I want to take a moment to give some kudos to my bride of almost 34 years, Linda. She is 3+ weeks following a knee-replacement surgery and less than two weeks away from her second one on May 9. It has been a challenging journey for her from the effects of the pain meds after surgery to dealing with the rehab exercises and the difficulty doing everyday things that she would normally not think twice about. But she is doing what it takes to improve daily and shows the determination to do what is best in the long run even when she may not feel like doing it. I am extremely proud of her and the determination she shows daily.
All of us avoid pain, of course. To go through daily exercise routines to the point of pain because you know it’s good for you takes a special person with an inner strength that not everyone has. She has me help her with some of the exercises by pushing her leg to bend more than she can on her own for a second or two – something that feels incredibly weird for me when I know the outcome is her yelling at the point of pain. She thinks I enjoy it in some evil way, but I don’t. Still, I’ll gladly do whatever she wants and needs if it helps.
We’ve all heard the phrase ”no pain…no gain” as a motivator to get us to stretch ourselves in exercise and attempts at fitness. Many of us would much rather live by the motto of “no pain…no pain” instead.
There are moments when Linda is a bit apprehensive or weepy about going through all of this again in two weeks with the other knee. I told her a couple of nights ago in one such moment not to think about two weeks from now, but about 6-8 weeks from now. What she is enduring for a couple of months is setting her up to be in a much better place for years to come regarding mobility compared to what she was experiencing prior to the surgeries. She knows that and will successfully keep the long view in mind.
Each of us has challenges we face, goals to achieve, things that cost us some pain and discomfort – physical or otherwise – on the way to victory. If we only concern ourselves with what is expedient and pleasurable in the moment, we’ll never cross those long-term finish lines.
On a related note, I have a number of friends and work colleagues who ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon today in Louisville (a half marathon of 13.1 miles), some for the first time. They didn’t cross that finish line only because of what they did today, but because of what they’ve done for weeks, months and years leading up to today. They willingly endured some self-inflicted pain prior to today so that today they could feel the jubilation of individual victory. I applaud them all. I’ve done that half-marathon a few times myself and I know how satisfying it is to complete it.
To coworkers who go the extra mile to get things done and to do them well, to friends and family who choose to live life with determination and fortitude, and especially to Linda who is as tough as anyone I know, thank you for your attitude, your sacrificial efforts and example, and for inspiring me daily to do what it takes.