“Nothing eases suffering like the human touch.”
- Bobby Fischer
I’ve often wondered if I could endure solitary confinement. One never knows for sure, but I believe I could. As long as I have access to books and writing utensils, that would suffice.
A life of bachelorhood has prepared me for seclusion. I’m not antisocial, but I am sort of a solitary guy.
A spinal infection in 2004 served as an involuntary dress rehearsal for what I’m experiencing now. Two exploratory spinal taps within six days rendered me speechless and nearly comatose. Vicodin did little to alleviate the persistent pain.
Relegated to a human pin cushion, I was the target of many nurses’ needles. Pain in both my spine and kidneys was so sinister I prayed for the relief of a soothing sleep.
Alas, it did not arrive.
It was the worst night of my life, and I was all alone. Morning seemed a light year away.
Suddenly, a nurse entered my room. She pulled a chair to the right side of my bed and promptly sat down.
The kindly caregiver was new and reminded me of a friend from high school. She asked how she could help.
I shook my head slightly from side to side and shot her a look of despair. I was ready to relinquish my man card and surrender to tears. It hurt really bad.
She touched me softly on the forehead, then reached beneath the sheet and found my right hand with her left palm. She massaged my hand ever so gently.
She began to whisper, assuring me everything would be all right. Her human touch was a magic wand. Moments later, I fell asleep and didn’t awaken until morning.
The nurse had steered me through the most difficult hours of my life. No medicine necessary. Her miracle cure was merely a tender touch.
I didn’t experience that unique feeling again for a decade. My college sweetheart contacted me unexpectedly via a message. She was in Indianapolis and … unattached.
This was too tempting to be true. We exchanged messages for a few weeks, then she called me. We agreed to meet in Bloomington.
As anticipated, the reunion was a tad uncomfortable. Our paths had taken so many twists and turns. Yet, the eyes and the giggle were the same.
Just as I was ready to depart, she reached over and grabbed my hand. It was nothing shy of electric, an intimate moment I shall never forget.
As I type this, many of you are anxious to reconnect with your loved ones. Grandmothers and grandfathers have been separated from their grandchildren. They long to hug and kiss those precious treasures, hold them closer than ever before.
The sad truth is ... it’s not safe yet. We must be patient and follow the rules.
I know it’s confounding and cruel, but you can endure it. Be imaginative, find other ways to let your loved ones know you miss them.
Remember that human touch. Recall how good and comforting it feels.
Soon, we can reconnect. Oh, how sweet it shall be.
Contact Columnist Bob Bridge at 812-276-9646 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.