Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I have been blessed (with one exception) with top quality healthcare professionals my whole life. But there is one person who stands head and shoulders above the rest. Our family doctor, a board certified internist at PA Hospital in Philadelphia.

When my husband died five years ago I was desperately bereft. After the dust of the funeral had settled I made an appointment with Dr. Bob. He had cared for my husband long before I was in the picture so he had experienced his own loss with Pat’s death.

During that first visit we both cried. Then he prescribed an unusual regimen for me: he referred me to a psychiatrist who specialized in loss. Then he said he wanted me to come in every month to see him for a check-up. His concern was that grief can have a negative physiological effect. He wanted to check to see how I was surviving. So for the first year of widowhood I saw him regularly. On month thirteen he pronounced me in good hands with my counselor and said he wanted to see me on my usual pre-grief schedule.

My counseling continued with ever-decreasing frequency for three years. Finally, I “graduated” to using the coping skills I had learned on my own. But I will always be grateful to Dr. Bob for his remarkable support and care. I was finally on the road to being healthy. And I never felt alone.

Both of these extraordinary doctors are now enjoying active retirement. And I am so grateful they retired after I was no longer in distress.

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Forgive me if I’ve got this wrong, if you don’t talk to guys then please just tell me and forget all this.  I’m a guy 72 yrs old married and wondered if part of your remit was to give advice to someone who has a totally negative view of life, e.g. me. My glass is always half empty, it will rain tomorrow (and I need the sun – I live in northern England). I constantly complain about things and drive my extremely understanding wife crazy. I really want to be upbeat, and I have everything going for me, a younger wife, two houses in the country and a super little terrier dog. I also have a lovely daughter and 3 super grandchildren (though they live 300 miles away), they are 4, 6 and 8 years old. I don’t owe any money, and we have a little house in France we can go to for our holidays. (more…)

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It was September 2005 when my mother was diagnosed with cancer on the base of her tongue. It was Labor Day 2005, to be exact.  We got the call confirming what we hoped wasn’t true, that the biopsy was cancer, squamous cell carcinoma. And like that, in an instant, we were all flung into the world of cancer. Any of you who have been there, or are there, know what I am talking about.  Suddenly you have immediate appointments with several doctors who recommend several scans. This insane whirlwind led me the first of two binders I made for my mom during her battle with cancer.

At our first appointment with the surgical oncologist I realized we were about to get a bomb of information dropped on us, blood results, scan results, doctors numbers, emergency doctors numbers, pamphlets on cancer, side effects, depression, nausea. I get nauseated just thinking about it all!

At the time, I realized that we needed to take care of all of this information, mainly her appointments, doctors’ numbers, medication lists, scan results and blood counts. I could tell my mom and dad were too overwhelmed to keep track of it all, so I created a binder that would hold all these documents. This medical binder ended up helping us all. I remember a frantic search through the binder when I needed a doctor’s number when my mother was too wiped out to direct me. The binder went with my mom to all her appointments.  When friends helped out by taking her to appointments they were able to find information for the doctors. I still have the binder somewhere, a history of rough times past.

After, one of our first appointments with my mother’s radiation oncologist the other binder was born. My mother, father and I met with Dr. Quon about a week after her diagnosis. It seemed like we were in his office for hours. Dr. Quon spent a very long time describing all the things that were going to happen to her because of the radiation to her neck, redness, sores in her mouth, muscle damage, thick saliva; the list went on and on and he didn’t hold back. When he left the room, my mom and I looked at each other and wondered out loud, “who in their right mind would go through with this?” Of course, we both knew the answer, a lot of people like my mom, who had a lot of reasons to live. That night I went home and started working on a Reasons to Keep Going book. This is part of a letter I wrote to my mom and put in the first page of the book:

“We wondered who would willingly go through with everything that he said would happen to you. I know that some days we will wonder why we should keep going, so I put together this book to remind us why. Mainly to remind you why you should keep going. I know you know why you are proceeding bravely though all this torture, but I thought it might help to remind you how important you are to me and everyone that knows you. For every week of treatment I will add to this book, and I hope that in some way it will help you though this hard time we are passing through. I believe, I know, it is temporary and in a couple of months you will be yourself again and we will all rejoice and celebrate together. It will be a BIG celebration.”

I added to the book weekly and her friends sent in pictures, poems, and notes. It is a beautiful collection of photos and goals for when treatment ended and she got better.

My beloved mom died December 26, 2010. BUT, she did get better for a while and during that time we did some big living, and checked off some of those dreams we had collected in the book for when she was better. I carry those memories with me forever.

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I am hoping others reply to this, I am an RN (it will be 30 years next year) and am having to cobra my health insurance at great expense because I couldn’t any longer keep up with my main hospital job on a busy postpartum floor. I had another job at the same time and am still doing that, but it has no benefits. I would like to ask others, especially in California, what individual health insurance programs are the best?

It will be 5 years before I am eligible for medicare, but that is being changed so it covers very little (after you turn 80, you aren’t covered for anything but pills, and will have to pay for them yourself, from the way it sounds), so I need good health insurance for the next 5 years, so I can reach medicare age in good shape, with everything already repaired. I would like to hear from others who have individual policies and have used them.

Please help, if you can!!


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