As we grow older and wiser, we tend to realize what matters most in life. And one of the things we tend to take for granted and suffer most as a result of its loss is our health. I believe that many of us realize its value only when we lose it. Sometimes, no amount of money is enough to replace it. When we lose our health, nothing around us pleases us. Only when we are healthy do we get to enjoy the simple pleasures of life like eating whatever food comes to our mind, walk around anywhere we would like to, spend quality time with our loved ones, and enjoy the simple pleasure of a peaceful sleep at night.
How many of us have spent almost the entire night awake and in pain because of a disease that won’t let us enjoy a peaceful night of sleep? Unfortunately, for many of us, only a sleepless night will make us realize the value of a peaceful night of sleep. How many of you have thought how gifted one is just for being able to easily breath the oxygen that has been given to us for free? In my view, only those who lost their capacity to breath due to respiratory problems know the value of our lungs. Have you ever imagined the possibility of turning blind the next minute as a result of an unfortunate event? Just the thought of it scares me and makes me realize how lucky I am to be able to see all of the beauties of this world. How about the possibility of losing your ability to walk as a result of an accident? Sometimes, just the thought of such a possibility is enough for me to appreciate at least for a minute the fact that I am a healthy person.
Although each of us know that the greatest gift that is given to us is our health, many of us do not do much to take care of it. Think for instance about how most of us drive our cars. Sometimes, looking that the crazy driving behaviors in our city, I get the feeling that we consider ourselves to be unbreakable and immortals. Although we know that the consumption of certain substances have detrimental effects on our health, somehow, we succeed in ignoring these effects until these are apparent.
The past weekend I went to visit at Yekatit 12 hospital a patient who was a victim of a car accident. The girl was hit by a reckless driver and is forced to lose one of her legs because of an infection that got worse after the accident. She is now about to lose the second leg because the infection in the other leg was also serious. The visit at the hospital made me think how, not only one can be careless about own’s health but also about others’. The visit at the hospital was also what triggered by thoughts about the pricelessness of our health. No wonder do we say ‘ Tena yistelegn’ in Amharic whenever we greet each other. This literally translates to ‘May you have health’ in English. What can one possibly wish for above anything else other than physical and mental health? I would say nothing. I strongly believe that someone who is healthy can never really be poor. Thinking about the pain that people on kidney and heart transplant lists suffer, you realize that you cannot put a price tag on our hearts and kidneys because these are priceless. So, as long as we have our health, we are rich.