By Mike Day
Several weeks ago, I had minor surgery. I now understand the saying, “it’s only minor surgery when it’s happening to someone else.” While this surgical procedure meant I would be off my feet for a few days, the surgeon said I’d be good to go in five days. In five days, I was horizontal, in pain, and unable to go about my daily routine. Two weeks later, I was no better and experiencing other complications.
As a pastor, I’m used to being the caregiver. I’m the one who asks, “What can I do for you? How can I help?” I’m the one who visits others in hospitals and nursing homes. I’ve been in this caregiving profession since I was 20.
After my surgery, I had to learn to be a care receiver. Here’s a few lessons I learned from being on the other side of the caring process.
Kiss Control Goodbye
These past weeks, I was reminded how much I like control. From the time I wake up in the morning, I’m used to controlling just about every facet of my life. Not these past three weeks! I even turned over the remote control to my wife Leigh Anne.
Now that I’m feeling better, I want to be open to moments of spontaneity. I don’t have to be such a control freak; I need to loosen up and enjoy those unscheduled surprises.
When the surgeon said I’d be back to normal in five days, I expected that I could beat that and be full speed in three to four days. What a disappointment when three weeks later, I was still far from full speed. I’ve learned in the process you can only make so much happen when it comes to your body healing.
I’ve always set goals and expectations for most areas of my life. These past couple of weeks I’ve realized that giving myself and others a little grace is actually healthy.
When you can’t do much for yourself, you really appreciate those who help you out. My wife and daughters stepped up and pulled me through some challenging situations during this time. I’m grateful for a church staff that carried the load and friends who checked on me during my time away. While we can often take family and friends for granted, during times of need you realize the value of people in your life.
I’m also grateful for good health and all the opportunities that come with having a healthy body.
I’m glad to be transitioning back into the caregiver role. I will, however, continue to reflect on my time as a patient and glean more lessons that will make me a better person.