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The Middle Seat to Hawaii

Updated: May 8, 2023

Crowded airline passenger seats

Recently I overheard a woman complaining of being wedged into the middle seat on a trip to Hawaii. Ever struggle with, gripe about, lament the “troubles” you have? We all, to some extent, are a bit entitled at times. We feel, or perceive, that we are being mistreated. That somehow life has been unfair or unkind. I experienced this recently on the back side of knee replacement surgery.

Always priding myself on independence and being able to physically do the things needed for work, family, etc. the decision to undertake knee replacement was difficult but necessary. Both of my knees, due to the mentioned activities, sports and a dash of bad genetics had resulted in “bone on bone” status limiting my abilities to engage in normal activities. The left knee being the worst, I decided to address it first.

There was obviously the issue of cost to consider, but primary were the considerations of provider and anticipated outcomes. I chose a physician who had been referred and went on the schedule. Leading up to the surgery, the physicians office and the surgery center were very deliberate in touching all the bases to ensure a smooth prep, check in and procedure. Accordingly, as best I could tell, the surgery went well and I was released (quickly) to rehab and recover at home.

Then it hit……………..the nerve block wore off and the pain set in. PT was excruciating and relief from constant swelling and pain was simply not available. See where this is going? Poor me. I was experiencing pain over a few days and not getting the results I wanted i.e. mobility, less pain, RECOVERY! So I whined to my wife, God, the cat, anyone who would listen until one morning I ran across a video on LinkedIn about a guy relearning to walk. Over the course of two years he had been fighting to take steps making almost imperceptible progress – I had been in this for two days!

Never mind that I was able to pay for it or that my surgeon and staff were very good at what they did. Never mind that the technology even allowed this procedure and there was the hope, if not expectation, that I would recover full mobility. Never mind that I had undergone a significant surgical procedure and escaped infection or complication.

When I viewed that video and reflected on all that I had been given in prayers preceding the procedure, care during the procedure and care following the procedure, I realized how “entitled” my attitude was. I was overlooking some huge blessings and gifts, focusing on the poor pitiful me. Not anymore. Yep, PT is a workout. Yep, there is pain in the recovery. Yep, sometimes progress seems frustratingly slow. But my challenges are nothing compared to so many others. Others with financial, physical, mental, family challenges that ARE struggles.

So, the next time you’re stuck in the middle seat on a flight to Hawaii, remember…………………You’re going to HAWAII! and consider adjusting your attitude to reflect gratitude for the blessings in your life.

If you get stuck or struggle at times finding your balance, reframing your thoughts, managing your emotions – drop us a note or take a walk through our blog for methods and ideas on self-regulation. Improving your ability to self-manage will enable you to better influence others, navigate difficulty, perservere and enjoy more of your everyday life.


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