In the ladies bathroom* at my place of work, a minor change was recently wrought when the former hand-drier/paper towel dispenser combo were replaced by a single hi-tech hand drier, of the new variety which seem designed not merely to blow water off your hands, but to have a crack at taking the skin off as well.
It's highly efficient, no doubt, and proudly states that by using it, you are helping to reduce landfill and thereby save the world. But today, after walking to work in a downpour, I found myself reflecting on the fact that its highly-specialised hand-drying design has come at the cost of other convenient functions of the hand-driers of old: namely, drying off wet clothes and hair and warming you up a bit. Of course, you can still use the Air Force Sandstorm Erosion™ to dry your hair. Providing you don't mind being scalped in the process.
But anyway, it got me thinking about its designers, who were no doubt given a clear spec: make the best hand-dryer possible. And they did. And everyone was delighted. It probably wasn't until monsoon season rolled its way around to Dryer Towers** that someone thought: 'Hang on a minute - the old hand drier was far less exciting and high tech, but at least it could deal with waterlogged socks.'
And, in a really obscure and slightly convoluted fashion,*** health is kind of like that, in that you don't notice what you've got til it's gone - but even then, sometimes it can take a surprisingly long time to catch your attention. I went from someone who never, ever had a headache to someone who got them regularly, but the change was so insidious over several years that it never even occurred to me that maybe I should mention this to a doctor - even after my heart had made it blindingly obvious to all and sundry that there was Something Clearly Wrong. Yes, I am just smart that way.
Now, I find myself (thank everything) on the flip side of that because I am (thank everything again) currently slowly getting better. Yes, I'm still not quite right, my hair's still falling out and my heart gave a very brief but exciting display of acrobatics as I ate my pasta last night,**** but I am so much better than I was. And I'm still in that happy honeymoon zone of improved health, where every now and again I have to take a moment to appreciate the fact that I can run for a bus without hyperventilating, that I can dance for an hour without needing a sit-down, and that my bruising has improved to the point where most days I can wear a skirt with no tights and not look like a victim of domestic violence.
Obviously the hope that I'm hoping ever so fervently is that I'm fixed and will continue to be fixed and, bar the odd MRI and pituitary-adenoma-related chat (for old times sake) I will darken my local hospital's doorstep much less frequently. I don't know if that will happen. But, although no doubt we'll all get used to the new hand dryer in time, I hope that - for as long as this improvement lasts - I don't lose my appreciation for feeling healthy :D
* I say bathroom. I mean toilets. There is no bath in there. Because that would be weird.
**Just to clarify, I am making this up.
***Or, if you live in my head, a really obvious and straightforward one.
****Because the pasta was just that good. Incidentally, another side effect of this illness has been that I've completely lost all ability to appreciate lines in songs like "my heart skips a beat". I just hear them and think: Quick! To the cardiologist!