As I got a little bit of bonus time to sit back and do some thinking over the last few days, this quote was something that came to mind during those moments. When I read this today, I knew I had to share some thoughts and ideas from time spent contemplating life recently.
You see, I had knee-replacement surgery this past Tuesday, July 15 and during my stay in the hospital for a few days I did take many moments and thinking of all of the many things that I am grateful for. I’m happy to say that it wasn't the hospital stay that did this for me, for I have thought about these things during other times of my life. But it was the hospital stay that reminded me about them and I did get to spend more time taking these thoughts in and dwelling on them a lot more than I normally would have.
First thought that came to mind was my health. Here I was having major surgery on my right knee, yet this was to make it better along with improving my quality of life for everything else; work, doing things with family, not being held back with things I could not do anymore, etc. There is a saying that if we have our health, we have it all. I couldn't agree more. After seeing others in the same predicament and other issues in the hospital, I can honestly say it one major item in my life that I need to work on more in the future and that is taking better care of myself.
Second thought was my family. I cannot say enough about my wife Susanne. What she is sacrificing to help me during this time is amazing. I know there are many times where we get under each others’ skins with the things we do and say, but the love, dedication and support she has given to me during these first few days it’s all been things that I have not left gone unnoticed. My parents, at age 48 I am still blessed to have my parents in my life where I know for many others my age, older and younger; they cannot say the same thing. I know too many people that have lost their parents and can never see them again here in this life. I've reminded my kids plenty of times to make sure they take the time to visit with and talk to all 4 of their grandparents for that’s another rarity in life. Being 20 or 18 years old and still having all of your grandparents around is such a cool thing that everyone knows won't last.
My mom came out for the surgery to sit with my wife. Then both my parents came out the next day to visit me in the hospital and I had just got done with my first session of Physical Therapy. I was in so much pain while they were there for their visit. They just supported me for a little bit of time and then they knew I just needed my medicine along with rest, so they took off after a short visit. Then my wife and kids came in during the evening of that first day in the hospital after my surgery. My daughter’s boyfriend came too, which was great. I loved the moments I got to share with them that evening. My wife came back to visit on Thursday which was great. Just her and I having some time together – she even snuck in something from Taco Bell for me too. Then on Friday, I was going home. My parents come through again. They came out to the hospital and helped make sure everything was okay, asking questions that I didn't, making sure we all knew the about the discharge instructions, helping to pack up the few things that I had there with me, just making sure I got home safe.
Third – the amount of texts and well wishes that I got before my surgery and after. It meant so much to me the messages and notes I got from people that remembered that I was having this surgery. I really didn't post anything about this ahead of time. Maybe I should have, but I've always been a guy that doesn't like to put the spotlight on myself. But at the same time, I figured I could write about this and maybe do some other things with this part of my story because maybe it would help someone else going through things that they are facing.
Fourth, the smiles from the staff that worked with me there at the hospital. Amazing! It’s been really amazing looking back in this process with all the health care professionals I've dealt with during the last few years battling this knee and other issues. Their attitudes and professionalism has been one the key factors with me wanting to take on and deal with these things head on. Their support, caring attitudes, time spent with me and yes their smiles, have all been a very positive difference with me and this entire process.
Another one that I actually had to do and of course it was a great reminder for all of us too, and that is counting our breaths. I had to count taking deep breaths on a little portable plastic device that measured my breath and when to exhale. This was set up to help displace any pneumonia scares by giving my lungs a good workout even though I was going to be in bed a lot. So there I was counting my breaths during all the different times of day and night. I always remember the line from Tuesday’s With Morrie, where Morrie tells Mitch that it’s a good idea to count our breaths once in awhile, it helps us to keep from putting things off that we know we have to do. As I counted my breaths, it got me thinking how grateful that I am still able to take my own breaths and how precious they really are in our lives.
Finally, this quote got me thinking about that first night back in my own cozy bed. If you have ever stayed in a hospital, I think we all can agree that a good night’s sleep is not usually found there without medications mind you. I slept decently during my stay as I shared a room with a roommate. With medical people coming in during all hours of the night for both of us, it was easy to not get a complete night of rest. My bed really has never felt any better than on that first night back.
Of course there are many more things that I am thankful for, but these were the ones I connected with this quote. How about you? Take a few moments to count your breaths along with some of the many things you are grateful for and let me or others know about it as just by you sharing your grateful items will help others to focus on what they have to be thankful for in their lives.