When doctors use words that hurt

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Consider hearing the scary diagnosis of “heart failure” tripping lightly from your doctor’s lips as if it were no big deal. Can there be anything more terrifying and demoralizing than hearing that your heart is failing”And the words don’t even  accurately reflect this condition, which actually means that your heart is not pumping blood as well as it should. 

So why did doctors come up with this heart failure name, and what on earth were they thinking when they decided it would be a good idea to actually say these words out loud to Real Live Patients? And is there a less hurtful term they could use instead?   Continue reading “When doctors use words that hurt”

“The heart is a house with four rooms”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Put your hand on your heart right now.  I’m guessing that your hand is likely in the correct general location (although if you’re like my American friends singing their national anthem, your hand is resting on your left chest area rather than over the heart’s actual central chest location, slightly tipped to the left). So go ahead and slide your hand a wee bit to the right where it belongs.

Now compare that little exercise to how well you’d know the location (or function) of your liver or your pancreas.

I’m pretty sure if we were playing Pin The Tail On the Major Organ, we’d lose on those two examples.

That’s why I loved Dr. Roxanne Sukol‘s creative and plain-English description of the heart. Dr. Sukol is the founder of Your Health Is On Your Plate, and has  spent much of the past 15 years making complex medical information easy for the rest of us to understand. Here’s how she describes our hearts:    Continue reading ““The heart is a house with four rooms””

“What Was That?” A poem for heart attack survivors

by Carolyn Thomas

Loyal British reader Lorraine Gradwell responded to a recent post here (Heart Disease Within “The Comfort of Denial) by revealing that its post-heart attack emotional roller coaster message had resonated with her. Like many other women, this 58-year old Manchester mother of two felt frightened and confused after surviving what doctors call a “widow maker” heart attack last fall. And like many other women, her cardiac symptoms (crushing fatigue, light-headedness along with chest, neck, arm and shoulder symptoms) had been initially misdiagnosed as panic attacks

Lorraine explains:

“I had my heart attacks early last October; I didn’t know what was happening and this left me frightened that I could have more. I began a creative writing course the same week and wrote this poem.”   Continue reading ““What Was That?” A poem for heart attack survivors”