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24 October 2014

(After a slight hiatus) Friday question from the Book of Questions For what in your life do you feel the most grateful?
I have to say this is a hard question for me, as I feel incredibly fortunate for a lot of things in my life. But I think I'd say I'm most grateful to be married to my Bear.
posted by bearwife 24 October | 14:42
My health.

I try to take care of myself, to eat properly, to exercise, to avoid stress - because if I became ill or disabled there'd be nobody to take care of me. So it's important to try to maintain my health as much as I can. Compared with many people in their mid-50s, I'm in pretty good shape, I think.

I had flu at the start of the year - proper flu, that someone at work brought back with her from Uganda, a strain impervious to the flu vaccine I'd had - and it wiped me out for weeks. There were a few days when I could barely get out of bed to get to the bathroom. I remember one day in particular I was lying in bed, bathed in sweat, and wanting more than anything in the world a cup of rooibos tea. But there was nobody to make it for me, and I was too ill to crawl out of bed. It was a fucking miserable time.

Of course, it's not possible to eliminate the risk of accident, or to know if there are any underlying health issues I'm unaware of, waiting to attack when I least expect them to. But I'm lucky that I'm healthy and that, for the most part, I enjoy doing the things I need to do to stay that way.
posted by Senyar 24 October | 16:41
My excellent family. I really lucked out there.
posted by Miko 24 October | 17:23
My family! Particularly my children.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 24 October | 18:43
Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

Looking back on my life, I can't come up with a single other life factor or anything I actually did that would have ensured my current survival and relative comfort.
posted by oneswellfoop 24 October | 18:59
My education, which was, IMO, a consequence of being lucky enough to be born in a country with a solid social safety net.

I grew up poor. Like, not knowing what we could eat for dinner, couldn't afford to put gas in a car (not that we had one), government housing kind of poor. It wasn't an impediment to me getting an excellent university education however, because of university public funding. I remember my first year's fees added up to something like $900, which I paid for with the supermarket job I'd had since I was 15.

Moreover, I got a student allowance to attend university, because my mother was too poor to pay for stuff like books etc. So I got a little every month (something like $500?) which covered stuff like that.

Because of that (I was the first person in my extended family to attend university) I got into graduate school, got a PhD, and ended up in the USA doing science. Education opened up all the doors that allowed me to travel, to meet people well outside my socioeconomic class, to become a well-rounded person.

Twenty years ago I never would have dreamed I would own a home in New York City, and have a life where I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want. Education. Yep.
posted by gaspode 24 October | 21:25
Living in a developed world in this time period. Things could be better but they could be so much worse (e.g., Jim Crow laws, the kidnapped Nigerian girls). It's allowed me to live in an supportive environment and get an education, buy a house, have my daughter and not have too much anxiety about the environment she'll have to grow up in.
posted by bluesapphires 25 October | 05:55
My husband and kids.
posted by amro 25 October | 06:34
I have a 2 month old grandson, am living with my son, daughter-in-law, and sweet baby boy for several months to help out. Grateful that he and his Mom came through delivery safely, that his parents are doing a terrific job. The smile of recognition from a baby is unbelievably sweet.
posted by theora55 25 October | 10:38
I'm thankful for the life I once lead: sharing unconditional love with an awesome person.
posted by mightshould 26 October | 17:05
Right now, free high quality health care. Last night, my youngest daughter took an overdose of Paracetomol and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. Dealing with this and the aftermath is nothing to be grateful for, but the comfort of knowing she is getting and will continue to get the best of medical care and we can focus on that instead of wondering how we are going to pay for it or having to make decisions about how much care she can have for financial reasons is a huge bright spot in an otherwise black situation.
posted by dg 26 October | 17:43
I am so sorry, dg. I hope she's on the road to recovery. Take care of yourself too.
posted by Senyar 27 October | 02:08
Oh, dg, I'm so sorry for your troubles. And your daughter's. From a medical standpoint, at least paracetamol has a very effective antidote, so she shouldn't be looking at long term liver damage. From an everything-else standpoint... *hugs*
posted by gaspode 27 October | 07:11
dg, so glad she is getting good care, and thinking of you.
posted by bearwife 27 October | 10:42
dg I wish you & your daughter strength.
posted by jouke 27 October | 13:16
So sorry to hear, dg... I hope your daughter is okay.
posted by Pips 27 October | 19:58
Thanks everyone (and sorry to hijack the question with my outburst). Yes, there is an effective antidote for paracetamol overdose which she was given early enough that she hasn't done any liver damage. Fortunately, she didn't suffer too badly from the common side effects of that treatment either. She's now been released from hospital with strict instructions that she can't be left unsupervised and that all medications and various other things must be kept locked away for the foreseeable future. There's also a ramping-up of her psychiatric care to try and deal with the root causes - very hard when she refuses to speak to anyone at all about how she's feeling.

Still a long way to go, but I'm still grateful that we have easy access to great medical care and can focus on her instead of the cost.

It's been a while since I had to stay in hospital overnight with a child - things in that area have come a long way, with fold-out beds for parents and a meals room with coffee, tea, food etc provided free. I remember back when parents were considered a distraction in a hospital ward and discouraged from being around, contrasted with today where we were told that one of her parents was expected to be in the room with her at all times and take an active role in her non-medical needs, it kind of blows my mind a bit about how much less difficult it all is.
posted by dg 27 October | 23:09
Of course, far more so than medical care, I'm profoundly grateful that my daughter is still with us, because that wasn't a given two days ago.
posted by dg 27 October | 23:11
Thank you for letting us know, dg-- I'm relieved to hear your daughter's okay, physically, at least. I am a bit surprised they sent her home so soon after a suicide attempt, especially given how uncommunicative she is. The standard of care here in the states would be to keep her in the hospital and treat her as an in-patient until it was reasonably deemed she was no longer at least an immediate threat to herself. Is there any way to get her into an in-patient treatment program, especially if insurance isn't an issue? It seems unreasonable to tell family to "never leave her unsupervised." (I have limited expertise, mind you -- an undergraduate degree in psychology and some experience working in various treatment facilities for adolescents. That said, and not knowing more details, of course -- her age, her history -- I am none-the-less alarmed at her release.)

In any case, all the best to you and your daughter and family--
posted by Pips 28 October | 13:22
San Francisco in the 40s and 50s. || Has anybody been watching the tv show Manhattan?