Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2010

Missing the little things

June 24, 2010

When I was young there was a popular song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” In recent weeks I have learned that is certainly true.

I have found myself looking forward to small successes. Being able to move my little finger slightly is a major victory. I am overjoyed about increasing my walking distances every day. Even standing alone and maintaining my balance is a small, but important, accomplishment. Improvement is steady but very slow.

There are other “small things” that have become important to me. Suddenly the Kansas City Royals have become even more important at this juncture of my life. I’ve always been a Royals fan and the fact that they are presently struggling doesn’t make any difference to me. I look forward to the nightly telecast of the games. I miss going to the games and look forward to attending a Royals and T-Bones game before the end of the season.

One of my daily highlights is watching “Wheel of Fortune.” I enjoy taking part in the competition. Jean and I try to beat each other when it comes time to identifying the puzzle. It’s a good mental exercise and is not only my favorite but also the only game show I watch.

I discovered two new interests when it comes to televised sports. I really have never been a NBA fan. For some reason my interest waned when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired, but this year I have enjoyed the playoffs. The Celtics and the Lakers always seem to put on a good show and make the game exciting. Certainly the players are super athletes.

I have also discovered that I enjoy soccer. While I don’t know a lot about the sport, I’m learning just by listening to the announcers. I’ll definitely be watching the U.S. team as the World Cup progresses. I found myself sitting on pins and needles watching the tie with England.

Now this might sound silly, but I miss mowing the lawn. Actually I enjoy the exercise when I walk the hill in front of my house and the riding mower is mindless fun. I also miss yard work (a little, that is). This may be the first year since I retired that I haven’t dug out a few rocks, grunting and groaning while moving them to more advantageous locations.

I just plain miss being outside. I really don’t know that summer has arrived since I entered the hospital the last week of May when the weather was pleasant. I’ve made a few trips to the patio at the rehabilitation center and believe me, fresh air has never felt better. I hope soon to be enjoying sitting out on the deck at our house.

I miss the Bonner Springs city band concerts. Ironically, I had all my jokes prepared for the summer and yes, they are as bad as usual. They tell me the concerts have been good with excellent crowds. I certainly appreciate those who have stepped up and filled in for me. But I warn you, I really hope to be back for the end of the concert season. I’ve got to use these bad jokes someplace.

I really miss driving. I have transitioned from driver to passenger/navigator and this has opened the door to another new skill — criticizing my wife’s driving. Of course, she deserves it since she has been quick, I mean very quick, to point out my driving shortcomings. It’s definitely different being a passenger, but I think I’ll learn to cope.

Yes, it’s the little things I really miss. My suggestion to everyone is to slow down and enjoy what you have. It is hard work to regain the most basic of skills, which you take for granted. Be thankful for the little things in life like enjoying fresh air, turning the pages of your newspaper, buttoning your shirt, cutting your meat and even pulling a weed.

By the time this is published, I expect to be back home and embarking on the third phase of my long, arduous journey. I will be in outpatient therapy. I’m now on the way back.

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