Who wants to pay money for a magazine called PainPathways?
I wouldn’t want to be reminded of pain in its many and varied forms each and every month of the year. Nor would I want to read about the intense suffering of individuals on a monthly basis. Finally, why would I voluntarily choose this type of leisure reading when it has nothing to do with me?
Unless it does?
I’m making a discovery and not so much liking what I’m unearthing and it all revolves around a single theme.
I look at my life in two segments these days — before shoulder surgeries and after shoulder surgeries.
In my before shoulder surgeries life, I considered myself blessed with wonderfully good health. I didn’t see much out there that I couldn’t tackle if I wanted to make the attempt. Most days I felt confident and self-assured that with hard work, sacrifice, and due diligence, just about anything was possible.
Contrast that to my after shoulder surgeries life where I find myself giving considerable thought to how I feel each day (not feel as in the warm and fuzzies of emotions, but as in how my physical body feels) and I don’t like it. I’m continually weighing whether or not I should do some physical activity/chore whereas in my before shoulder surgery life I wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
This after shoulder surgery thinking has changed me (it’s also changed my mind about my reading material) because like it or not, I no longer can open a magazine such as PainPathways and feel indifferent toward its content.
I don’t read an article on managing pain anymore and inwardly give thanks thinking, “I’m glad that’s not me!” More often than not, I find myself resonating with the people, their stories, their struggles, their frustrations, their feelings of weariness, and think to myself, “Wait…that IS me.
While I would love to go back to a point in my life where I wasn’t hurting (and when was that?) I’m finding there are lots to be grateful for right where I’m at today.
As I reflect upon the last seven years, I realize that so much good has come into my life that I never would have experienced had I not needed to have my shoulders repaired.
Like so much in life, what we go through (and how we go through it) is a matter of seeing the good (in the difficulties) and embracing (or at least accepting what comes as instructors to make us better people.)
In no specific order, here’s my after shoulder surgery “good life” list.
Greater compassion for people who suffer.
A willingness to truly hear people talk through what they’re struggling with.
A heightened sensitivity toward recognizing pain in others.
A heartfelt desire to make a difference (that makes a difference.)
Lots of new material to jumpstart writing projects.
The rare opportunity to actually see operations performed.
Meeting great new people in the medical community (as well as the patients they serve.)
Developing a far greater respect for the high level of professionalism and commitment embraced by those who give their lives to care for (people like me.)
A connection to those who deal with hardship and pain (in all its forms) every single day and don’t give up (they are my heroes!)
Reviewing this list I know without a doubt that my before shoulder surgery life doesn’t even compare with my after shoulder surgery life.
I’ll take today (any day of the week) for the rest of my life.