Visit your sick friends, don’t stay away

Hospital-building.jpgI am going to visit Larry Bird in the hospital in the next day or so. He just had knee surgery and he will be sidelined for a while.

This is not the Larry Bird you are thinking about. He is the Larry Bird nobody knows about who works out in my gym at Planet Fitness.

A couple years ago there is no way I would visit him in the hospital because I thought most people wanted to be left alone following surgery or an illness. Then I found myself in the hospital for five days and hoped that every set of foot steps I heard in the hallway were coming to my room.

I talked to other patients, including a man diagnosed with cancer, and they all talked about the importance of visitations.

When we are down and out we need people more than we need peace and quiet. I was happiest when my room was filled and full of banter than when it was desolate and quiet.

Besides, you get enough peace and quiet late at night and early the next morning.

It is great to know that somebody cares. I cried when my neighbors Joe and Nancy poked their heads in when I was a patient at Henry Ford Hospital. I thought I’d never see them again and was overcome with joy when I saw them.

A few of my friends apologized for not visiting. They did not hear from me and thought I needed solitude. Some did come and it brought the biggest smile on my face. Now I am a hospital visitor, not  guy who will stay away.

I know Larry Bird is in pain as he recovers from knee surgery. I simply want to bring a smile to his face.


Somebody put the flames out

I’ve learned a valuable lesson during my work outs to better health.

Just because you can lift a certain weight 20 times doesn’t mean you should.

That’s why I find myself on a training table at a Henry Ford Hospital clinic with a giant bag of ice on my right shoulder after a half hour rehabilitation session to ease the pain.

It feels like somebody struck a match and placed the flames on my shoulder for fun.  I cannot scratch my back with my right hand. I cannot pick something off the floor without the pain of John Snow stabbing me with a sword.

When I suffered a stroke a year ago, one of the deficits was a weak right arm. I wanted to add strength and did it through occupational therapy and weight training. I was on a roll until somebody struck that match.

Now I am in pain and am working hard to get rid of it.

My daily work outs continue but I’ve cut back on the weights for a while. I admire the guys with chiseled arms. I never aspired to be a hulk but I also didn’t want my arms looking like a chicken in the poultry department in Kroger.

I lost sight of one of my mottos in the gym. You are not competing with anybody else in the gym. You are only competing to make yourself better today than you were yesterday.

Everybody has been on the training table. I told my crew that I work out in with at Planet Fitness and they told me all the exercises I’d go through during rehab. They all worked too hard or worked to long and found themselves working with two-pound weights to make shoulders or arms feel better.

One of my pals joked that I need to lift a 22 ounce Blue Moon to feel better.

Even Paul ‘Bunyan has been there. He is a well-built guy who I jokingly gave the name to because he claims he can put down 15 yards of mulch in 15 minutes and can shovel your drive way with a spoon quicker than you can with a snow plow.

He can lift an entire rack of weights but he told me he wrecked his shoulder a few years ago and stood off on the sidelines doing rehab with his two-pound weights.

But you get through it and keep fighting the best you can.

I just want somebody to put the flames out.





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