"Mr.Gitchel, let's go up stairs and get rid of that toe, you don't need it any more."
My surgeon's invitation was the start of a transformational change back to who I really am. It's the moment I understood that change starts with a change of mindset. Funny thing, change. You can invest so much time resisting and pushing it out of view that you are totally surprised when it appears. The only thing that's really changed is I now have a cool hashtag, #NineToedJerry. Can't wait to see it start trending.
I didn't lose my big toe Friday night, I let it go. I struggled for 10 years to keep it. For those of us with this disease, when they start up the diabetic meat slicer, they don't turn it off until you're tooling about in a Hoveround.
For me, change started not in the operating room, but in my mind. Now I wonder why I didn't just let go sooner before I was forced into the decision.
My first question for you: What are you holding on to, that you should just let go?
My hospital could use some help with that. I know diabetic care; they do not. Worse, they were not open to a conversation. Then it hit me, they were trying to save the "toe". They were so into "the doctor ordered" and "hospital policy" that it took until Sunday to get the meds changed. That meant my body joined this fight late.
I let go of the toe; the infection has not let go of me. it's early Tuesday and my temperature is still elevated. Two doctors in two days told me they were ready to let me leave. Why?
I know an expert when it comes to change so I asked for a little help. Just a quote I could use. Of course, that's not his style. So please listen to what we are going to call "Randy Pennington's guest post". I'll be back in a minute with some insight and tips.
I am really sorry to hear about your toe and lousy hospital experience. But, I'm glad that you are on the road to recovery from the surgery.
Here are a few thoughts. Use them as you wish. I appreciate the opportunity.
Your nature to fight against a loss in the face of a disease like diabetes is what keeps you going. It is one of your most important weapons. And, it can be an anchor that keeps you from moving forward if you allow the loss to define you. We all experience this in some fashion. That is the nature of aging. Some of the losses are visible - like yours - while some of them are internal. They are all emotional.
The question for all of us when change isn't a choice is: "Do you think about the reality you could create, or do you allow your perception about the circumstances to dictate your response?"
Acknowledging reality is an important part of the process. It is equally important to consciously separate emotion from response and take stock of what has and hasn't changed. We all have a tendency to lose sight of the things that haven't changed when faced with a loss that represents change. Your doctor's comments that you don't need this toe any more helped you shift your mindset. And, mindset is the key factor when dealing with change that isn't a choice.
And now for one quick comment on the hospital - To resist change when you know that staying the same has the potential to endanger others is arrogance. It might be different if this hospital was locked away in a time bubble and didn't know that there were other options for communicating. But that isn't the case. You can look at it as trying to save the toe, but I see it as a failure in leadership that didn't create a patient-centered culture where everyone takes responsibility for doing their part to achieve the desired outcome. They might argue that they don't have the funds to pay for technology upgrades, but clear processes followed by everyone don't cost money - only commitment.
Be well, my friend,
As always, exceptional insight, eloquent, exceeded expectations.
I asked for a quote, Randy delivered truth.Thanks Randy.
Change starts the moment you decide, before you've spent a dime. So why wait, change.
Ideas You Can Use
- 24 Hour Rescission Notice - Call it buyers remorse if you will. You can decide to change, then rescind it if you choose.
- The first lesson I learned about fitness is you not only have the ability to get fit, you also have the responsibility. This simple core concept lead to losing 45 lbs.
- When you think you don't have what you need, you are wrong. All you have to do is ask (thanks Randy).
- Fear is a great GPS. It means you're heading in the right direction.
- Read Make Change Work, by Randy Pennington