Jokers Are Wild

This week’s writing assignment is about an illness or addiction.  This is my offering …

It has been said that in the great game of poker we call life there will be those who are consistently dealt lucky cards, and then there will be the rest with losing hands.  In the health department, I am one of the lucky ones.


I have always been a very healthy person but in my youth, I secretly envied any classmate who enjoyed the attentions and sympathies caused by some infirmity such as a broken bone.  If the infirmity resulted in a hospital stay, I childishly considered it outright exotic.

To voice this out loud would have been considered both stupid and self absorbed – major crimes in my family.  When you have three older siblings, being called ‘stupid’ was the ultimate insult and with my mother, being considered ‘self absorbed’ was even worse.

To admit to this childhood folly now sounds quite shallow, but such was the way of my naive youth.

Not only have I been lucky in health, I’ve been remarkably fortunate in avoiding accidents and injury in general, in spite of a sometimes risky lifestyle that has provided ample opportunity to test my luck.  While others around me have broken bones and suffered injuries more serious, I’ve been able to simply pick myself up and walk away with only bruises, although I must admit that some of those bruises were quite spectacular.  The occasional cracked helmet suggested that a serious head injury was somehow miraculously avoided.

Of course I had the usual childhood ailments of the time – chickenpox, measles, mumps – but even then the symptoms were mild.  I’ve been required to wear glasses since I was eleven years old but that hardly qualifies as an illness of any sort and only an affront to my vanity.  Then I developed allergies – thankfully nothing life threatening.  I am plagued by seasonal allergies and at worst I can say it is only a considerable annoyance. I’m either a sneezing, snot machine or dumb as a doorknob from the mental fog when I’ve taken antihistamines.

As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve come to prize this thing called ‘health’ with shameless pride.  I’ve reached that stage in my life when my friends and siblings have begun to experience a variety of health crises from heart problems, cancer scares, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis…. the list goes on and on.  It is now a very serious matter.  Already too many friends have been lost to poor health.

Conversations with peers have become a catalogue of health complaints and for the most part, I’m an outsider unable to participate – except to voice sympathy and concern.  The worst I can say is that I am short for my weight, but whether it is good genes or my active lifestyle, I’ve managed to maintain good health in spite of my girth.

Who knows how long I will be able to enjoy this privilege.  As we age, the sins we have heaped on our bodies in the past are bound to catch up with us.  Sooner or later, the toll must be paid.

Perhaps it is ironic then that while my own health hasn’t been a source of angst, my life was turned upside down by health scares affecting my children.  Our luck – whether good or bad – is not necessarily inheritable. Those who have been lucky in life suffer the greatest pain when they discover that those they love are in fact holding losing hands.

No parent should have to sit in a hospital room listening to a surgeon discuss the complications of their child’s condition and the considerable risks involved.  No parent should have to watch helplessly as their child suffers in acute pain.  It is like a crushing weight on your chest that makes it hurt to breathe.  No parent should then have to experience it with both of their children – at different times, for different reasons.  It is with guilt that I feel perhaps the universe seeks balance in all things and that my good fortune needs to be paid for by those I love.

I still count myself extraordinarily fortunate.  My children have survived.  I pray that these health crises were a one-time dramatic blip in their lives.  I can only hope that at their young age, they had used up all the misfortune their lives could deliver and that the next dealt hand will be strong enough for them to stay in the game for a very long time.

There is no doubt in my mind that good health is a precious commodity and not one to be taken lightly – for it can change in a heartbeat.


About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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21 Responses to Jokers Are Wild

  1. bulldog says:

    You writing is magnificent… better than my photography… but from this read I walk away with something I will use for years.. “I am short for my weight” this should go down well considering I’m over six foot tall…. I’m going to be following you … love your penmanship….


  2. joannesisco says:

    Our children make us so vulnerable. I suspect if I ever have grandchildren, I will feel the same way about them.
    I return the best wishes for good health to you and yours!!


  3. Cherish every moment of good health that you and your family enjoy. There is little worse than watching your child suffer. The only time I almost fainted was when they were probing my little girl with needles. I was telling her a story and was aware my voice was getting fainter and fainter, and I felt as if I were in a dark tunnel. Then, the nurse’s voice came through: “I think you should sit down now and put your head between your knees.” You have beautifully voiced one’s fears. May you and yours be happy and healthy for years and years.


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  5. Beautiful post – I identified with your feelings as a child because I still haven’t broken anything or been to hospital (MM hastily touches wood). I was in the same situation as you for one of my children too – it changed my whole vision of life when I realized that there was a chance I would lose him.


  6. Lynn says:

    It seems as we age, we become more & more aware as to just how precious our good health is. I share your sentiments in regards to our children. We too, had a scare this past year with our grown son & possible health complications that could impact his quality of life. Thankfully, we ruled out the worst case scenario & are hopeful that unresolved issues will not impede him in any way. Thank you for this insightful post Joanne. Great writing!


    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Lynn. Our children leave us feeling so vulnerable sometimes. We think that as long as we can get them safely to adulthood everything will be ok. Wow! – was that ever a wake-up call for me when I discovered differently.
      I hope your son enjoys better health going forward!!


  7. davecenker says:

    Wonderful entry filled with emotion, especially the part about our children. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could have taken on the burden and pain experienced by my child. Although, it is sometimes a necessary part of going through our journey, it certainly doesn’t stop us from wanting to avoid it, especially for those that are so near and dear to us. Thank you for sharing.


  8. sueslaght says:

    Joanne what excellent writing! I agree we need to be so grateful for our good health. A precious gift for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Joanne, I can so relate to what you say, my own good health and my child’s struggles. Loved your quip about being short for your weight. And if it makes you feel any better for missing out in the sympathy stakes, I broke my leg when I was fourteen and was at home in bed and in pain when I was awarded, in absentia, a certificate for sports girl of the year or some such nonsense at school. It was reported back that that brought a great laugh from the assembly! Rotten kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. nancytex2013 says:

    Lovely writing, Joanne. And I couldn’t agree more. I value my (and my loved ones’) good health above all else.


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