From the Heart: Quotes for Cardiac Patients

From the Heart: Quotes for Cardiac Patients

This week I’ve been having a little trouble with staying motivated to do — well, just about anything, really. I go through these cycles now and again of full-steam productivity followed by existential angst and wondering if the work I did made any difference, a cycle I’ve always thought of as motivational inertia. A productive person tends to stay productive until an equal and opposite force (i.e. doubt, depression, exhaustion, etc.) stops them, at which point some effort is required to get back to being productive again.

Whenever I find myself stuck like that, one of the things I like to do is look up motivational quotes. Continue reading

Beauty Marks: Scars, Bruises, and Self Image

Beauty Marks: Scars, Bruises, and Self Image

Being fair-skinned and occasionally coordination-challenged means that I have always been quick to bruise. As a kid, black and blue blemishes on my shins and elbows served as constant evidence of having a good time. My knees were perpetually red for years after multiple run-ins with mailboxes while attempting to ride my bike, and though I never got into fisticuffs, or even so much as a slap-fight, with anyone, I still managed to wind up with a black eye one time when I tumbled face-first into the wooden edging of a planter in the front yard.

Being on blood-thinner medication has not exactly improved this facet of my existence. Continue reading

No Road to Recovery: Wellness as a Journey

No Road to Recovery: Wellness as a Journey

When you’re sick, say, with a cold or the flu, you can’t wait till it’s over. From the moment you realize you’ve caught something, you look forward to the day it’s gone, over, finis. The first day you awaken without symptoms is the dawn after a long and restless night, the peaceful quiet after a thunderstorm. You are officially well and you know it, and the absoluteness of that simple truth comes as quite the relief.

Unfortunately, not all diseases or conditions are so mercifully uncomplicated as a 24-hour bug that comes and goes in the blink of an eye. Continue reading

Dreadful Dreaming: Nightmare and Sleep Tips for Cardiac Patients

Dreadful Dreaming: Nightmare and Sleep Tips for Cardiac Patients

As any good doctor will warn you, nightmares are one of the most common side effects of open heart surgery. Anxiety over an upcoming operation, the fear that another might soon follow, bad memories surrounding the first — with so many possibilities, it would be a bit surprising if you didn’t have a disturbing dream or two. But with all the stress of reality, who needs the extra burden of stressful slumber as well?
Continue reading

Conversations With Older Men: An Unexpected Side Effect of Heart Surgery

Conversations With Older Men: An Unexpected Side Effect of Heart Surgery

“Excuse me, I couldn’t help noticing your heart pillow.” It may not sound like much of a line, but for weeks after my open heart surgery man after man walked up to me with those words or similar on their lips, hoping to start a conversation. Continue reading

Pillow Talk: Tips for Maintaining (Some) Physical Comfort After Heart Surgery

Pillow Talk: Tips for Maintaining (Some) Physical Comfort After Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery is the enemy of physical comfort. If you’re about to have surgery (or have just recently rolled off the operating table), welcome to the wonderful world of feeling like a train wreck 24/7. While there will be pain medications — many of them — to take care of the big stuff, they won’t fix everything. Some things will still hurt, some quite unexpectedly. Coughing. Sneezing. Lying flat. Lying on your side. Even hiccups, of all the stupid things in the world. Luckily, there is something you can do about it. Continue reading