People living with chronic illness often discover that they must adapt to changes in what occupational therapists like to call our activities of daily living (ADLs). The basic ADLs typically include eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and moving around independently (e.g. getting up off that couch). Even smaller changes occur: for example, I now wear a medical I.D. on my wrist all day. I never leave home without my nitro spray for chronic angina. I count out all my cardiac meds for the week in labeled pill organizers. These represent a few of the many adaptations I’ve learned to make since my cardiac diagnosis.
Today, in this Dear Carolyn episode (our eighth in the occasional series featuring Heart Sisters readers sharing the experiences of becoming a heart patient), we’ll attempt to address a related reader question about adapting.