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Senior Correspondent

It is amazing what power exists in one small can.

Two weekends ago I had an experience I have never had before: food poisoning. I will spare you any of the details, but it was not pleasant. We believe a can of tuna fish that made up part of my dinner on Friday evening was the culprit. I have never had anything come upon me so quickly and violently.

By Sunday afternoon I began to eat some solid foods again, if dry toast, jello, and broth constitute solid food. On Sunday evening I allowed myself a baked potato with just a hint of butter. Monday morning, after sleeping almost 10 hours, I felt almost human again.

A side benefit: in 48 hours I lost almost 6 pounds. As a diet I wouldn't recommend it, but the body is an amazing machine that rids itself of whatever is causing problems as quickly and efficiently as it does.

Once again, this lost weekend impressed upon me the absolute blessing good health is to my satisfying retirement. It is almost a cliché that you don't realize what feeling good is, until you don't. To not feel your stomach doing its job or to not feel too weak to get out of bed, are too easily taken for granted when healthy. Granted, at almost 65 I have the usual aches and pains that come with age, but nothing significant. I have no issues that restrict my ability to go about my daily life pretty much as I see fit.

Experiences like this past weekend make me appreciate that blessing. I am well aware that too many people, including lots of readers of this blog, have ongoing physical limitations that make each day a push through their infirmities. They do it because they choose to live as fully as possible and fight against the pain and problems. I hope that as I begin to face the health complications that are waiting for me I can show the same grace and determination that these folks do.

Finally, and just as important as the slap of health reality this episode gave me, was a fresh appreciation for the incredible woman who is sharing my life. Betty did things to help after some of my more unpleasant attacks that I am not sure I could have done, at least not with the concern, and love, and compassion she exhibited. She immediately put her own needs aside, getting as little sleep as I did during the worst times and ministering to me.

I am not sure how a small post on food poisoning turned into a love letter for my wife, but that was the end result. She has her 60th birthday on Valentine's Day (so appropriate!). My goal is to surprise her with a little something special to help show her how much I love her. I will be happy to spend the time with her, watching her enjoy the activity I have found and us simply being together.

Just one little can: with a powerful result in two remarkably different ways. Isn't it amazing how life gives us so much to learn from even the simplest event?

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