Knowing Yourself

The last couple of days have been a real “glass half full, glass half empty” internal debate week for me.  That type of chaos in my self-talk usually means it’s time to rebalance my Feng Shui.  Do I study Feng Shui, well not really, I have researched some aspects of it but I can’t really say I’m married to it.  But I don’t golf, don’t hike or cycle and I’m retired, sort of, so I had to do something.  I figured burning candles, arranging rocks and hanging wind-chimes was as good as any.

When I was fifteen in the Children’s Hospital there was a period where I would spend Saturday morning listening to a buddy (another polio) practice his trumpet lessons.  A few of us would gather in Tom’s room on Saturday mornings to listen to him practice.  Herb Alpert was pretty popular at the time so brass instruments were favoured.  Plus it was easier to practice a trumpet when you were on bedrest for months at a time than it was a guitar.

Mind you this had nothing to do with listening to the trumpet, the reality was it was a distraction to drown out the cries of an eleven year old burn victim.  Saturday’s were the day the nurses would scrub down the tub room and sterilize it before soaking him in the tub to peel away his dressings.  Then they would apply the new ones. I don’t think I need to be all that descriptive in his reaction but it was enough for a handful of us to mask it with trumpet music.  The treatment of burns in 1965 was no where near where it is today but it was all done with the best of intentions.  This poor kid had been trapped in his farm home when the fire broke out and was terribly burnt.  He never went home…I have no reason to ever see the glass half empty!

The distraction Tom’s trumpet provided also supported the purpose of our polio camaraderie, staying focused on a world where the “glass was half full”.  I like to believe that the most successful of the polio community that grew up in that hospital went on with a purpose to make a much more inclusive world, in part, for all the kids that never made it home from the hospital.Continue reading “Knowing Yourself”