Sometimes, when we’re unable to go anywhere and are held down by ailments, aid can come from the most unexpected places. If you watched the Braves during the early 1990s, this may sound familar…
Shut-In But Not Shut Down
Remember back in church when they used to ask you to pray for the shut-ins? I was never quite certain what a shut-in was.
I went ahead and prayed for them anyway, but what was a shut-in? Somebody they had to keep boarded up like a dog that was bad to chase cars?
So for all of this time I didn’t even know what a shut-in was, and, then, I became one.
For the past two-and-a-half months I have, in fact, been a shut-in.
It took me four months to get over last spring’s harrowing heart surgery. My chest healed. My legs stopped hurting and my feet stopped swelling.
I even went back to the golf course. My partners allowed me to play from the ladies’ tees at the beginning. I had to endure a lot of remarks regarding various female problems I might be having as a result of my move to what I learned to refer to as the “forward tees,” but, quite comfortable in my masculinity, I ignored them as mere chirpings of sexist pork.
Then, my side starting hurting. I thought it might be a yeast infection.
Turned out it was this:
During my heart surgery I had been wired for a pacemaker in case I happened to need one during my recovery period.
Surgeons created a small pouch to the left of my navel for the wires. The wires became infected. The pouch became infected.
I became a shut-in.
I couldn’t play golf. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit up. For two months my doctors attempted to treat the problem with antibiotics.
But the infection wouldn’t go away. So, a week ago, I went back to Emory Hospital and surgeons removed the wires. The infection is gone.
In a couple of more weeks I’m supposed to be completely healed and a seven-month ordeal finally will be over. But what an ordeal. If I had known what the life of a shut-in was all about I would have prayed a lot harder for them.
You just sit there a lot. You sleep. You work crossword puzzles. You watch “The Streets of San Francisco” afternoon reruns on cable. You talk on the telephone.
“How you feelin’?”
” ‘Bout the same.”
“Anything I can do?”
“Yeah, tell Carl Malden to get a nose job.”
What saved me was the Atlanta Braves. I watched every inning of every game they played the last two months of the season.
Otis Nixon made that catch over the centerfield wall night after night on the WTBS promos. Sid Bream always scored that run against Pittsburgh and the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won, the Braves won.
I played the AFLAC trivia game. I saw that guy break his leg night after night at the company picnic softball game.
“Got any ideas?”
I did everything but enter the Goody’s Home Run Jackpot. Kent Mercker would have batted for me.
I saw the press box fire and I agreed with Don Sutton that “McRip” would be a better nickname for Fred McGriff than Crime Dog. Fred never chased a car in his life.
Rafael Belliard, by the way, saved the West Division pennant when he played like an all-star when Mark Lemke was out at second base. Lest we forget.
And each time they showed the Giants dugout, I noticed Dusty Baker drinking bottled water. Drymouth got the Giants.
I suppose what I’m doing here is thanking the Braves for the memories. Without them, what might I have done? Fallen into a deep well of depression? Called radio talk shows? Gone back to the vodka?
Pray for those who remain as shut-ins. Baseball season will soon be over.