Beginnings

I want to remember this.

In six weeks, I graduate from nursing school. I learned the fundamentals. I learned the requisite skills. I learned the “why” and the “should.”

I also learned about self-care. Actually, I learned a lot about it. Insomuch that my classmates and I were sick of hearing of it. We heard it so many times. 

My classmates have been an inspiration for me. Our passion and collective drive are astounding. We are invigorated. We are excited. We want to help.

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A Patient’s Vow to Improve Himself

A middle-aged man, holding a cloth bag, stood in the doorway to my intensive care unit. In a soft voice, he said, “Umm, I was a patient here a couple of months ago. Remember me?”
I did indeed recognize him, and a number of scenes flashed through my mind. Of a forty-five year old patient, lying motionless on the hospital bed, still under general anesthesia after emergency heart surgery. Of the ventilator breathing for him. Of overhead warming lights slowly bringing his body temperature back up to normal. Of his blood pressure spiking high then dipping low. Of lethal

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A Renaissance

“One of these days, someone is going to straighten you out!”

Have you ever heard these words? Have they ever been said to you or someone you know? Never did I expect to experience them late in my life in a different way than their usual, figurative meaning. But thanks to the gifted hands of a spinal surgeon, my severe scoliosis was arrested and I was straightened out, literally, at age seventy-three no less.

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The Price of Admission

I had been accepted to an accelerated graduate program in Health Communication and was considering deferring for a year. New responsibilities at work and figuring out what I wanted to do next with my life took priority. 

But then, I found out that my friend, Liz, was sick.

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An Attachment to Gratitude

After my lumpectomy, I walked around with a sore arm but also with gratitude for my good report. I knew the pain would diminish as I inched my arm up the bedroom wall each morning, gaining strength and mobility. The sky would be the limit. Even though I was one of those one in eight women who receives a breast cancer diagnosis, gratitude was going to be my mantra.
 
That fresh start boomeranged as my arm became more and more swollen and I discovered I had lymphedema, a chronic condition that became an albatross I carried for over a

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Turning to the New

A former clinical psychologist and sailor, I’ve had myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) since 1990 and have been almost completely housebound, with both neurological and immune system symptoms, all of that time. ME/CFS is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. While each year has come with more than its share of difficulties, this past year was loaded with extensive dental work, back problems, and extended voice loss (I also have muscle tension dysphonia).

 
I had a small break and hoped nothing further would hit when suddenly a bout of vertigo pinned me down and has

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The Promise of Possibility

I excel at making excuses, especially when those excuses have to do with exercise. “I’m too tired” leads the list of why I am not outside walking or at the gym on the treadmill; “I’ll do it later” comes in a close second. Ironically, I consciously deprive myself of exercise, even when I know that I feel more energized when I do engage in some kind of physical fitness.  

From mid-April, when I ended the spring semester as a university teacher, until late August, when I began teaching again, I walked every morning for an hour. I either listened

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Doctor-Centered Care

“I realized with alarm that I hadn’t learned how to save anyone at all, not Dr. Sanders or Lazarus or Jimmy or Saul or Anna O., and that what I was thrilled about was learning how to save myself.” (House of God)

Two years ago my life drastically changed for the worse, and I faced an intersection in destiny. I chose the clinician’s path, knowing it is going to be demanding, hoping it will be satisfying. Life now is harder than I imagined, and every single day is a struggle. I live in a house that is no longer my

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An Editor’s Invitation: A Fresh Start

The New Year offers all of us a chance for a fresh start–to look at things differently, to act differently, to try new things or to take on old issues in a new way.

Illness can be an invitation to a fresh start. As we slog through the muck of sickness, it’s tempting to strike a deal with the powers that be: When I recover from this, I’m going to start taking better care of myself.

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