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.


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