I looked in the mirror one morning and noticed some red dots on my chin. Huh, those weren’t there yesterday.

But the morning rush brought with it waves of distractions and it wasn’t until the evening that I noticed the spots on my arm and legs.

It was time to panic.

My husband (who was anything but panicked) sent me to see his doctor friend, just to settle my nerves until I could make a proper doctor’s appointment the next morning. “Probably ITP,” he said. Whatever that meant. “But see your doctor in the morning for a blood test.”

Two days later, my doctor called at 8:30am. His office doesn’t open until 9, I thought. Uh-oh.

“You’re platelet count is 5000. Normal is between 150,000 and 450,000.”

“You’re platelet count is 5000,” he said. Sounds plentiful! So what’s the problem?

“Normal is between 150,000 and 450,000.”

I didn’t know what to expect on our way to the ER, the uncharacteristically warm weather mocking my somber mood as if knowing that I wouldn’t greet its blessed fresh air for another four days.

Once settled, I had the opportunity to get better acquainted with these plasmic troubleshooters that had landed me there in the first place. Apparently, platelets have a very demanding mission inside these miraculous wonderlands we call our bodies.

Whether it’s a paper cut or another butternut-squash-cubing-injury (I told you to cook it first!), there are microscopic EMS members within our blood, on call 24/7, ready to race to the scene faster than a pinball machine. As they tirelessly patrol our bodies, these tiny cell fragments clot together when necessary so as to prevent excessive blood loss.

Welcome to the world of platelets.

Hence, while waiting in the ER and writing love letters to each of my children, I was gripped with the stirring reminder, like a stone tossed into a tranquil lake, that my body is nothing but a fragile assemblage of ingredients, any of which can expire, God forbid, at the designated moment that my Creator so chooses. Only out of pure mercy does He grant me every waking moment.

Whether I choose to appreciate those moments, however, is up to me.

As is often the case, we fail to notice the humdrum miracles that take place so frequently in our lives, the countless favors done for us by those nearest and dearest, the small and large fringe benefits that just seem to come along with the ride… until the engine starts sizzling. Who thinks of platelets when we thank our Creator for returning our souls to us every morning? What about the more discernible gifts, such as our five working senses, extremities or digestive system to name just a few?

Being confined to a hospital bed afforded me the opportunity to reflect, or brood, upon all the ungracious moments, the countless recollections of churlish immaturity and pettiness that I’ve imbedded into my personality over the years. And the surging aspiration to change.

So when the doctors unveiled only part of the mystery as to why my numbers dropped so suddenly and unexpectedly, describing how my own immune-system was vigorously attacking my platelets for no apparent reason, the blinking lights and blaring sirens in my mind clearly called for some modification of my day-to-day agenda.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the antibodies, whose job is to fight infections, instead destroy the healthy platelets. The cause often remains unknown and, with God’s help, in many cases it departs after being treated as mysteriously and swiftly as it had arrived.

Four days of platelet-pumping, immuno-suppressing and kosher-menu-taste-testing later, I was, thank God, returned to my family in one piece (albeit prodded and poked), ardently clutching the lessons I’d gleaned during my unexpected excursion and hoping these lessons would, like a sturdy umbrella, stay with me through the unpredictable weather that sometimes throws us off course.

When we are given so much on a regular basis, it is difficult to keep track of where it all comes from.

Being grateful takes effort. When we are given so much on a regular basis, it is difficult to keep track of where it all comes from.

When the kids are hurling insults at one another, when the patchka recipe we’d made for the neighbor just didn’t come out right, when our first morning smile is not returned, when the herculean efforts we put into bettering ourselves just don’t seem to bear any fruit, the disillusionment can be overwhelming. These occasions don’t naturally lend themselves to feelings of gratitude. Anger, helplessness, defeat, maybe, but gratitude? I think not.

And then I try to (reluctantly!) think again. And therein lies the key.

When we take a step back, remove ourselves from the emotional storm that looms overhead, readjust our focus and zoom in on the any of the innumerable blessings that make us smile, feelings of gratitude will wash over us like a soothing bubble bath. And if, during the quieter moments, we can allow ourselves the luxury to reflect upon even one or two gifts a day, gifts that surround us - or that thrive within us - it will be easier to bring those thoughts to the forefronts of our minds at our weaker or more challenging moments - moments when those incorporeal boo-boos threaten to ravage our spiritual health and we scramble for the correct response.

Yes, it can be difficult to pull on those rose colored glasses and find the Pollyanna within us. Sometimes we need to dig so deep within ourselves that it can seem impossible to overturn the heaps of negativity that weigh us down. But those rare occasions that find us succeeding in transforming our perspective in the nick of time, sending gratitude as the first-responder to even the slightest spiritual wound, will yield more proceeds than we can possibly imagine. We will, no doubt, find that the possibilities are endless.

And we will gape in wonder as to how full our plates (and platelets) truly are.