I recently began watching the TV show Breaking Bad.  (Yes, this is the show that recently broadcast its series finale after five seasons. I’m a bit behind.)  In the first episode, the main character is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.  With each episode I see, Walter’s cough is getting worse.

Walter White in his underwear with a gun

This photo is difficult to explain…just watch the pilot episode

I added the show to my Netflix queue while I was home from work with a cold.  This fall’s version of the cold-to-pass-around-work-and-school happens to include a lingering cough, so for the past two weeks I have been coughing, not unlike Walter White: infrequently but loudly and hard.  I have been raising some eyebrows.

I got started in my career by doing a type of work that is done with one’s hands at a work bench.  (This is related–stay with me.)  These days I’m a manager and spend most of my time at a computer, but a few days ago I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and do some benchwork.  The familiar tools, the rhythm of the work–I was in the groove.  And naturally, my well-trained habits took over.  I was measuring something vertical and tilted my head down so my eye was level with the ruler.  Bam!  Vertigo.  I was wobbly but kept working.  I was hellbent on making progress on the project before I had to leave for a meeting.  I even tilted my head in the opposite direction and shook my head as if I could rattle those otoconia back into place.

Shortly thereafter I was walking weaving down the hall when I had a coughing fit.  Good grief, I am a mess!  I think I was empathizing too much with Walter White and moving a bit too pathetically toward the conference room.  Then I remembered a mantra that emerged earlier this year during the worst of my vertigo but that I had not used for a while:

I am fundamentally healthy.

I smiled and straightened up.  Yes, my cough sounds like Walter’s, but I don’t have lung cancer.  Mine is not the dire story of Breaking Bad.  It’s a cold–nothing more serious than that–so cut out the drama already.  And yes, I am currently nauseous and the world looks off-kilter, but for the most part I can do the things I love despite the vertigo.

I said it again to myself: I AM FUNDAMENTALLY HEALTHY, and I felt it to be true.