Now that I am off pain medication and am nearing the end of my 6 week hiatus from work due to a total knee replacement, I can reflect on the many lessons learned that I’d like to share with you.
Today’s lesson is about how TED hose will make me a better person and better leader.
For those of you not acquainted with TED hose, or Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent hose, it’s like wearing a tourniquet from the tips of your toes to the top of your thighs… on both legs. My doctors and nurses assured me that they must be worn to prevent blood clots. I think they make you wear them to learn lessons in humility and keeping of sense of humor.
If you Google it, the pictures look like they’re advertising sexy stockings in Vogue Magazine. They’re not. Even in the 1960’s I didn’t wear stockings, (or lipstick,) that were that white or that thick.
Any woman who has ever laid on the floor to squeeze into her skinny jeans or thought it’s tough putting on a pair of black tights that hide the lumps and bumps or tried to shimmy into Spanx and still breathe… hasn’t worn TED hose. That’s pure child’s play.
You wear them 24 hours a day – except for maybe 30 – 60 minutes a day. Trust me… in the first weeks, that’s about how much time you’ll need to take them off, wash them and put on a new pair.
By the way… men have to wear TED hose too. So gentlemen, if you haven’t had to wear them yet, take heed.
TED hose will test your strength. They test your stamina. And they test your willingness to sacrifice your sense of decency, pride, vanity and patience.
They can also test your friendships.
After 2 days in the hospital where trained medical staff do everything for you because you can barely move on your own, you’re sent home, assuming you have “care partners.” I was lucky to have a friend, who is a nurse, stay with me my first nights at home. She knew a thing or 2 about TED hose, so all I had to do was lay, splayed on the bed and let her do battle.
But after she left it was another story. I had to coach my friend who helped me during the day. She was a total novice to the TED hose experience.
First she had to put plastic bags on my feet to make it easier to get them past my toes and heel. Then, it was clearly a two-person process, a real team effort, to guide the hose up to my thigh… without bunching the bandage or having wrinkles that would cut off all circulation, which is a real possibility.
Usually we would start laughing to the point I would have to rest, regain strength before we could finish the job. You see, I’ve never asked a friend to put plastic bags on my feet and wrestle with the tightest elastic you’ve ever seen , to put stockings on me… every day. And trust me, the first couple days, it took more than 1 try to get them on right.
It’s humbling … and a sign of a true friend.
After three weeks, all 27 staples were removed, I could shower again and was mostly able to care for myself … but I had the daunting battle of TED v. me. In order to go solo, I had the “aid” of another torture device to help me put them on.
Again, it was a test of will. Mind over matter, usually requiring a nap shortly afterwards. Seriously – The first day it took me over 10 minutes to put them on and I was exhausted.
Imagine – you’re used to being independent, physically fit, taking care of yourself… and your home… and your business and leading an active lifestyle… then boom! You have to ask your friends to put plastic bags on your feet and shimmy TED hose up your legs because you barely have the strength to move.
I can truly say that TED hose will make me a better leader. I had to have the courage to be vulnerable and ask for help getting dressed. I had to reset my expectations about what I could/could not do and keep my sense of humor in the face of vulnerability. We often see vulnerability and asking for help as being weak. But this experience has given me more compassion and understanding for other people facing challenges.
I will share more lessons learned on how a total knee replacement has made me a better person… and hopefully share how you can help the people in your life, who may need a helping hand.
In the meantime – a few of my speaker buddies and I are working on our own version of a TED Talk on how to put on TED hose…stay tuned!
Marty Stanley, CSP, is a national author and speaker and consultant on change. She helps people and organizations plan for, lead, manage and deal with change. Contact Marty today for more information about how to handle change strategically and effectively. 816-695-5453 email@example.com
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Marty, first of all I hope that the knee replacement is a complete success for now and forever more.
It appears that your TED hose encounter has already moved well past the boundaries of the experience. It was fun to read your version of a new experience that ended up being a teacher. As a writer it is up to each of us to look for the lessons that are taught by some of the smallest events in our life. I think you have done.