Damn you, Journey, you’ve done it to me again.
I was in the hospital for the first time in 1983, the start of my senior year in high school. It was a horrible prolonged smack-down of intestinal surgery — tubes everywhere, infection, multiple surgeries. I was in the hospital for a solid month; I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t rest, was scared out of my mind of dying, wasn’t allowed any food, was in constant pain and fear.
I wasn’t a Journey fan then. I knew of the group, I liked the hits from Escape, that was it. But then my friend Polly — who was a raving loon for Steve Perry — visited with a copy of Frontiers and dropped it into the cheap black-plastic GE radio/cassette player my parents had gotten me. “Just listen,” she said.
Not exactly the album you’d expect to heal, but…something about it… I was able to focus on the music, breathe in and to the rhythms, and just listen. By the time “Faithfully” tiptoed into the room, I was asleep, deeply and easily, the first real sleep I’d had since going into the hospital.
That tape was constantly playing in the hospital, that & Escape, which Polly brought in the next day & which had the same effect. I can’t describe the relief those cassettes gave me, just focusing and listening to the music, the rhythms, the care and emotions, the hope…
Fast-forward 28 years.
I’m now on my fifth intestinal surgery, adhesions & whatnot, all stemming from continuing issues from the ’83 crap. I just got out of the hospital yesterday; they’d had to resect about a foot of small intestine to get the capsule out and clear out a mess of adhesions around the rest of my guts.
I woke up today sick with nausea and in pain, weak and dehydrated from constant diarrhea as my insides struggle to get back to normal functioning, sweating from the effort of just getting out of bed. Usually I’m an active, mostly fit person — I biked to the Revelation show here in Columbus when Journey was last in town, a good 6 mile ride. Barely managed to get down a piece of toast and glass of juice.
I struggled out to the couch, turned on my iMac and iTunes…
…and got smacked in the head, heart and soul by “City of Hope”. And “Edge”, and “Chain”…hell, just the whole Eclipse album. I’m still curled on the couch, warm furry cat purring against my side and husband watching me with worry open in his eyes, and I’m listening to Eclipse. And re-listening. And crying my eyes out from sheer overwhelmed emotion and hope, breathing in and to the rhythms and music, feeling the “sick” ease off.
Damn you, Journey. You got me again. And thank you. Thank you.
And Journey? Don’t EVER let the Perry Trolls get to you. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you your music’s not worth making. Don’t you EVER.