Sunday, 4 March 2012


I know some people think this is a dirty word, to be avoided and sneered at.
(Outside of physics, that is.)
But it's not.
Here's the biggest 'It's all Relative' in my life:

My father has had heart disease since I was.. what.. 6? 10? Who knows how long he had it before his first heart attack? During his first bypass operation, and shortly after, it was absolutely clear to everyone, including him, that he was Very Ill.
After his first bypass, he made a rapid, smooth and full recovery.
Black, White. Absolute.

His second bypass introduced us to degress of wellness.
Greys and rainbows.
His heart recovered (*touches all the wood in the room). His lungs didn't do so well.
Sometimes he is 'well', sometimes he is ill, sometimes he is gravely ill.

For someone who has been battling a serious illness for so many years now, wellness and illness have become relative.
While for someone observing from the outside, the presence of an oxygen machine in the home might imply that he is Absolutely, Darkly, Ill, I know that he is 'well'. For him.
When someone says 'Hope he recovers soon', I know he is never going to swing from the treetops again in this life. We will be happy when he can walk unassisted and unbreathless from bedroom to TV, from bedroom to bathroom, from bedroom to car, from car to restaurant.
When someone hears 'Oh he's okay today', they smile. When they hear that he was on oxygen at night, they become confused - But I thought you said he was well!?
He is. For him. Relatively speaking. Relative to his own history, relative to other people more ill than him, relative to what we could expect.
Greys and rainbows.
Not black and white.

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