The uncertainty of hitting that pandemic wall

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

One thing is becoming clear as we pass the two-month milestone of our current COVID-19 global pandemic: I don’t like uncertainty.

I like feeling in charge of tomorrow’s plans. I like things that make sense to me. I like being pretty sure of what’s coming up  next. But precious little certainty exists any more for me (or for anybody else – including those tiresome politicians pretending to know).  I’m not sure of very much these days and by now, I’ve had enough of uncertainty.

But I do like the way psychotherapist Nancy Colier explained this level of pandemic uncertainty recently. She compared it to “hitting the wall” during the last few miles of running a 26.2-mile marathon.  .     .
Continue reading “The uncertainty of hitting that pandemic wall”

The real reason we’re so tired of Zoom calls

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters 

From my scheduled chats with friends and family to weekly Toastmasters meetings or Sunday morning crafting calls, my calendar now seems increasingly filled with Zoom appointments (and those are just the fun ones, not counting the Heart Sisters-related meetings with people I don’t even know, like researchers, students or media). I thought at first that my own Zoom fatigue* – yes, even chatting with those I know and love – was due to adjusting to the differences between video calls and in-person communication.

But then I read an intriguing essay by Dr. Evan Selinger called The Problem Isn’t Zoom Fatigue — It’s Mourning Life as We Knew It.     .        . Continue reading “The real reason we’re so tired of Zoom calls”

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

“Are we there yet?” – the timeworn wail from kidlets in the back seat on family road trips. When he was very little, I gave my son Ben five nickels at the start of one memorable trip (it was back in the 1980s, when a nickel was worth a nickel!) with one strict condition: every time he whined, “Are we there yet? How much longer?”, he’d have to forfeit one nickel. After giving up the first two nickels, we heard not one more peep from that little boy tightly clutching his three remaining coins. (Parents: if you try this strategy, considering inflation, you’ll probably have to give your kid five $10 bills up front).

After months of our current COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are as frustrated as Ben in the back seat. We’re hearing more every day about “re-opening” our communities, but are we really there yet?     .    Continue reading “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

Unlikely companions: grief and gratitude

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

Whether we plan to or not, we often end up re-creating ourselves after a significant health crisis. Researchers like Dr. Kathy Charmaz call this phenomenon the loss of self, a type of grief experienced while we’re learning to somehow adapt and adjust to an unfamiliar new life.

Nothing is as unfamiliar to us right now as the profound changes introduced by the COVID-19 virus.  And just as Dr. Charmaz identified in those of us with chronic illness, we can also  experience this loss of self during a global pandemic.            .   Continue reading “Unlikely companions: grief and gratitude”

When this is over, will it be “over”?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥   @HeartSisters

This week, author Charles Wu wrote a compelling piece in The Atlantic, in which he said:

“Human civilization – thanks to advancements in science, medicine, social and governmental structures – exists inside a bubble, protected from the kind of cataclysmic event we are currently experiencing.”

Wu makes a solid point about this “bubble”, particularly for those of us living with a chronic and progressive illness like heart disease, which makes us particularly vulnerable to the “cataclysmic event” called COVID-19.         Continue reading “When this is over, will it be “over”?”

Empty beds: when heart patients are afraid to seek help

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

Barely a month ago hey, remember a month ago? – my GP ordered a number of routine blood and urine tests following a meds review. So I booked an appointment online at my local testing lab – but within hours, I decided to cancel. All I could think about was this: “Lab waiting rooms are filled with sick people!”  There was no way I was going to put myself at further risk during this COVID-19 pandemic.

It turns out that heart patients like me are not only reluctant to walk into lab waiting rooms, but cardiologists are now reporting that many of us are reluctant to seek urgent medical care – even during a heart attack.       .       . Continue reading “Empty beds: when heart patients are afraid to seek help”