Happy National Grateful Patient Day!

One day I found out that it was National Limerick Day. I didn’t even know there was a National Limerick Day. I investigated other “days” and found out that September 7th was National Grateful Patient Day. So, this grateful patient will start her post with a limerick:

There was a patient in a flimsy gown,
Who was also wearing a frown.
She was getting a bad cold,
And feeling cold and old,
She wanted another garb, truly, hands down.

Now for the grateful patient part. This patient is grateful for colonoscopies. I know you’re thinking, “What?!” Due to a family history of colon cancer, my doc knows my colon like the back of his hand; I‘m monitored every so often. Due to the prep, I have to schlep (run) to the bathroom every so often, but “BC,” (before colonoscopies), colon cancer was often found too late. At least a colonoscopy gives me a fighting chance. Although March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, if in any month you have concerns, “march” yourself over to a doctor’s office.

There’s “Stress Awareness Day.” We all have a boatload of stress; it’s part of life, but I think it’s how you deal with it that counts. You can use it to your advantage, making you a stronger person, physically and/or mentally. It can make you a better athlete, doctor, actor, etc. There’s also a National Puppy Day. Talk about a stress reliever, (or should I say a stress retriever).

I’m grateful for getting up in the morning. When you have a cancer diagnosis, (the way I did), you don’t take that for granted. Earlier in this post, I referred to “BC” as before colonoscopies, but for me, it can also mean, “before cancer.” I used to get up and think of all of the things I “had” to do for that day. Now I view errands as what I “get” to do, and that makes every day a privilege, rather than an obligation.

I’m grateful for the eagle-eyed doctor who found melanoma on me very early. Accordingly, I need to give a nod to “Melanoma Awareness Month.”

There’s also National Doctor Day, which is March 30. Ironically, that’s also National Pencil Day, I guess so a doctor can tell an ornery patient to, “Get the lead out.” (I guess a patient could do the same.)

There’s also Student Nurses Day. I know the effort that it takes to become a nurse. It was reassuring to see friends, student nurses, go from trepidation to confidence, without losing their humility nor humanity.

There’s a Caregiver’s Day. As someone who cared for my mom with Alzheimer’s for five years and three months, (but who’s counting), that day is most appreciated. I think caregivers are an often unrecognized group of unsung heroes.

I’m grateful for screaming, I mean screening mammograms, (and diagnostic ones when necessary). I know you’re thinking, “Have they squeezed intelligence out of her too?” I know that mammograms can catch things early. Here’s a shout out, (and believe me, I have shouted out during that procedure) to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’m grateful for National Spelling Week. My GI guy complimented me because I knew how to spell, “Schatzki’s ring,” (a medical issue that I was treated for). He told me many of his colleagues wouldn’t know how to spell it. We’ll make a deal: I’ll spell it and they can treat it.

I’m grateful for X-rays, one of which showed that I had thick sinuses, which made me more prone to sinus infections. A picture was worth 1,000 sneezes. My husband complains that I’m a bit thick-headed (stubborn). I guess he was right. Despite that, I’m grateful for my hubby, whose birthday is September 8th, one day after I can celebrate being a grateful patient. My mom once misheard something on TV, referring to the rock group, The Grateful Dead. She thought someone was saying they’d be grateful to be dead. She said, “I’m grateful I’m alive.” Me too.

When I first heard the term the “Ryder Cup,” I thought they were saying, “The Writer Cup.” This patient writer, (patient in more ways than one) has been grateful to share my ideas. This writer’s “cup runneth over.”

There’s National Golf Day. My mom, a four-time cancer survivor, loved playing golf. I think it kept her alive longer than anyone expected, (except herself).

There’s National Tennis Day. I loved playing tennis on a community league. One of the scores in tennis is “love.” It means zero as a score, but it meant the world to me: the friends, the exercise, etc. Speaking of exercise, there’s National Exercise Day. Exercise can certainly contribute to one’s well-being.

My father had gotten me a bumper sticker that said, “Tennis forever, housework whenever.” Although there’s a National Apology Day, I don’t apologize for my priorities. I still got the housework done … whenever.

There’s a National Vet Day. We’re grateful that our vet, or as we say in our house, v-e-t, (we have to spell it), stayed late to operate on our dog. That deserves 2 paws up. We’re also grateful for veterans. I once taught a kid who misunderstood the words veteran and veterinarian. Veterinarians go to battle for their patients, and veterans go to battle for their country and their countrymen.

There should be a national I’m OK the Way I am Day. Easier said than done, I know.

Since I started with a limerick, I think I’ll end with one:

There’s a day celebrating orange mousse,
But I think I should have orange juice,
I’ll turn down the dessert platter,
Because I don’t want to get fatter,
I want clothes that are loose on my caboose.

R. Lynn Barnett is the author of What Patients Want: Anecdotes and Advice and My Mother has Alzheimer’s and My Dog Has Tapeworms:  A Caregiver’s Tale. She can be reached on Twtter @rlynnbarnett1.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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