There’s no place like home

Hindsight seems to come with rose-coloured glasses. No matter how bad it might feel at the time, it’s often not nearly as bad in reflection.

A week ago, Christian had laparoscopic surgery on two hernias. Following his ‘day surgery’, we expected to be able to drive back to Amherstburg. Except, things rarely go as planned. He developed something called post-operative urinary retention, which means he could not pee. As a result, he had not one but two catheters installed within three hours several hours into post-op. Sorry, if that’s too much information! Then finally, about 14 hours after arriving at St. Joe’s, our old local health care centre in Toronto, he was admitted to the hospital for observation. Released the next morning, he was told to return a week later to have the catheter removed. We won’t bore you with the goings-on of the week that followed, but let’s just say they were not only unexpected but also not altogether pleasant. We returned to St. Joe’s for the third time in a week with a certain level of anxiety. Still, knowing regardless of the outcome, we would be driving back to Amherstburg that afternoon. The complication resolved itself, and we were indeed able to leave Toronto with big smiles on our faces and one of us with a newfound spring in his step.

Since selling our house in Toronto five and a half years ago, the concept of home has confounded us. We began to believe that home was not so much a place as a feeling. While we have this rented apartment in Amherstburg (a four to five-hour drive from Toronto), we have kept our family doctor, respirologist, dentist and accountant in Toronto. Multiple trips back and forth since September and this past week, in particular, have us questioning that decision. We’re fortunate and grateful to have generous friends, Katherine and David, who allowed us to stay at their home for a week of painful recuperation in Toronto. But, let’s be honest, don’t we all just want to be home, in our own space when we are not feeling our best?!

Just the other day, we saw a trailer for the upcoming and final season of the Canadian television series, Schitt’s Creek. In the trailer, Catherine O’Hara, who plays Moira Rose, is walking through the fictional town of Schitt’s Creek dressed in one of her over-the-top ensembles speaking to the camera. She says, ‘…. won’t you join me for a stroll through the slice of paradise I like to call… the town where I currently am…’

Predictably, this made us laugh, but it also struck a chord. Ever since we moved to Amherstburg, we have searched for a word, any word that would describe the place where we have planted roots. Julie’s hometown, our pied à terre, our apartment, a part-time home base, a temporary home base, etc. We would come up with almost any description we could think of other than the word, home. Partly because it is a place neither of us ever wished to live or in Julie’s case, live again. However, after this past week, it is a place we could barely wait to return. It is as much a home as anywhere else we have ever lived. As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. And home, we are. There, we said it. We are home. At least until January when you’ll find us ‘at home in our Hymer’ bound for places as yet unknown to us!