments in a variety of ways. While I wouldn't condemn anyone from noting pain, loss of function, and the time/money for health care, I do admire your focus on blessings, humor, and self-expression in response. All my best to you.

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