Other’s Experiences

Sometimes hearing about other people experiences related to heart health issues and how they recovered and how they deal with ‘life after’ can be helpful. We (the medical teams, the patient, the family) spend a lot of time concentrating on how the physical body recovers and what has happened (i.e. surgically) and what needs to happen (i.e. medications, changes in movement and food, etc) but we often forget that there are mental and emotional changes too.

Some people go through guilt (I should have taken better care of myself), anger (why did this happen to me?) and shock (how could this happen to me?) and fear (when is the next one? will I survive another one?), sadness (I will never be like I was before) These are all common and valid emotions. If you feel any of these emotions, please please reach out to your doctor or other other health professionals for advise, counselling and maybe even medication, such as anti-depressants, if your doctor approves.

Some change their perspective on life – for example J definitely ‘does not sweat the small stuff”. He no longer worries about certain things, often not even letting some things “in”.

Not to capitalize on celebrity, but below is a video from the director Kevin Smith, who at 47 years old had a heart attack and had a stent put in his LAD artery. I like his recount of the situation as I think it might help some of you to hear another survivor’s story. I also like his outlook at the end surrounding some controversy concerning comments made by Chris Pratt – Kevin’s response was “don’t fight about that”.

Here’s the video I’m referring to (sorry I can’t seem to find a better copy without making you log into Facebook):

Warning – adult language is used. //cdnapisec.kaltura.com/p/591531/sp/59153100/embedIframeJs/uiconf_id/6740162/partner_id/591531?iframeembed=true&playerId=kaltura_player_1413478522&entry_id=0_eiwz2lp4Also, here’s a link explaining the Widow Maker Heart attack 

 

Organizing & The Healthy Heart Toolbox

While J was in the hospital, we started a notebook to keep track of all the important information and instructions we were given by each nurse, doctor, care-person and specialist. Not just for his heart condition but also managing his diabetes and health in general. We used his  notebook to not only track his blood pressure and his heart rate (for our curiosity) , but also helped us remember the names of the people that came to see him. There were SO MANY different people! Plus medication names and dosages and what the medications did or why he was given a particular medication at a particular time. It was all very overwhelming.

When he was discharged from the hospital he was given handfuls of papers  – all sorts of  new information, even a DVD. Some of the paperwork explained the steps he needed to take – booklets and programs and some paperwork related to the medications he needed. There was a lot of “stuff” that he now needed to manage and being organized is extremely important – now more than ever in order to successful manage the recovery. When we got home we put everything into a plastic ‘sleeve’, to keep everything together and kept the file on his nightstand for easy access. A year later, we are still going through the file to refer to the information in it.

There are many different styles that you can find in the office supply stores or office supply sections of the major big box stores. Here’s a sample of the folder:

plasticsleeve

 

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