Today I went for a follow-up doctor’s appointment after a barrage of tests which the Australian Government insists we all do once we reach our half-century. I won’t list all the invasive and demeaning things I have been through, since they are all quite trivial and nothing close to the horrors of chemotherapy or other painful procedures which many people must endure on a regular basis. Suffice to say that my doctor, who is of a similar age, took great pleasure in informing me that I was one of the healthiest 51-year-old women she had ever seen!
Now this didn’t really come as a surprise to me, since a few years ago I went to a naturopath who told me that I had a physiological age of 29. Well, how about that? The trouble is that I have been plagued with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and severe migraines for most of my life, which has left me totally and utterly without enthusiasm for my 29-year-old life. I have dutifully followed all the recommendations: eat healthily, exercise regularly, moderate alcohol intake, blah, blah, blah, all to no psychological benefit. Were it not for my parents, who are also alarmingly healthy and made me promise, after a suicide attempt in 2003, that I wouldn’t try that again until after they’re gone, I would happily flick the imaginary off-switch at the first available moment.
Yesterday I finished reading “The Apple Tree” by Linda Petersen, who blogs at Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog. This is a wonderful memoir of the trials, tribulations and many joys of bringing up children who society sees as less than perfect, and helping them to turn themselves into happy and successful adults. Ever since I dissolved into tears on discovering I was at its beautiful end, I have been re-examining my own level of ingratitude. However, try as I might, I cannot bring myself to look forward to tomorrow.
So, how ungrateful am I? Yes, I have been told so all my life, and will happily take it on the chin. I have a body which is ready and waiting to spend another 50 years gallivanting about and enjoying life, so I send this message out in the vain hope that someone has discovered a way to transplant the happy and optimistic mind of someone with a terminal illness or restrictive disability into this able vessel. When we own a used car, it is invariably either the engine or the body which gives out first, and it’s relatively simple to buy a reconditioned engine and insert it into a rust-free body, or vice versa.
It’s a great shame we haven’t yet developed this technology for humans too, since being able to give a sick or disabled person a fully-functioning body might make me feel slightly less ungrateful. I’m yours, whoever claims me first! In the meantime, I will keep writing my serial (if I manage to get through the censorship issue my self-publishing company has recently raised), since my protagonist is also “terminally ungrateful” despite being extraordinarily blessed. Did he coin that phrase first, or did I?
Thanks for reading!