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”

Post-stent chest pain

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

A friend’s daughter (who happens to be a cardiac nurse) phoned to check on me a few days after I was discharged from the hospital following my heart attack. I felt so relieved to hear her voice because  something was really starting to worry me:  I was still having chest pain.

Hadn’t the blocked coronary artery that had caused my “widow maker” heart attack just recently been magically unblocked? Wasn’t that newly revascularized artery now propped wide open with a shiny metal stent? Shouldn’t I be feeling better?

And that’s when I heard the words “stretch pain”  for the first time.    .       .  Continue reading “Post-stent chest pain”

Craving post-holiday solitude

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

The holiday season seems to be a good time to revisit the importance of solitude.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve truly been enjoying the lights and music of the season, family traditions (oh, those homemade perogies at our Christmas Eve feast!), the joy of watching 4-year old Everly Rose embrace in equal measure the arrival of Santa and the Baby Jesus story, out-of-town visitors, and the seasonal open-heartedness one encounters even from passing strangers in the Village.

But I’m physically craving some delicious solitude right about now.         .      Continue reading “Craving post-holiday solitude”

The “new normal” – and why patients hate it

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

The “new normal”.  It’s what the freshly-diagnosed heart patient is supposed to get used to now. The implication seems clear:  Forget about your old life and the person you once were.”  Many of us fight that “new normal” label, but there might be another way to look at this.   . Continue reading “The “new normal” – and why patients hate it”

The importance of planning for everyday joy

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

When my mother was already showing early signs of her vascular dementia and had to move into an assisted-living apartment, she hated it. The staff reminded our family that “having something to look forward to” every day would help her feel more settled. They were so right. The move had been scary and overwhelming for Mom, but even knowing that after lunch she’d be playing cribbage or watching a favourite movie could bring a smile to her face.

We didn’t call it this at the time, but what Mom was doing, in the middle of all of her angst and fear, was planning joy.    Continue reading “The importance of planning for everyday joy”