Five things we know about change:

  1. Change is reality
  2. Change is constant
  3. Change is necessary for growth
  4. Change will affect us
  5. Change is a decision

As I wrote this book, I found that my successes and failure were the result of how I responded to change. I had to be willing to adapt. In many cases, it was necessary to learn from the masters or the innovators.

When I worked in the operating rooms, there was a full anesthesia team, two scrub nurses and a circulating nurse. In addition, I usually had a surgery resident assisting me. Instruments, blood, bone, drugs, supplies were at my fingertips.

Now picture me in a jungle in Honduras performing surgery on the wounded Contra Freedom fighters. I smuggled titanium wire mess to use to rebuild faces shattered in battle. Blood? Look around the room for a tech and see what his blood type was. Lay him down and take a unit for the patient.

Now that’s change. That’s learning to adapt. I had a choice. I could react to the change and refuse to do the surgery until I had everything in place. Or, I could respond to change, make the best of the little equipment, supplies, blood, support that I had. The patient came first and I learned to adapt to the situation at hand.

The first mobile phones that we had on my big farms had a range of 3 miles, had a 20-pound metal box in my trunk, and a hand held unit mounted on my dashboard. Today we can face time all over the world with a unit in the palm of my hand. What a change in our lifestyle over 40 years.

Change was all around me. When I finally agreed to embrace change instead of resisting or trying to control change, I felt a sense of freedom. I simply had to build on the past and focus on learning new things.

Embracing change is not an easy thing to do. It does not happen over night. It is a process. By nature, we are creatures of habit. We like order. People tend to park in the same place at work. They frequent the same stores or restaurants. Hang around with the same people.

In the jungle, I thought I couldn’t do surgery with out all my instruments…but I did. My story reflects changes in technology, medicine, dentistry, politics, society and family. When I look back, I wonder how we got through it all. But I’m not any different than the millions of people each day that are faced with a change…something new or different.

If there is a good thing about change, it is that we have a lot to say about how it will affect us. We have a choice each day. We can react or respond to change. We can embrace or resist change.

A red light in front of us may frustrate us because we will be delayed. That same red light might save our life as we stop rather than pull into the busy intersection. I’ve repaired terrible facial wounds only to have the patient so thankful for being alive and able to see or talk. I’ve seen minor scratches result in emotional crisis. It’s a decision.

I understand. It took me many years to learn to respond to change. I went from resisting change (I like things the way they are) to responding to change (there may be a another way). Today, I can say that I embrace change. It is exciting and invigorating.

Confession: I still have three remotes for the entertainment system and hate when the grandkids come over and touch them. Maybe I’ll never change!