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To take for granted means to expect something or someone to be always available to serve in some way without thanks or recognition or to give very little value to someone or something.

Working in the hospital every day for the past one year has taught me the value of life. I’ve seen patients with various medical conditions ranging from cerebral palsy, diabetic foot ulcer, cancer patients, Parkinson’s, ALS etc. and I can’t stop thinking about how we take for granted some certain things in our life.

Listening to the stories of these patients and how they express their pain and anguish has indeed given me time to stop and reflect on my life.

I met a patient one summer afternoon who came for medical checkups. She was previously diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It is a disease that affects the nerve cells in our brain and causes symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors, changes in speech, and gait. It also causes Chorea.

Chorea is derived from an ancient Greek word which means dance” It is characterized by a brief, abrupt, irregular and unpredictable movements of the feet/legs or hands/arm. It is comparable to dancing. She had absolutely no control of her extremities as she watched them dance even when she wanted them to stay calm.

There’s no current cure for her condition so she can only be given supportive treatment by the doctors.

She told a story of how everyone including her husband abandoned her because of her medical condition. Family and relatives told her even if she sold all her precious jewelries and gave the money to the doctor, she wouldn’t get a cure.
She uttered a statement which made me realize how ungrateful I’ve been. She said “I wish I could be normal again and have my old life back” as tears rolled down her eyes.

At that moment, I felt this rush of cold air around me and felt the chills run down my spine. It reminded me of how we take for granted our health and several other things in our lives until we are faced with some serious problems. As a doctor, you’re taught how to be emphatic and sympathetic so as to enable you connect to your patients and at that moment I tried to feel what she was feeling. You really do not know how good you have it until it’s gone.

struggle

to take for granted

Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had

We take for granted several things in our lives. Sometimes, we never value life until a family member, friend or relative dies. Neither do we value our relationships until it’s about to come to an end.

Why do we take for granted tips on eating well and exercising? knowing that 30 mins of exercise daily could prolong our lives by 10 years or even more.

When was the last time you picked up your phone and called an old friend or your parents? Smiled to a stranger or lent a helping hand to someone in need. Told someone you love them or asked how someone is doing or how their day is going. These are all what we take for granted.

We need to be happy we have food on the table and a roof over our heads. Because we could be homeless. So many people in the world would do anything for these things we have . But we still complain every day that we do not have enough.

We need to learn to be appreciative and grateful for everything we have. If we all looked around us, we would find endless things we have that others are not as fortunate to have.

People matter so when you ask someone how they are, ask how they really are. Check on an old friend, call your parents, take very good care of yourself. Read a book, travel, work hard and pray. Tell someone you love them, put a smile on the face of a stranger. Lend a helping hand and just be grateful you are living each day.

All these go a long way to teach us about value. Don’t forget that the things we take for granted are the same thing others are wishing and praying for.

Read more: Noteworthy Life Lessons This Month

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