Tag Archives: health

In Sickness & In Health

wedding

So, Mark and I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary today. Just shy of 3 weeks after his physical catastrophe.

I’m not an overly emotional or sentimental person but I clearly remember my voice cracking only once during our vows…”in sickness and in health”. In an instant, I was overwhelmed by the thought of him being sick and vulnerable.

He’s had some minor surgeries (that dual hernia operation just before our 10th anniversary wasn’t too fun) but nothing as challenging as this.

The thing is, as challenging as this is physically, emotionally and probably financially, I know it isn’t even close to the worst that can happen to a couple. Not even close.

So I’m thankful that we work well together because just about everything he does, we do together. I’m thankful that we enjoy each other’s company (as long as he doesn’t try to tell jokes). I’m thankful that we trust each other to get through this. And yes, I’m thankful that we love and trust each other and even on our worst days, there still isn’t anyone I would rather spend time with (no offense to my children, who come second in that category).

I don’t feel all that much different than that day 23 years ago. Marrying Mark felt like the rightest, most natural thing. Helping him do just about everything feels just as right and natural (though, I have to keep reminding him the kids can fetch the this or the that when they’re here).

Happy Anniversary. Oh and Happy Birthday to Luke who was our 5th anniversary gift!

How a Mammogram Made my Day…It’s not what you think.

How a mammogram made my day

Source: Abdulsalam Haykal on Flickr

I went to a mammogram appointment this week and had the sweetest experience…(NOT THE MAMMOGRAM). The fact that it was a mammogram is only important as it relates to what I noticed about a couple who came in at about the same time as I did.

An older couple parked at the same time as me and we ended up in the same office. The woman was using a walker but seemed too young to be using it. Also, she seemed pretty steady on her feet. Maybe early seventies. Her husband looked a little older. Both of them were smartly dressed. She moved so well with the walker that I was thinking maybe she was recovering from an accident.

They checked in (he did the talking) and the man directed his wife to a waiting room chair. He told her he would be waiting out in the lobby just outside the suite. She was fine with that. Before he left he quietly conferred with the receptionist and she assured him that she would “remind the technicians”. Within a minute or so, the man came back in and sat next to his wife and told her he decided he’d rather wait with her. “Thank you very much,” she said.

Next the man pulled out the magazine section of the paper and handed it to her because he thought she would enjoy it. “Thank you”, she replied to his thoughtful gesture.

In the next area where you change and wait again, (why it made sense to disclose that we were there for mammograms) the attendant showed the woman to a changing stall then quickly adjusted her strategy and said the technician would help her with the robe.

I could be wrong but my brief observation of this couple indicated that the woman suffered from some form of dementia and the husband was her caregiver, protector and advocate. He was so patient, sweet and thoughtful of her needs. The measures he took to inform the staff discreetly that she required extra assistance seemed so loving and tender as though his primary concern was preserving her dignity.

Not only was it touching, it made me think of Mark (my husband). He’s always as kind and gentle with me as the man was with his wife (though, often I don’t deserve it). Should I require care in our older years, I have no doubt that Mark will be as patient as the man was with his wife.

Thinking of that made me smile out loud.

 

 

Important Information about a Stroke

A tip for stroke survival

Image credit: Nemo on Pixabay

I have learned a lot since inviting my 78-year old aunt to live with us. Every time I learn something new, I think , I should write about this, I’m sure someone else could benefit from this information.

Although my aunt did not have a stroke, she was fighting a stomach virus that landed her in the hospital. When she was discharged, I learned something that might be life-saving or life-changing for someone who has a stroke.

Did you know that if you suspect that you or someone you know is having a stroke, you should note the time of the onset of symptoms? I never knew that and it turns out that it can make a big difference in protocol for medical intervention. Obviously, it isn’t always possible to know when a stroke is happening (for example if a person is sleeping) but if you’re able to give medical providers a time of onset of symptoms, there’s a window for certain treatment options that can make a difference in survival and recovery.

With all the PSAs and pharmaceutical commercials  publicizing the warning signs of stroke (droopiness of face, numbness or weakness in face, arms or legs, confusion, trouble speaking, trouble seeing out of one or both eyes, severe headache are just a few), I’ve never heard this critical piece of information, so I thought I’d pass it along.


 

Disclaimer: I am not a physicican, this  article is published for information purposes only. If you think you or someone you know may be having a stroke, dial 911.

 

Colonoscopy

What to Expect for a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

My husband had his first colonoscopy yesterday. As we drove home, he was trying to explain how easy it was compared to his anxiety and dread about the whole thing. He suggested that I write a post about it.

According to statistics, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the U.S.. Studies confirm that early screening reduces deaths from colorectal cancer. It’s worth getting checked and according to Mark, fear shouldn’t prevent you from doing so.

Aside from the kids treating him like a nuclear reactor the day before the test, the worst part about it, by far, was anticipating how terrible it would be to drink the cleansing solution and wondering how miserable you’ll feel afterward.

The day before the procedure, Mark’s diet was restricted to clear liquids. He’s a pretty thin guy, eats 3 pretty standard meals per day and snacks for energy on the tennis court (he’s a teaching pro). Not being able to eat could be slightly torturous for me but he handled it like a champ.

Mark had to drink four 8oz. cups of the prescribed liquid beginning at 5:30 pm the evening before the test (Happy Hour anyone?). The second round of four 8 oz. cups began at 9:30. The liquid is clear and comes with a lemony flavor packet. He mixed it ahead of time and refrigerated it to make it easier to drink. He got it down with a little effort but it was doable and not the worst thing he could have taken.

The enema cocktail kicked in about 30-45 minutes after the first cup and it didn’t give him cramps. Although he wanted to share the details with me, I passed that job off to my boys. Without getting too graphic, things were pretty clear after a few trips to the loo by about 7:30 or so.

Round 2 was really just to make sure he was clean and clear-which he was but still made multiple trips to the bathroom. He went to bed at about 1:00 a.m. and was able to sleep through until 6:00 when we had to get up to make it to the hospital by 7:45. Overall, the physical prep the night before wasn’t as bad as he anticipated.

The next hardest thing for Mark was not being able to eat high-fiber foods the entire week before the test. He snacks on raw vegetables to get him through his long day on the court. Sometimes he’ll have nuts or granola. He ended up taking bags of pretzels, which don’t give you much energy. He also loves salad with dinner and couldn’t eat that. This might not be much of an issue if you don’t eat a lot of fruits or vegetables normally. I don’t and probably wouldn’t miss them as much as he did.

The procedure, itself, was easy compared to his anxiety about it. He had to be there at 7:45 for pre-op and the procedure was underway by 9:05. He got an epidural which burned a little and a light anesthesia to keep him asleep during the procedure which was about 15 minutes from start to finish.

The surgeon reported that everything looked good. Based on the fact that Mark’s dad had some polyps removed and based on that history, the doc recommended a repeat in 5 years. Recovery was about an hour total and I was able to take him home. He definitely was unsteady after the anesthesia but was able to walk to the car.

Although Mark was exhausted and tried to sleep when we got home he wasn’t able to and still felt well enough to grill burgers for dinner. When I asked him how he felt at the end of the day, he claimed that his energy was great and he thought it might have something to do with the whole cleansing process. I can relate to that.

Although all of the medical personnel were kind and professional, Mark thought that they could be more reassuring about the procedure, itself. He guesses that they’re unaware of how nervous and anxious people are about it. He’s hoping that reading this reassures others to get it out of the way.

If you’re approaching or over 50 and have been avoiding this important diagnostic test, I hope Mark’s experience encourages you to get it done.