Thursday, December 14, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Here are some notes I've created that I want to share with everyone. These notes are an overview of what it takes to survive the aftermath of a crisis situation, in my respect, surviving a heart attack. I wrote this as a guide for anyone enduring a crisis situation, whether its heart attack, cancer or muscular dystrophy, its still a crisis situation.

Be Patient:
This is good advice for any family member, but it’s hard not to expect someone to switch to healthy choices or lifestyle adjustments overnight. Still, they will do what they will do. The best way to influence them is to tell them and to remind them that their choices affect others lives. If they still choose unhealthy dieting or lifestyle, that’s a chance that you’ll take with dire consequences.

Dietary Needs:
Their diet is a personal decision not worth sacrificing your relationship or marriage. Your spouse, after all, will eat what they want one way or another. Find some cool restaurants that cook within their dietary needs. This will allow for some much needed, and desired, time outside the homestead. Also gives the person a goal to work towards. If your spouse is interested in surviving and thus motivated to eat healthfully, they will be a godsend and make for a relaxing date night.

Find cookbooks with foods they enjoy that pertain to their dietary needs. There’s no reason a person should relinquish their favorite foods. Yes, it obviously won’t taste exactly the same but at least you’ll be enjoying your food.

Sex life:
Have low expectations and consider anything regarding this as a bonus. Sex will be different in some aspects.

I currently take 7 tablets every morning and one at night. Talk about a nightmare keeping track of them. So if your spouse takes an abundant amount of medication a pill box is a necessity. There are many different types available so chose the one that works best for them.

This condition happened to you both. Learn what you can independently and accept that both of you will have a totally different lifestyle. Read not only about the condition but the medications. Medication can sometimes cause side effects and it’s very important to realize the signs so they’re not mistaken for symptoms. Be prepared for mood swings, even if they didn’t have them before. That’s normal. This was/is a life altering event and possibly dredges thoughts of ones mortality. They may be in denial about their physical abilities, the number of medications they need to take, their physical appearances, embarrassment of their condition, etc. It’s not easy. No excuses…it’s just not easy. Be patient.

Medical Care:
Don’t settle for less in this area. Try and surround yourself with excellent health care practitioners. Make sure they know one another professionally and not just a “Yes I’ve heard of him but never met him”. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have a great doctor who understands the role of preventative medicine through diet and exercise, not just surgery and medicine. If she/he doesn’t, find a new doctor. Specialists won’t do much good if your regular doctor isn’t familiar with their practices.

Make sure you have adequate health insurance now. Pre-existing conditions won’t necessarily be covered and could cause a denial of coverage on future medical issues. Be prepared for the bills! This won’t be cheap and can leave a financial devastation.

Trust your instincts with their condition. Whether you’re right or wrong, it’s a decision you may regret later on. If you don’t trust the answer or diagnosis, find a second opinion.

Your Emotions:
They have their own issues to deal with regarding their condition, and how their life will altered. You will have endured many changes and possibly more in the future. It takes a special spouse enduring these changes who will be strong enough emotionally to support you too. Otherwise, that’s what your God, friends, supportive family and professionals are for.

Close family and Friends:
The children will have their own reactions as well as other family members. Make sure you discuss most everything with your children PRIOR to any changes. Regardless if they’re children, teens or adults it’s critical everyone stays well informed. This applies to close family as well. Real friends are there in a crisis. This condition, whether short term or long term, will be a sorting through period for both of you. You’ll be closer to your real friends afterwards, your wannabe friends will either fade away or become background shadows.

Professional, Social, and Family Commitments:
They have a great excuse now and can relinquish those commitments that are either stressing, trivial and only keep those that are really important. You can use this excuse as well, as your spouse needs more attention to work their way through their condition. So many times we overstress and overextend ourselves with activities outside the homestead that we inadvertently cause our condition to ferment into a crisis. Last thing you both need is another condition developing with you!

If your spouse still works, they need allot of rest and downtime after returning. You need to realize the person went from 100 mph to 10 mph overnight. And now it’ll take time to get back to even 50 mph.

Be in good shape:
You will need to be able to do the physical things they aren’t strong enough to do. Including, perhaps, being able to mow the yard, help them in and out of the car and up and down the stairs, etc. Also any of the house chores they normally did you’ll have to assist in picking up their portion. Prepare for this daily with your own exercise routine. Even if its just briskly walking for the mail or around the block. This gives you “Me” time and will help relieve any anxiety or tension.

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