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.
*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.
*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.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.