Ready. Fire! Aim. 10 thoughts after undergoing surgical enhancement.

Six days into recovery from shoulder surgery, I’ve already experienced an entire crop cycle. Here are 10 thoughts of dubious import, post-surgery:

  1. “Everything is Figureoutable.” (Marie Forleo)
    • Gilmore Worldwide Headquarters currently offers zero sick time. It was tempting to continue on with the bum-shoulder status quo, but life was being affected in real ways. Since there was nothing online to indicate that I’d be able to operate an urban farm after going under the knife, I opted to approach the procedure as an act of faith with minimal forethought. My work consists of delighting the customer by raising happy, healthy crops week in and week out. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. None of this is rocket science. I’d need to rely on family. That is the sum total of all I knew going into this.
  2. Pain is a gift.
    • It sure beats the dead, frozen limb I returned home to last Friday.
    • Pain sets limits and determines boundaries.

3. Having surgery three miles down the road at an outpatient surgery center in a strip-mall, across the street from McDonalds, is awesome! I was in at 5 and out at 9:30 am with life-altering surgery under my belt before some folks had even finished breakfast. There was no maze of corridors to walk through, parking ramps, or bureaucracy to navigate.

4. Stop kicking the can down the road. I delayed this outcome for seven years, and could have had this taken care of ages ago while safely cradled in the bosom of Corporate America. How sweet would it have been to collect work comp or short-term disability while recovering for two months? I should have acted quicker. Instead, I got laid off and things got complicated. I woke up to the inevitability of this surgery a couple weeks ago, and booked it before I could start overthinking this thing again.

5. It’s wonderful to be forced into accepting help. Being a bit of a stickler, I’ve been less than great at involving the family in the little details of Tiny Farm Duluth. I never knew what I’ve been missing out on! Today was, “Bring your wife to work day,” while we delivered a modest harvest across town. Sitting in the passenger seat while she drove the car was fabulous. I loved introducing her to many of my favorite grocery peeps, and giving her a peek behind the scenes in the various receiving areas. Daily waterings have been bonding times with my daughter, and here’s my son helping me plant peas a couple days ago:

This work isn’t rocket science. It just needs to be done consistently.

6. Rather than fret about details in advance of the procedure, STAY BUSY. On the day of the surgery I worked from 4:00 to 4:50 am getting the work done for the day. Plantings were timed perfectly to be unstacked and placed under the lights mere moments before I left the house. I was to arrive at the surgical suite at 5 am, so there was literally no time to sit around and worry. Being a chronic overthinker, this was a valuable life lesson.

7. Ready. Fire! Aim. It’s impossible to know all the variables before going through with it. You’ll figure things out as the specific details unfurl before you. In my case, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could actually perform the harvest just 5 days after surgery. Family members stood around waiting for simple commands to move this and that around, but I cut thousands of little plants myself.

8. Simple acts of love are magnified tenfold when you go through these sorts of things. I arrived home on the morning of surgery, head still in a fog, to discover 18 home-brewed beers from a local Lutheran bishop who lives down our street. The friendly card included was the best I’ve received all year. It’s amazing to get a sense that a guy really believes in you. We all need more of this.

The bishop’s brews arrived in vintage bottles like this. Seeing and holding the bottle gives as much pleasure as actually drinking it.

Tonight my mother-in-law is dropping off meatloaf. Priceless. I want to be more like this for others.

9. Reading is awesome. No need to waste all this extra time I’ve been given.

10. Friends are the best. I’ve missed visiting them, and was fortunate to have had the forethought of leveraging the impending surgery by having it call forth the courage to ask my long lost friend Brandon if I could camp out in his yard last week after I made an art delivery to the Cities, while imposing on them for a supper and a breakfast outside. We had a great time around the fire on election night, and I loved meeting his beautiful children again after a couple-year absence.

Brandon and kids in their amazing barnyard-like backyard.

After this COVID stuff is over, I don’t think I’ll ever take hospitality for granted again. Let all the friends, family, and neighbors drop by regularly for wine, conviviality, conversating, and music.


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