Lessons from Surgery

Published On: December 22, 2023By Categories: Business Management, Editor's Note, Editor’s Note

By Thad Plumley

There were a lot of nerves bouncing through my body when the nurse started wheeling me down the hall to the surgical suite where I would have my left knee replaced.

The nervousness was drowned though by hope. Hope that I would be pain free for the first time in years and that I could resume the life I used to have that included regular walks with my wife Claudia.

I’m happy to report that we can check off the first one. The pain is gone. I’m also confident the second will get a check mark too as I continue to get stronger with the aid of physical therapists who have learned to deal with me exclaiming, “Oh, come on?” after demonstrating exercises they want me to do.

However, I will add that surgery this past fall gave me much more than a titanium knee and changed much more than the way I will go through airport security for the rest of my life.

I truly learned the value of organization. Texts started coming two days before the surgery that had the same message: A prescription is ready for pickup. All told, I got nine of those texts. Nine prescriptions—along with six exercises to do three to five times a day as well as icing and elevating the knee three times a day—is a lot to keep track of.

Thankfully, Claudia is a Super Bowl coach when it comes to crafting a game plan. She quickly created a table that listed everything, and the orders started coming: “You have two pills to take.” “You haven’t iced and elevated this morning.” and “After lunch, you need to do your exercises.” and more were heard for weeks throughout our house.

I also realized I need to try things that are uncomfortable. “Why are you are still carrying that?” my physical therapist Dave asked as he gestured toward my cane at the beginning of an appointment. I looked at him surprised. “Have you tried not using it? Let’s put it away for today’s session.” We did, and when I got home, I put it away again. I haven’t touched it since.

I quickly learned too during physical therapy to not worry about what others are doing. Once when I was struggling to stand on just the leg with the new knee and touch points on a wall, a person nearby was crouched on one leg swinging a medicine ball above his head.

“Geez,” I thought, but then I remembered he was there for a reason. There was probably something I could do that he could not.

So moving forward (or should I say stepping forward), I plan to approach life with more organization, try new things, and not worry if they aren’t what everyone else is doing. I suggest you join me in this philosophy.

Heck, it might even make for a good business plan for your company too.


Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and the director of publications for the National Ground Water Association. He is currently the secretary for the AM&P Network Associations Council Advisory Board. The AM&P Network is a national association for publishing professionals.. He can be reached at tplumley@ngwa.org, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.

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