• Joe Colaizzo

Reality Checks

I'm invincible!

Of course I am. 54 years old, in relatively good shape (ok, so my gut needs a little work), and I have never had any health issues. The last two-plus years just reinforced my invincibility. While everyone seemed to be getting sick, I pretty much just lived as I wanted. Yes, I got the vaccine, but it was more so that I wouldn't have any restrictions placed on me for things I wanted to do or places I wanted to go.

I'm invincible!

My mildly scratchy throat, yesterday morning, reminded me of how I tend to sleep with my mouth open, and the few drinks the night before resulted in that slight headache. Got to hydrate today, I told myself, which was accompanied by a brief, but noticeable, cough. I cleared my throat a few times and started the day.

As I brushed my teeth, my eye caught the corner of a small rectangular box that was shoved in the back of the medicine cabinet. It was calling me. It might've been laughing at me. Another brief cough as I moved the dental floss (that I never use) aside and took hold of the test that something long ago told me to keep.

Invincible me opened the box and, fifteen minutes and two bold lines later, I was introduced to the new "vulnerable" me.

I took a moment to let this reality check sink in. It really feels like just another cold but, I know it isn't. I'm sick. And now my Fourth of July weekend plans would have to change.

But before I thought of what I would do this weekend, I thought I'd call my buddy to joke about how "Tough Guy Joe" had succumbed to a microscopic nemesis. My first words to him would be "Guess what I got?" and my laugh would give it all away.

I delivered my line as soon as he picked up. He knew the answer just as I knew he would, and then he asked me a question......"Guess where I am?"

The tone of his voice, no laughter, said it all, and I knew that he was in the hospital. Some health issues that he has been dealing with have exacerbated and my heart sunk to hear those words from my friend. I offered anything that I could do when I knew that, especially in my now seemingly irrelevant condition, there was not much I could do. I hung up after telling him that, of course, he would be fine and, that I'd be thinking of him (if he's reading this, he knows I am).

Another reality check now took hold and I started to reflect on anything, and everything, as usually happens when a hint of mortality comes into our lives.

I eventually got back to thinking about this weekend. It turns out it's not what I'm going to do, but more like what I'm not going to do.

I called my mom on Staten Island to tell her the news and that I wouldn’t be able to come to see her this weekend. “Not that big of a deal”, you might say but she also recently had a stay in the hospital so I was looking forward to seeing her now that she's home. In typical mom fashion, she was more worried about my cold than about her recovery. I promised to eat some soup and get better so I could see her as soon as I can.

And to top it all off, no weekend fishing outing with John. I'll have to wait till the end of my 5-day lockdown to see him.

Call it frustrations. Call it perspective moments. Or call it reality checks. I feel like I got my fill in the past 24 hours.

Reality Checks. We all get our share of them; I just hope we all learn the lessons from them.

Side Note - I actually got another reality check today as it is clearly a reality that I love writing and sharing with all of you. It brings me peace and happiness and I'll never take this for granted!

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