Have I been a closet introvert all this time?

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Except for those blissfully naïve months of January and February when we had no clue what was about to hit us, 2020 has seemed like a dumpster fire called All-COVID, All-The-Time. Everything we knew and loved changed in ways few of us could have ever predicted. But I’ve noticed another big change overall – and that’s been in me.

The more I hunkered down inside my little apartment this year, the more I began to like hunkering.     .           .      .
Continue reading “Have I been a closet introvert all this time?”

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”

The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters   

As Bruce Springsteen once sang, “You get used to anything. Sooner or later it just becomes your life.”(1)  Bruce was right. Since being diagnosed with heart disease in 2008, I’ve observed a bizarre and surprising change in my ability to adjust to ongoing cardiac symptoms. My symptoms have not changed. But at some point, I just got better at adjusting to them.

In fact, I suspect that the chest pain which just feels “normal” to me by now would make most other people head straight to the Emergency Department.      .       .      Continue reading “The familiar self, the unfamiliar self and the recovery of self”

Being of sound mind: it’s time to update your will

 by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I feel like I should put a warning alongside this post, because it’s about something we don’t want to talk or even think about. We live in a death-denying society. I know this, because I spent many years working in hospice palliative care. For example, even a woman being admitted to our 17-bed in-patient unit one day seemed shocked by the brochures in her room. She told us that the words ‘end-of-life care’ on the brochure cover should be immediately removed, because those words meant the dreaded D-word that she’d been denying.   .      .  Continue reading “Being of sound mind: it’s time to update your will”

How kids cope when a parent has a heart attack

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

In response to last week’s blog post about cortisol (which featured Dr. Doreen Rabi’s surprising explanation of how this stress hormone rises among heart attack patients AFTER hospital discharge), Jan Oldenburg sent me a note. Her note simply said:

I’m guessing our children’s stress levels were higher, too. My husband Jon was only 46 at the time of his heart attack.”  . . . .     .     . Continue reading “How kids cope when a parent has a heart attack”