Brody: Looking on the bright side when your dash crashes

My dash crashed about three weeks ago when I coughed at supper one night.

A red light went on because my number one health fear is pneumonia. That disease nearly took me home two times in my four years here in assisted living.

Something told me, even though I only coughed, I was headed down a bad road.

By morning, I was very ill and couldn’t even get to the bathroom or feed my cats by myself.

Blood work and X-rays showed I had double pneumonia. Every day we had to make a new decision whether or not to go to the hospital.

My doctors know I do not do well in hospitals and, with the right drugs, nebulizer treatments and help from RAs, I believed I might do better here.

I have been sitting in my recliner ever since doing everything asked of me. Now I wait to see if I could turn a corner by myself or not.

I mean, after all, I am 86 years old with badly-damaged lungs. Antibiotics were changed and seemingly slowly trying to reverse path on the downward road I probably was on.

It has been quite the experience.

With much prayer, determination and a calling for patience, tomorrow’s blood work will tell us if I’ve now turned the corner towards recover. I believe I have.

You know, such an illness does more than play havoc with your body. It makes my inner self sort of step up. It makes me think about the “what ifs” and rearrange my priorities. The list goes on and on.

However, after a while, I begin to dwell on the “what ifs” and I get depressed. But I have learned somewhere in my DNA there’s this fight, this determination to focus on my place in the world and I try to dwell on when I’m well again. I always try to find a positive side to it all.

I have a distinct flashback, so I feel compelled to add this.

As I was growing up in Atlanta, we had two homes — the other on St. Simons Island. It was a 300-mile trip the day after school let out and it was the trip I lived for as far back as memory serves. Why?

That was and still is where the ocean and the wide sandy beaches were. It was the salty air, the seagulls hovering above me and I was convinced from the beginning it was my life coach to feeling free.

On one such trip, as my daddy turned the car and stopped, I thought my 10-year-old heart would burst. I shoved open the car back door, kicked my shoes aside and simply started running as fast as possible.

Running at waters edge, my arms splayed wide like asking God to live with me, I simply abandoned myself to the water and the salt and the air and the gulls. I was still running when I awoke.

After mulling over this memory, it reminds me to not give up to pneumonia. I ran and ran and jumped, looked up, reached for God.

I was made in His image, so of course I had a purpose for good. I just have to heal these old lungs so I can get back to my dash.

Thank you all for reading me for 28 years. The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.