Sunday, August 23, 2015

Don't Worry

Working as a nurse practitioner, it's a question I hear from patients on occasion. Basically the question comes in many forms but the gist is always the same.  After having heart surgery and being transferred to the step-down floor where I work, a patient will say, "Is everything okay?" or "Am I doing alright?" or "Is this normal?"  Patients may feel like they are not progressing as they should.  Maybe they are a little short of breath, still hurting a good bit, perhaps having an irregular heart rhythm, whatever, thus leading to the inquiring questions. So how do I respond?

First of all,  I explain that most of their complaints are pretty common following heart surgery.  A patient may feel a little short of breath (we don't expect them to be able to run a marathon right after heart surgery...their breathing should progressively get better in the days and weeks to come).   In addition, the pain from the heart surgery operation should dissipate in time.  Furthermore, an irregular heart rhythm is fairly common.  As a matter of fact, we have multiple medications to use to treat this irregular pulse.  The majority of the time, the heart is back to its regular rhythm before a patient is discharged. 

Second, if patients continue to express extreme concern, I tell them "We'll let you know when to worry."  In other words, as healthcare professionals, we know when to be concerned about a postoperative problem.  The patients don't need to worry.  As the old Greyhound commercial said, "Leave the driving to us."  We'll handle it.

Great advice when you're in the hospital.  Also great advice in life.  I heard someone say that worry is  "assuming responsibility God never intended for me to have.".  Absolutely true.  Why worry about something that God is taking care of?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, " not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34).  In other words, God will handle it.  You may rest in peace.  Everything will work out today as God directs.

So, relax, take it easy.  No need to worry when God is in control.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Eat Something!!!

I played golf today with some friends of mine.  Since the temperature was expected to reach 97 degrees today, we decided to start around 7AM before it got horrendously hot.  Knowing I would have to be at the golf course early, I bought some doughnuts last night as a quick breakfast to eat in the car.

On the way to the links, I ate 3 1/2 doughnuts (which may be a lot for some but pretty average portion for me).  I even hesitated before eating the last 1/2 doughnut because I wasn't really hungry.  Yet, recognizing the golf game and the humidity which awaited me,  I figured I needed to eat the last 1/2 doughnut whether I needed it or not.  I needed as much strength as I could muster to attack the course.  In other words, I forced myself.

You can't live without food.  After eating, your body feels stronger and  your mind sharper.  Many years ago I was serving on jury duty.  After deliberating for several hours, it appeared our jury was "hung".  We even sent word back to the judge that we could not come to a unanimous conclusion.  Soon afterward the judge replied with perhaps the wisest words ever to a jury.  He told us to "go to lunch." Some simple words but ultimately had a profound impact.

After we reassembled after lunch, our minds were sharper and we came to a unanimous verdict.  Remember, before lunch, we felt like we were hopelessly stuck.  After lunch, we came together and rose up in one accord.  Feeding our bodies and our brains were just what the doctor ordered (or should I say what the judge ordered). 

So, going through a difficult time?  Eat something.  Have a big struggle ahead of you?  Then eat something.  Having trouble concentrating at work or school?  Stop and eat something.  Going through chemotherapy or radiation?  Then eat something. Speaking of which, I read about someone whose chemotherapy made them extremely nauseous.  So what did they do?  They set their alarm clock and ate a huge meal in the middle of the night, hours before the chemo treatment. As a result, they were able to eat properly and still endure their treatments.  Wise thinking.

Don't try to make it in life without food.  Every meal, every snack, every Peanut M & M or Dr.Pepper can make a world of difference in your mind and body.

Would love to write more but I'm getting a little hungry.  Will write again after I've been properly fed.  I'm sure you get the point.