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Tom Philip’s Journal
Tom Philip has written a journal entitled "Don’t be a man: Do the right thing", which is an ongoing series about living with cancer from Tom’s perspective.
Seek home for rest, for home is best
by Tom Philip
Thomas Tussler, a 15th century English poet and farmer, coined many philosophical phrases that we still use today.
“A fool and his money is soon parted,” was certainly echoed in my childhood home when, yet again, I’d spent my 10-cent allowance at the Woolworth’s candy counter. I’m sure I said the same words to my own kids, or to scorn someone who made the headlines after squandering millions in lottery winnings in a few short years.
“Sweet April showers do make May flowers” is another Tussler truism, as is “At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.” But the Tussler quote that hit home for me recently was, “Seek home for rest, for home is best.”
Home. A place of refuge for most of us. A place from which we leave according to our schedules, and to which we return to get warm, to gather with family and friends, to eat and drink, and to rest.
In an earlier article in this series about dealing with colorectal cancer, I hope I made clear my belief that hospitals are not places to be if you want to remain healthy. During my 11 days of post-surgical care in hospital, I had a jumble of tubes dripping stuff into me, tubes draining things away, regular injections of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, hourly readings of my vital signs, a mysterious infection (the medical staff never did figure out what it was) that left me delirious with fever for two days, food that isn’t likely found in any cookbook in your house or mine, and a full-body case of hives that developed when I reacted badly to an antibiotic.
Oh, and did I mention the night nurse who woke me out of deep, deep sleep, the day after my fever broke, by turning on the bank of lights directly over my head, jolting me awake instantly, and sending my heart rate and blood pressure to realms where no man has gone before? She wanted to take my vital signs, and apparently I had to be completely awake for that.
“Are you taking medication for high blood pressure,” she asked in alarm, her eyes wide and fixed on the numbers.
“No,” I replied, my voice barely under control, “Now what would make you think that?”
“Well, Mr. Philip, your blood pressure is nearly off the chart,” she said.
“Now, I wonder what could have triggered that,” I barked back at her, just before I suggested that it might be good for her health if she left my room … immediately!
“Please, please, please,” I begged my surgeon the next morning. “Send me home so I can get some rest. I’m never going to heal in here.”
Apparently, the story about “cranky and miserable” Mr. Philip’s close encounter with Nurse Inconsiderate had made ward rounds just before my surgeon made his, so the good doctor was not surprised by my request.
“You know, someone once said that home is the best place for rest, and I think that’s true,” said Dr. Stratford, whom I had just elevated to ‘best doctor of all time’ status. “You’re ready to go home and take care of yourself.”
“Tom Tussler said that, doc,” I replied, already reaching for the phone to call Linda with the good news. “He sure was a smart fellow, for someone who lived in the 15th century.”
And so I came home, unquestioningly the best place to continue this journey.
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