being wheeled into surgery

9 years ago, as I was wheeled into surgery (tore my ACL), I was pretty nervous. Getting surgery, any kinda surgery is a big deal.

So, there I am, being wheeled in. And in my head, THIS is all that exists. Everything in my universe is now about me, my knee, my ACL. And this is what everyone is thinking about all the time, right?! Well, at least at the hospital.

There are two people in scrubs, setting things up. They say hi and then proceed to disregard me completely while focusing on what they are doing. In my head, I am thinking "Great! Focus on your work." And then I hear them. Talk about the latest movie they saw (and didn't like). About what they ate last night. About lunch at the hospital earlier in the afternoon.

I couldn't believe it. Here I am, in this serious surgery and YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT LUNCH!?!!?!?! We need some serious people in here with complete focus.

Internal tantrums passed. Surgery got done.

routine. or not.

Months later, and even now, years later, I remember this incident. And my irrational expectation then. Lying on that table, I didn't realise it was irrational. This was my first time and this was the biggest deal in my life at that time.

To the two attendants over there, this was routine. This was mundane. This was regular work stuff. Something they did multiple times a day, week on week, and month on month.

High Temperature
Photo by Karan Mandre / Unsplash

I am sure you've had this kinda reaction, well maybe a lot muted, but similar nonetheless. When you met your doctor, convinced you had something serious only for them to be rather dismissive. Or the other time when you were armed with serious Google research and they didn't even bother answering your questions and just gave you a couple of pills and sent you on your way. Of course, those pills did their job and all was actually simple. But still...


As I discussed in my previous post, our universe expands periodically. Big events of yesterday are mundane events of today. When ours overlaps with a different one, we expect the order or layering or importance of events to be the same across both. But of course, that's not true.

But what if in every encounter with a student, I did treat it from their perspective? Sure, I might have heard that question a thousand times before. Yes, I might have had that unreasonable and impossible want said to me by someone at least once a week for the past 10 years. By looking at it from their point of view, by switching my lens out for those couple of minutes, I will be able to empathise with them better. Yes, my answer is always going to be that you should NOT try to lose that much and I specifically will not be able to help them with it (but there are others who can.) That still doesn't mean anything changes with my answer but I don't need to try and solve the problem, or worse, explain to them why they are wrong. They aren't wrong. Their universe is currently different from mine. In their universe, this is the current priority.

As we meander and make forward progress, as we become experts in our own ways, we will find better solutions to the same problems. From crash diets to healthy eating and a sustainable lifestyle is a journey each one takes at their own pace, and arrives at different specifics even if the general direction is the same.

Defining the problem well, and defining the universe/environment the problem is in currently will lead to the solution. Shifting perspectives will help me understand them better. Shifting environments and guiding them along that path will help them understand themselves better.