My husband, Nestor, has been recovering from a tonsil surgery he had last week. He can assure you that the first few days of his recovery have been the opposite of “heaven!”

You don’t realize how much that “little” thing known as swallowing can hurt until you’re not able to do it as normal. The pain is excruciating. The emotional pain is just as strong. Imagine not being able to enjoy your normal, simple, pick-me-up food… like crunchy tacos, or your favorite drink… like coffee!

My husband is not a coffee drinker. He is allergic to it. I know, it’s weird. But I, on the other hand, do enjoy coffee a couple of times per month. I still remember the aroma and flavor of the “Café Listo” from our homeland of El Salvador. Nothing like it.

Nestor’s favorite drink is tea. Hot. Delicious. Home-mixed. With hazelnut creamer. This is the longest he’s gone without drinking his daily soothing hot cups of tea, several times per day.

Observing my husband go through pain each time he swallows, I don’t think I’d been aware of such a vital ability we operate on autopilot that’s so essential to everyday life. It is estimated that we swallow 500-700 times per day! For my husband right now, that’s 500-700 times of ouches… per day!

There’s a saying my mother used to tell me when I was growing up, “You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.”

I believe it would do us good if we can learn to appreciate the “little” things, that when you think about it, they are actually pretty big for enjoying a good quality of life.

As we go through the current crises locally and globally, may we take time to reflect and appreciate the “little” things and not take them for granted.