“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. . .””
I recently had the honour of being invited to be the guest lecturer at a university class of young students learning about chronic illness. (The word “young”, of course, is relative, since almost everybody on earth is now so much younger than I am). These students were absolutely terrific – enthusiastic, smart, full of questions and ideas about healthcare. But about halfway through our 3-hour class together, I began to observe a pattern in the way some of them approached their small group exercise assignment. Continue reading “A solution in search of a problem”
Blogging sometimes feels like a cross between therapy (writing about what I’m obsessing over at any given moment) and planning a classroom lecture (getting emerging research, current journal references and my own thoughts in order about very specific subjects – mostly women’s heart disease and the experience of becoming a patient).
But if you’ve been here before, you already know that one of my favourite parts of noodling away on this blog is the interactive response from my readers. This is always a two-way street. Your comments make me laugh, they make me cry, they almost always make me want to respond. My favourite kind of reader comment: “I thought I was the only one who felt this way. . . “
But what some of you may not know is that sometimes, reader comments can also make me feel tired and cranky. Continue reading “Failure to inspire”
Here’s what happens when a PR person (like me, for instance) survives a heart attack, but is no longer well enough to return to work. During extended medical leave, that PR person continues to do just what she knows how to do: she writes, she does public talks, she looks stuff up. She launches a blog and gets invited to attend cardiology conferences to speak or to write about the proceedings for her blog readers.
And all around her, people then respond by gushing things like:
“You have taken this catastrophically bad thing and turned it into a wonderfully good thing!”
The late Dr. Jessie Gruman would have likely recognized this not-so-subtle expectation that good patients will somehow take the lemons that life curveballs at them and make deliciously noble lemonade. Continue reading “Does surviving a heart attack make you a better person?”