In hindsight, I should have never tempted fate.
Around Thanksgiving, I was talking to a few co-workers and mentioned that I had never been in the hospital for an overnight stay.
Just been lucky, I said. A few broken bones. A dislocated shoulder.
I listened to others’ medical woes. Whew. Often, it was way more than I wanted to hear and know.
I just had to open my big mouth and invite fate to walk into my life.
I spent three weeks in the hospital over the holidays. I’m not blaming fate for my health issue. It was my own negligence mixed equally with stupidity and stubbornness. Stopped taking my maintenance medications for blood pressure. I paid the price, as did my family and friends closest to me over the holidays. I regret that most.
I’m not going to bore you with details about my health. I’m OK. Back to work, writing this column and regaining a normal life, although my “normal” is being redefined a little bit every day.
Taking my medicine every day, for one.
Here are a few quick, humbling lessons I learned for the new year while in the hospital most of December:
Take your medications, Dummy. You barely passed high school biology. They never allowed you to take chemistry or anatomy. Don’t try to play your own doctor. Do as you are told, when you are told. It will catch up with you sooner or later if you don’t, as I learned.
Count your blessings. My wife, children, family and friends were unbelievably supportive and helpful, even when the pain meds were making me sleep a lot or making me say crazy stuff out loud. They were there for me, night and day, good days and bad. I will never forget them.
Remember your hospital gown is open in the back. I gave a few too many free peep shows to the hospital staff. For the record, there were no tips, except an occasional, “You’d better close the door….” I knew I was feeling better when I put pajama pants on first thing every morning.
Work hard at rehab. Be grateful you have the chance.
Daydream about vacations, but there is no better medicine than home and sleeping in your own bed.
Time for some hockey…
I got out of the hospital in time to see the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium in-person. Maybe I should not have been outdoors two days in the cold and rain to watch hockey. Those loved ones who know me best knew I’d be there, though. Somehow.
Both the alumni game and game itself were a treat. As you know by now, I am often stuck in the past so I enjoyed the alumni game most.
A line of Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky and Adam Oates was a sight to see, as was seeing Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis on the ice again. Hull & Oates reminded me of going to games with my Dad when Hull was scoring a goal a game.
It was touching to see Keith Tchachuk wearing former teammate and friend Pavol Dmitras’s No. 38 jersey.
What I enjoyed most was seeing Brian Sutter back on the hockey scene in St. Louis, enjoying the city, former teammates and players. No. 11 was having some fun. He’s my favorite Blues player of all time. Intense. Tough. Feisty. Fighter. Captain. Heartwarming to see him having fun in St. Louis.
Lucky Bastard …
Back to the hospital stay: I think I asked everyone who came to visit me if they could get me a copy of Joe Buck’s new book, “Lucky Bastard.”
I told you I have a great family and friends.
My wife, Colleen, of course, got me a copy, that she gave to me as soon as we got home. Somehow, she found time to order it on Amazon.
My friend, Scott, got me a copy as well. It was signed with personal notes from my high school friends at lunch when we gathered to watch some high school basketball in Collinsville. I enjoy high school sports, but none more than that December afternoon in Collinsville.
My friend Andy also got me a copy of the book. This one was autographed by Joe Buck himself. “To Terry. Get Well Soon. See You at the Ballpark Soon. All My Best. Joe Buck.”
I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but with three copies, I can always find a copy somewhere in the house. Each copy is special to me. “Lucky Bastard.” The book’s title hits a home run for me this holiday season.
Yes, I am.