Going Home

I wrote the following while I was still at St. John’s Rehab Center.

Going Home is such a powerful, emotional reward, songs have been written about it. When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, Going Home, I’ll be Home for Christmas… And almost every time we hear any of them being performed, we can look around to see tears in most people’s eyes. Those songs remind us of the specialness of home, of the special people in our lives who live or lived in that home. Sometimes the songs bring up memories of special people who used to live home. And now are gone for whatever reason.

There are also a variety of reasons why people are away from home: it seems like there is forever some war for our young men to wage. That is always the most senseless and painful separation from home in the history of Earth. We take young men from all walks of life, throw them into a pot pourri of misery, teach them how to kill, and then toss them to the wolves, so to speak. But their dreams of home, of going home, seem to me the saddest, the most emotional, the most pathetic, really.

Vacations, business trips, and hospital stays are some of the other reasons people are away from home. And that has been my dilemma. I had total knee replacement, which required a hospital stay of three days and a rehabilitation program of another week to ten days.

This is when I diluted the nostalgic Going Home theme to certain procedures and pleasures available to us only at home. Sleeping in your own bed. Okay, so it doesn’t have the convenient button to press to raise or lower the head and/or lower portion of your bed as the hospital bed does. But it’s your bed, the one where you’re familiar with every pillow, its thickness or softness, or lumps in just the right places. Your blankets keep you warm and you have your favorite sheets, with the nice thread count.

Your bathroom! Your very own; if you share it at all, it’s only with loved ones. Same with your shower. Your kitchen, where you know exactly where everything is, exactly what is in there, and how many/much more of it there is.

Your own TV and a remote with which you can turn that volume up as far as you wish or even keep it on mute, if you so desire. It’s yours only and you can do with it what you want.

So I guess “going home” means that we have some place in which we can relax, do exactly what we want, when we want, and how we want. We can be our own miserable, sloppy, picky, particular selves without constraint or restraint. And we can do this with or without a loved one(s)—depending on what we want!


And I’ll be going home soon. Going home. What a nice ring that has to it!


Are You Ready?

In less than two weeks, I’m having total knee replacement surgery. When I scheduled that, I thought I’d have to clean the house so that when I came home from the rehab center, I wouldn’t have to sit around and look at the dirt and dust in all the little nooks and crannies. (Not that my house ever allows such denizens of dregs!) And that’s all I’d have to do.

Not! Yes, cleaning the house just before I leave is high on my list. But I’m also supposed to make the house safe. SAFE! I thought I was safe around here. Well, okay, I have the hair dryer cord plugged into a bedroom outlet and taped along the floor into the adjoining bathroom. (Note: Better get an extra outlet installed in my bathroom.) And then I have an extension cord running clear across my basement floor to accommodate a dehumidifier on the other side. (Note: Have an electrician put in a new outlet on that other wall.) And that’s just the beginning.

In fact, I’ve been so busy making lists and phone calls to prepare for this major interruption in my life that I inadvertently left a cupboard door open yesterday. (I never do that!) And, of course, then I walked smack dab into it. I only have a small bruise on my forehead to show for it, but a ton of chagrin.

While setting up inspections of rehab centers, attending pre-op exams and meetings, checking on insurance coverage and lack thereof, making meals to put in the freezer for when I get home, I begrudgingly realized that anything important in my life has required preparation. Going waayyyy back, I remember the preparation and anticipation of each of my children. (Oh! Those wonderful days!) And vacations—we certainly prepare for those happy occasions. In my writing, the research and immersion in detail I trudge through is almost endless. I even went to prison for my current novel I’m writing, the working title of which is Prison Break. Okay, I didn’t actually go to prison, but I was allowed to be escorted into a part of the Auburn Prison to get a feel for what it looked like—and was—from the inside. Even that took a lot of preparation, come to think of it: letter from me to the Warden, from him to Albany, and its return permission, with caveats.

So I guess I should quit my whining, do what I have to do, and get on with this thing. But I don’t have to like it, do I?