Discordance: when patients and docs aren’t on the same page

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

In her Netflix comedy special, “Not Normal”, Wanda Sykes recalls  having severe post-operative pain following the double mastectomy she underwent after her breast cancer diagnosis. She asked hospital staff for pain medication, but was offered only ibuprofen (or, as Wanda now describes it, “ibu-f***ing-profen!”)  Her white male friends, by comparison, told her that they’d each been given far more effective meds for far less severe pain after their own hospital procedures.

Her recommendation to women now is: “Bring a white man to do your complaining for you! ”   That’s pretty funny. But we all know that the reality is not funny at all.              .        .
Continue reading “Discordance: when patients and docs aren’t on the same page”

Why you must stop saying “Well, at least. . .”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

“Well, at least . . .”   It’s the innocuous start of a perfunctory platitude, offered up when we don’t quite know what else to say in the face of another person’s loss. Here’s why saying those words can feel so unhelpful during a health crisis:      .      .    Continue reading “Why you must stop saying “Well, at least. . .””

Most-read Heart Sisters posts from a crazy year

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

I’ve often been surprised by which of my Heart Sisters blog articles attract the most readers. Sometimes, the most obviously brilliant of my posts just sit there, ignored, while the ones I almost didn’t write (like that article on pacemakers! Who knew?) attract ongoing attention. The all-time most-read post ever, with a total of over 2.8 million views, is 2009’s “How Does It Really Feel to Have a Heart Attack?  Women Survivors Answer That Question.”  I could have retired from blogging right there.

And this year’s final tally of the most-read blog posts of the past year continues to surprise me. Here’s how the numbers people rank the Top 10:    .      . 

Continue reading “Most-read Heart Sisters posts from a crazy year”

The Christmas Truce – 1914

Armistice Day football match at Dale Barracks between German soldiers and Royal Welsh fusiliers    

by Carolyn Thomas        @HeartSisters

As World War I raged on in the trenches of Europe in 1914, Christmas Eve arrived cold and bleak. But German soldiers put up Christmas trees decorated with candles on the parapets of their trenches. Although their enemies, the British soldiers, could see the lights, it took them a few minutes to figure out where they were from. Could this be a trick?

British soldiers were ordered not to fire, but to watch closely. Instead of trickery, however, the British soldiers heard the Germans singing carols and celebrating. Here’s what one young soldier wrote home about this remarkable event:     Continue reading “The Christmas Truce – 1914”

Christmas lights amid the dark of COVID

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters 

Normally, I’m the kind of festive season fan who delays All-Things-Christmas until the week or so just before Christmas Eve. That’s when we start hanging the twinkling lights outdoors, wrapping presents, and cranking up Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.

But it’s 2020 now. And suddenly the season is feeling very, very different.     .      .   Continue reading “Christmas lights amid the dark of COVID”

Pandemic decisions: Bailey’s, bubbles and bikes

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

“We humans are wired to pay attention to urgent threats, and so this global pandemic captures our attention in a way that a distant threat like climate change does not,” as the Harvard Business Review reminds us. And while my own attention was being captured in ruthless fashion this past year, I had to make a lot of decisions, both big and small – based on how COVID-19 was affecting my life.     .          .   Continue reading “Pandemic decisions: Bailey’s, bubbles and bikes”