I have been kind of out of commission for more than 40 days with a health difficulty and it’s been a real long haul.
I think I’m in the final couple of weeks before I get to go home, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what things I miss the most. At the top of the list is people. My family and friends. Oh, they visit and email and call, but it’s not the same as being out with them.
Every time there’s a family gathering for a birthday, school function or just for the hell of it, my heart cracks a little bit that I can’t be there.
But once I get past family, the list takes on a different complexion. Things I thought I’d miss are things I really don’t. And some things I thought I wouldn’t miss have proven to be very important.
I have been pretty well wired, both in the hospital and the rehabilitation facility. I’ve got the Internet, my iPhone, speakers for music and I've discovered the incredible joys of Spotify.
One of the things I miss is salt, which has become the inviolate no-no for me. I never thought I was a big salt guy, but I find that food totally without salt doesn’t have a real identity. But that’s gone for good.
I miss freedom of movement. For 40 days I’ve spent almost every minute in a room that is roughly 12 feet square. The hospital and rehab facility have tried to make things comfortable with artwork and fake flowers, but a room that size truly comes to resemble a prison, or at least what I think a prison is like. I miss being able to walk outside or to get in my car and run to the store.
I miss spontaneity that comes with freedom. Running into someone. Deciding at the last minute to go get tacos. Going to Bayshore to eat or to shop.
I miss my dog barking at every single sound he hears outside. When I was home and he barked like mad I’d get angry. But not hearing it makes me wonder what’s going on in the world. Is nobody coming to my home?
I miss tasks, which comes as a real surprise. Doing dishes or cleanin…
It's almost as if somebody left the barn door at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel open and the horses have wandered out to the field for everyone to see.
There is an itty-bitty flap brewing that by itself might not seem like much. But if you look closely, it tells us a lot about the biggest source of news in the state of Wisconsin. Not only the biggest, but the slowest, least dynamic and, perhaps, even least relevant to people’s lives.
The Journal Sentinel just hired someone named David Paulsen to be Breaking News Editor. Using breaking news and Journal Sentinel in the same sentence is something that occurs less frequently as each month passes. Paulsen comes to the paper after stints as a reporter in Wausau and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and two years at Fox News.
Well, when the announcement was made the cries from staffers in the newsroom in Downtown Milwaukee could be heard throughout the civilized world.
The first was that here was another case of a white man getting a management job. Staffers complained there were no women in leadership positions. Probably a legitimate gripe, although the publisher of the newspaper is a woman.
But the most revealing complaint came when the staff bitched about this guy coming from Fox News. Everybody knows about Fox News. Right wing. Ultra-conservative. The home of Bill O’Reilly.
How could a "real" newspaper hire someone like this? That was the refrain. Over and over again. More pandering to the right wing.
And here’s the problem.
This is a paper that for decades was one of the liberal lions in the world of newspapers. As circulation plummeted, the boys Downtown decided they needed to broaden their base of subscribers. More conservative stuff. More stuff for the black population. More stuff for Hispanics. More stuff for suburban markets.
And while some people were hired to meet these needs, most of the reporters and editors were cut from the same piece of cloth. They are basically liberal in their politics.
Another shock when a 4-year-old boy was shot while playing in front of his home near 40th and Chambers Tuesday night.
He was playing with his siblings when someone fired the shots that hit the little boy, who, fortunately, is going to be okay.
But the real shock is not so much that a little kid got shot but that it took place about 10:30 at night. What in the world was a 4-year-old doing playing outside at 10:30 on a Tuesday night?
I’m not jumping to conclusions about parenting skills or whether the kid was being putting in harm's way. But I can say that the idea of letting a kid that age play outside at 10:30 on a school night makes me almost crazy with unanswered questions.
I recently had to spend quite a bit of time at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital.
I am one of those people who are interested in health care issues and all the arguments about what kind of health care we should have in this country. Farmer/Physicians Blue This and Green That. Let’s even forget Obamacare, although I kind of like that one.
I vote for AnnieCare. It’s not some big insurance conglomerate where they specialize in turning down claims. AnnieCare doesn’t have a bulging mail room or little cubicles with thousands of mean people with green eyeshades looking for the latest policy loophole which will get the company out of paying for the blood transfusion that saved Mrs. Smith’s life.
AnnieCare is very small. Just one person. Anne Melvin. She’s a Physician’s Assistant at Columbia St. Mary’s and if everyone were enrolled in AnnieCare, nobody would have any complaints and Congress might actually get along.
Let me explain in my own simple way what the difference is between physicians and physician’s assistants.
There seems to be none, except for the amount of schooling you need. They both have advanced degrees, do classroom and clinical training and rotate through specialties, like those kids on "Grey’s Anatomy" (if that show is still on the air).
Now, back to AnnieCare.
I’m pretty sure I met her the second day there. I went to the Emergency Room because I could hardly breathe.
Before you could shout "STAT" or "CBC Chem 7" (phrases I learned from "Grey’s Anatomy") I was loaded with enough doctors to start another network show.
I was being cared for at various times by my primary care physician, an ER doctor, a Pulmonologist, his assistant, a neurologist, a cardiologist, the cardiologist's partner, a surgeon (whom everybody called the best in the city) and a hospitalist, who is a doc who cares for everyone in the hospital, no matter what disease they have.
And then there was Anne Melvin. She was there every day during my first six-day st…