Cognitive dread: the painful uncertainty of waiting

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters 

I live on an island, so we’re often dependent on the ferries that carry islanders to the mainland and back. And because this is Canada’s west coast, high winds or rough seas can very occasionally cause sudden sailing delays or outright cancellations. When this happens, we often don’t know when sailings will resume, and nobody can tell us. Uncertainty like this about what daily life will bring includes both the routinely ordinary (what’s causing this traffic jam?) and the potentially important (when will my test results come in? This state of uncertainty is what psychologists often call “cognitive dread”.    . Continue reading “Cognitive dread: the painful uncertainty of waiting”

Four ways we use online info to make healthcare decisions

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

Remember that unfortunate Don’t Google It! campaign a few years back in which the Belgian government sought to warn patients against seeking health info online? Three of the (many) assumptions in that offensive campaign included:

  • patients are stupid
  • patients are not already online seeking input on all kinds of daily questions, big and small
  • all patients behave the same way (e.g. like hysterical hypochondriacs)

Too bad the creators of this campaign weren’t familiar with the results of an interesting study that challenged those assumptions.      .  Continue reading “Four ways we use online info to make healthcare decisions”

The Grinch’s Guide to Women’s Heart Attacks (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

.

Chest pain can make women WORRY a lot,

Yet when women seek help, some are told they should not.

Anxiety, maybe – you’re stressed by the season!

“Your tests all look fine!”  No one quite knows the reason.

It could be that these tests weren’t researched on them.

(And, really – aren’t women small versions of men?)

It could be that Grinch docs think women are lying

Or making up symptoms, without even trying.

Continue reading “The Grinch’s Guide to Women’s Heart Attacks (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)”

“There is no gender bias in medicine. Because I said so…”

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters 

When my heart sister Katherine Leon was featured in The New York Times earlier this year, I was thrilled. Katherine, like me, is a graduate of the WomenHeart Science & Leadership patient advocacy training at Mayo Clinic. She told the Times of undergoing emergency coronary bypass surgery at age 38, several days after her textbook cardiac symptoms had first been dismissed by doctors who told her, “There’s nothing wrong with you.”     .
Continue reading ““There is no gender bias in medicine. Because I said so…””

While we’re at it – and I am always at it…

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters  

I read an article in The Guardian recently. It happened to be about menopause, a stage of life I have already graduated from (thank goodness!)  But it was still interesting to me, as a person who once exhibited world-class projectile sweating during an event at which I was the guest of honour.

But that’s another menopause story entirely.

One particular line of this article leaped out at me. Not about menopause at all, actually, but about women who have opinions.    . Continue reading “While we’re at it – and I am always at it…”