I have been kind of out of commission for more than 40 days with a health difficulty and itâ€™s been a real long haul.
I think Iâ€™m in the final couple of weeks before I get to go home, but lately Iâ€™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 itâ€™s not the same as being out with them.
Every time thereâ€™s a family gathering for a birthday, school function or just for the hell of it, my heart cracks a little bit that I canâ€™t be there.
But once I get past family, the list takes on a different complexion. Things I thought Iâ€™d miss are things I really donâ€™t. And some things I thought I wouldnâ€™t miss have proven to be very important.
I have been pretty well wired, both in the hospital and the rehabilitation facility. Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™t have a real identity. But thatâ€™s gone for good.
I miss freedom of movement. For 40 days Iâ€™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 Iâ€™d get angry. But not hearing it makes me wonder whatâ€™s going on in the world. Is nobody coming to my home?
I miss tasks, which comes as a real surprise. Doing dishes or cleaning up my office or putting in a load of laundry. Tasks, many of which have been requested/suggested by my wife. Iâ€™m not a big fan, but I miss the kind of responsibility that comes with those tasks and the sense of achievement when completing them to the satisfaction of the boss.
I really miss doing things for myself. Being confined like this I find everyone offering to bring me stuff and I find myself asking people over and over and over to bring me something I need. I really feel like a burden and I donâ€™t like that.
I thought I was going to miss the vast array of entertainment that is a normal part of my life. But I donâ€™t miss it at all. With online access and regular television, there is nothing at home that I canâ€™t get here. The only thing is going to live music performances. But getting a chance to see the brand new Semi-Twang video, for example, is a fair substitute.
I also thought I would miss the privacy that is available to people who are free. But I find living in the fishbowl of the health care system isnâ€™t that bad. Sure, Iâ€™ve had to accept that modesty is gone, but there is so much solitude that I donâ€™t miss any other kind of privacy.
And, this may be a little self-serving, but I was sure I was going to miss being part of decisions, whether where to eat, what movie to see or how much to spend on a couch. But the salvation to missing that has been to be a very active participant in my own health care. It would be easy to sit back and let the doctors decide what to do. But itâ€™s my body and my life and I decided I was going to be a player in this game. Making decisions about yourself is a pretty good substitute.
And finally, I thought I was going to miss Molly Snyder. She is one of my all-time favorite people and when Iâ€™m in the OnMilwaukee.com offices (which is fairly rare) I enjoy being in her orbit tremendously. But I donâ€™t miss her because I get to read her stuff, I see the e-mails that are exchanged between staff members and I bask in the limelight of her role as the new narrator at The Pfister Hotel.
My guess is that things even out. Iâ€™m out of here soon, we hope and I wonâ€™t be forced to miss anything anymore.
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