Man Makes Plans, and God Laughs.
-Yiddish Proverb

A few weeks ago, I found myself battling the worst case of poison oak I’ve ever had in my life...good times. In addition to the poison oak, I was also gifted with the development of cellulitis, which led to some pretty impressive swelling in my right leg.







Cute, huh? (and that’s one of the prettier pictures)

Well since physical movement became a bit of a challenge for me, and was in fact frowned upon by my doctor (aside from elevating my foot, popping pills, or relocating from the couch in the living room to the chair in my bedroom) I had some spare time to think about a lot of things. In particular, one thing that has continually been on my mind, since my leg hit the toxic plant/bacteria jackpot, is just how lucky I actually am…And I’m not talking about my ability to find my way into poison oak and cellulitis at the same time. I’m talking about something much more impressive...I’m talking about waking up.

You see, I grew up playing physically demanding sports and have experienced my fair share of broken bones, pulled muscles, and herniated discs over the years. However, it’s been awhile since my last injury and honestly I had forgotten what it feels like to be laid up. There’s something very humbling about the experience. When that unconscious feeling of invincibility that so many of us walk around with vaporizes and you have something taken away from you, which just the day before would have been unfathomable - In this case, having two working legs...Now that my friends is a gift. And for the first time in a long time I’ve realized this.

Those belong to the same human.

My foot now fits in my shoe again. Take a moment to reflect on that -- Something so ordinary and mundane is now a miracle in how the body can heal itself. I know after a few weeks of feeling well, that this wonder about how good health feels may fade. That is why I will be keeping a copy of this blog in front of me to help the memory fade slower.

Each day is a wonder and something truly to treasure. Perhaps the poison oak and it’s good friend and co-companion cellulitis provided me a way to a fuller understanding of the gifts that came with my illness. These include the friends and family who were amazing in the way they helped me deal with being sick, and waking up to the awareness needed for writing this blog. --The further gift was the lucky realization that this time the illness was just temporary and my feet will once again fit into shoes, allowing me to walk, run, hop, skip and jump another day.

So I hope all of you will join me and wake up too. At Least for a moment and be grateful and aware of all that you possess and find what is possible within your own life. Whether you read this with one leg, two legs or no legs at all, you may hopefully still live and more fully appreciate all the wonders that are potentially right there, within reach, today.


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About The Author

Matt Hickling's picture

Matt Hickling is a Level 1 certified CrossFit trainer who has been crossfitting since June 2012. Matt is currently a Registered Nurse in Albany Medical Center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He also has a Bachelors of Science in Sports Administration from Castleton State College, where he played Division III college hockey. Prior to his career in nursing, he was Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Albany River Rats/ Albany Firebirds for 2 years. Matt plans to continue gaining future CrossFit certifications and go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner.


Alex (not verified)

Hi Matt.

Hi Matt.

Great article and a reminder to cherish little things in life. How long did it take for you to heal? You leg looks exactly like mine right now. I have been admitted to the hospital and doctors are pumping me with antibiotics through IV. This is such a scary and nasty thing.

Gabe T (not verified)

Real insightful and

Real insightful and inspirational. Thanks for letter, i got poison oak on my ankles and feet were swollen half way thru healing. Got alittle worried.

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