Many years ago the Dallas Cowboys met the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on one the coldest days in history. No joke, it was about 48 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor. That’s cold! I used to travel a lot and went to Maine one year and it was -40° degrees with the wind chill factor.
It was the second week of January, and being the not-so-smart business traveler I was, I saw myself in Augusta, Maine and noticed I was the only car on the road. I was getting a hotel room and everywhere I went there were boxes of tissues. Well, what happens to your nose during frigid temperatures is that it freezes and when it thaws out it and, well, you can probably guess why there are boxes of tissues everywhere. I cannot imagine doing anything in -40 degree weather, let alone play a football game. Can you imagine being there watching in -40 degree weather?!
Not a chance. But watching is what many of us do. We may watch when something happens and feel powerless to stop it. Watching is not easy, especially when critical care is required. At this time four years ago, I was in a coma, and the Super Bowl came and went. There I was and when I finally woke up I was burning up all the time. In fact the only time I could sleep or be in any kind of comfort was when someone was placing ice cubes on my head. Seriously. My wife Lisa, my sister Gayle and Angel Minsky, who has been friends with my wife Lisa for years - all took turns for hours on end to place ice on my head so I could actually be comfortable.
There is a real feeling of loss, especially when everything seems spinning out of control. I crashed in ways no one could ever imagine. In fact only one item, my heart, remained unaffected. But you can take some control. In an area where control seems lost, you can make yourself be noticed and that is by being yourself. My wife Lisa often says that without her girlfriend Angel she would not know where to turn, as well as my sister Gayle or my brother-in-law David, as they both called Lisa every morning and every night and visited every day. That’s every day, we never close, 24/7 ‘we-are-there-for-you’ attitude and spirit. Angel was there for about 17 out of 22 surgeries, was a real shoulder for Lisa to lean on and although on the surface level this may not appear to be too much, it really makes all the difference in the world.
So for anyone out there, who thinks that they are not doing all that much as they can ‘only’ call or visit, think again, because your efforts really do matter. As a patient, I can say from first hand experience it is where we can draw strength. Knowing that people care, knowing that there is concern, and knowing that without it life can venture into a slip string. It is why volunteer efforts to visit hospitals and nursing homes knowing that your visits matter are important to overall well being. Support comes in many forms and in ways we may not expect. The best part is that you can participate in it, and the results are immediate. Speaking of support and on a personal note, your comments regarding last week’s blog were very kind. I was quite touched by the outpouring of support. Note to self, need to hire my sister Gayle and my friend Beth for publicity. This year, I plan on watching the rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl and the only ice I hope to see is floating in my water glass.