(#198) Appreciation

It was a reminder to appreciate my obligations
and continue to find and embrace ways to meet them head on.

Two and a half weeks ago I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder. Having gone through the process almost three years ago on my right wing, I had realistic expectations for what lay ahead.

While I still have about three-and-one-half months to go for full recovery, I am in full appreciation mode. Having to navigate the world with a wing in a sling for a few weeks has forced me to slow down (a little bit) and reflect on what’s important.  Here is my surgery-inspired gratitude list.

*Perspective. Shoulder surgery can be painful but it is not deadly. I am not dealing with cancer or a heart attack. At worst it’s an inconvenience. I still taught my classes and was able to meet my speaking obligations.

At my first PT session 4 days post-op

At my first PT session 4 days post-op

*Marvels of medicine.   I hear a lot of people bad mouth our medical system. All I know is an MRI was able to confirm the problem and my doctor has the tools and expertise to fix me.

*My doctor. Two shoulder surgeries but one doctor. Dr. Steven Lancaster (Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute) exhausted all possibilities before “cutting” on me. Gotta love a surgeon whose default setting is NOT to immediately operate.

*Pain control. Immediately following the first surgery, on a scale of 1 to 10 my pain was 25! This time around, thanks to a new technology (On-Q), my pain was minimal.

*My PT. I discovered from my first shoulder surgery that the key to a successful recovery is to religiously follow the prescribed physical therapy. My physical therapy team knows its stuff.

*Insurance. I am thankful to have coverage for this process. Not sure I’d be able to afford it otherwise.

*My bed. For the first 9 nights after surgery I had to sleep in a reclining chair. Enough said.

*Acting now! I’ve heard physically active folks say they would not want to interrupt their activities for four months.  True. I will miss out on full workouts…but in four months I will have recovered. If I had kicked the can down the road, guess where I would be in four months? I would be four months older and still with declining strength and limited range of motion.

At a speaking engagement 2 weeks post-op

At a speaking engagement 2 weeks post-op

*Limitations. I have a renewed appreciation for people with real disabilities.  As temporary an inconvenience as this has been (and let’s be real, that is what this has been–an inconvenience), I remind myself that there are millions of people with permanent disabilities who have to learn to navigate their world with accommodations of one sort another. My respect is immense.

*My wife.  I’m a weenie when it comes to pain and inconvenience.  My wife was always present to wrap my shoulder with ice, drive me here and there, and keep a watchful eye out for my well-being. The first two nights she slept on the couch next to my chair.  My own private-duty nurse.

*Dependable transportation. I could not drive for two weeks after surgery. I had to depend on friends for rides. Because I have dependable friends, I did not miss any appointments or obligations. I have renewed empathy for folks who must constantly depend upon others or public transportation.

*No excuses. Yes, I’ve had to make lots of adjustments that cost me time and money. But I did not make excuses. It was a reminder to appreciate my obligations and continue to find and embrace ways to meet them head on.

*Surrender. People who know me understand that one of my flaws is my need to control situations. This recovery has forced me to surrender to circumstances that I cannot control or speed up.

*God. All the above did not happen by chance. I might not understand the plan…but I believe there is one.

It’s easy to complain. I know I do my share. And fear can be paralyzing.  I find it so much healthier to reflect on the blessings around me. The challenges do make me stronger–and more appreciative of what I have.


Video recommendation for the week:

Focus on gratitude and cast fear aside.


Make it a wonderful week— H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

4 Responses to (#198) Appreciation

  1. […] couple months back, I wrote on this blog about my most recent shoulder surgery. (I had my right shoulder done 3 years ago. This year I “balanced” things with work on the left […]

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  2. Jesse Kreidel says:

    I really like this blog because i think it speaks on a very good topic. I for one, can be quick to to complain because something didn’t turn out exactly the way i wanted it to. Appreciating little parts of the day can improve my character in many ways. There have been times when my mom offered to take me to a specific restaurant. The only problem was, i wasn’t in the mood for that restaurant. Instead of appreciating the fact that my mom was taking the time to think about me, i choose to wish she had taken me to a place that I wanted. That’s not a healthy way for me to think or live.

    Reading this blog has allowed me to think of things that i can appreciate. I have been very fortunate in my early years, and I’m only nineteen years old. I have been given many chances and opportunities that other kids may not of been able to have. I am learning to be appreciative of things because it doesn’t just help me, it helps the people around me. This blog really stood out to me, I’m glad i read it. I can now step back and look at my life and know where i need to make changes. I appreciate the people around me helping me get to college, college has been the best decision I’ve made to this point.

    Jesse

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  3. […] 198. Appreciation * It was a reminder to appreciate my obligations and continue to find and embrace ways to meet them head on. […]

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