Friday, January 27, 2006

no yang without yin

Today, while working at the office, a little miracle: for about five minutes, I could smell and taste again. Not very well, mind you, but the senses recovered just enough for me to perceive-- barely-- the Chinese food I was eating at the time.

Unfortunately, not everything was so good. My chest rattle seems to have worsened a bit, and while I'm still not feeling particularly sick, I do cough... and hack... and rattle like Jacob Marley. I missed my doctor's visit on Wednesday because I went shopping with my students, and I missed a visit today because I was working on something (test rating) that needed to be done by this evening.

The fleeting return of taste and smell at around 5:30PM today was almost exhilarating. In those moments when I was able to perceive my t'ang-bokk-bap properly, I took nothing for granted. The old proverb is true: you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

It's one of those proverbs I relearn with dismaying frequency. Just last week, I had a tiny splinter of something (still no idea what) lodged in the calloused skin of the ball of my right foot. It wasn't large enough to cause extreme pain, but it was large enough to prove annoying. When I got home after a long day at school, I washed my foot, got out the tweezers, and began my search for the splinter. When I finally found it, I almost laughed: the thing was barely two millimeters long, and thin as a hair.

To think that something so small, which hadn't even truly penetrated my skin, could cause such annoyance throughout the day... well, that's a reminder of the narrowness of our margin for comfort. Just a wee nudge rips us out of bliss and plunges us balls-first into the briar patch.

The chest rattle is arguably more annoying than the splinter. But we'll kick its ass next week.


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