One good thing about being ill is the pleasure of recovering and being reminded of wonderful it is to be fully functioning and healthy. But the sad truth is that we can't take recovery for granted - and as the years pass the certainty that we'll somehow be able to mend becomes increasingly and worryingly compromised.
I experienced a striking example of that uncertainty in the early hours of the morning. I'd gone to bed thinking that my back was on the mend. The doctor had given me one those magic injections of muscle relaxant yesterday and also a decent supply of painkillers, with which I'd dosed myself after a reasonably pain-free journey from Malaysia. So when I got out of bed to use the bathroom at 2.00 am I didn't expect the debilitating pain which assaulted me as I attempted to straighten up. I managed to keep moving, but came close to collapsing with the effort, which made me restless for the rest of the night as I wondered if things might get worse and whether I'd be able to get up at all in the morning. Frankly, I wasn't looking forward to feeling a pain of that magnitude again.
In the event whilst I didn't exactly spring out of bed when the time came, and I struggled with the effort of praying, showering and generally preparing for the day ahead, I quickly knew that I'd be able to cope with keeping moving. As the day went by things got a little bit easier and I'm now officially feeling a whole lot better than I was this morning. The question now is whether this gradual improvement is set to continue. I'm hopeful, which, when you get down to it, is all you really can be whatever the circumstances. And I'm grateful for the possibility that I might just get better.