sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘burnout’

Words Not Spoken: 6 months after his heart attack

Powerful writing from November of 2011, 6 months after my husband’s heart attack.

His heart attack was May 4, 2011 and I wrote this 6 months later the week after he was finally discharged from outpatient cardiac rehab.

It was the beginning of recurrent bronchitis that lasted for over 6 months and then I suffered a car accident and the wheezing was present as the medics checked me out on the scene of the accident May 26, 20112.

I left this post as it was to show my mental state as I typed…

The original title was:

What I need to tell the head of Case Management (at Presbyterian Hospital)

You gave me a case manager who listened to my story. She sat and listened and heard me out when I was looking for help early on in the process.  Yet this same person who sat and listened, told me she would follow up on several things and get back to me and she never did.

She also told me things that are not true. She told me we would have been better off with no insurance because then someone from social services would have come and helped me fill out a Medicaid Application. Well part of that is true, someone might have come and done that had that been the case. But what she failed to tell me was how important it was to file for Medicaid right away and she failed to tell me the simple rule for NC Medicaid that you can’t have more than $3000 in money at the end of each month (after paying bills)…that is the best I can describe the “law” not having seen this any where in writing but only after finding out months later that because we had IRS tax refund money in our checking account, it disqualified us from Medicaid until the money was effectively gone.  We lived on that money for several months to pay our basic expenses while my husband nor I was working.

I am just warming up. That is just the tip of the iceberg at their lack of discharge planning and family education and effective “case management”.

Or maybe that just means that they have brief cases that they carry around and take care of.  Do I sound bitter and resentful?

Hell yes!

I have every right to be because I

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

My job as  healthcare professional is in part to assist people with being ready to return home or to whatever setting they are returning to and to ensure they will have the assistance needed when they return home.

Ok

first things first

Our lovely Case Manager

who so comforted me in my time of need- but then failed to follow through-

(I am trying to see the positive here)

She then comes to us very late in the day, after the doctor discharged him around 10 or 11, after we inquired and then the nurse got to us, right after lunch I believe.

Mind you, the only help I had at home, was my mother who had been at my house all week, returning after being with us the initial 3 days until my sister-in-law arrived.  My mother was tired, she had been taking care of three intense children and my episodes of panic or crazy blood sugar due to insufficient nutrition- or whatever it all was- stress

So, we have spoken to the doctor and the nurse for discharge and the nurse keeps informing us that we are waiting for the social worker.

I must add that a few days prior, I had called for the social worker, after the first one failed to follow through and come back to talk to me.  It was Monday or Tuesday when I spoke to her and their was no sign of her Friday. So it might have been Saturday when I called and this other social worker came and spoke to us.  I remember wishing she would be the one who came for discharge.  But no, it was not.  So sometime after 4pm, the social worker shows up and begins the conversation

mind you my husband suffered a severe heart attack, was in CCU for 4 days and then the step down cardiac unit for 8 and was on monitors the entire time we were there. When he was finally able to get up and move around well, it was the weekend and I had to throw a fit to get Physical Therapy come see him on Saturday, knowing it was very possible he would be going home Monday and his doctor was off for the first time since we’ld been there and wouldn’t be back til Monday.  His replacement was a Jackass who spoke inappropriately to the nurses (my husband’s description) well, he didn’t call him a jack ass, I did because he walked in, I wasn’t there, and looked at my husband and said, well, it doesn’t look like you’re going any where anytime soon.  This was Saturday morning after his doctor had led him to beleive the day before that he might very well go home Monday.

The next day, he had apparently talked to my husband’s doctor and was much more on the ball with what was going on with my husband and more appropriate, at least with my husband.

Nurses, apparently learn how to ignore the jackass doctors because, well, doctors are not known for their personalities.

Remember, I have worked with doctors, so I know first hand.

So now that we are all agreed that the guy was a jack ass

Oh yeah, my husband wasn’t allowed off the unit, not beyond the square around the nurses station in the small step down unit at the end of the hospital surrounded by vacant hallways due to a remodeling project because it was the weekend, and they would have to clear it with the doctor, have an order (everything needs an order)- I wonder if they need orders to speak kindly- you know, jack ass is the default mode-

anyway, so my fit to have him come off the unit and be wheeled to a new floor to get out of the room he had been for 8 days, unlike my fit to get PT to see him- guess I knew how to play my cards better with that department or maybe cause therapists generally aren’t jackass.. cause once someone called them, they came that day and the next,

so

Now,I am beside myself because it looks like I might be bringing my husband home on Monday and it is Saturday afternoon but I won’t know until I show up at 8:30 Monday morning and sit around and wait for the doctor to come in- cause that is the only way to be sure to be there when he comes to see my husband, is to show up at the earliest possible time that he might come for rounds.  It was 6:30 when he was on CCU.  And then the nurses tell me really I should be there earlier like 7 just to be sure.

So he has been on continuous cardiac monitoring the entire time he is here, all 12 days with frequent checks of blood pressure and pulse and oxygen saturation.  And we can’t leave his unit but in two days, they might just send us home-

with home health care because I insisted on it-

And that is another story, because the lovely social worker, never notified the Home Health Company that he was discharged and so they did not know to come out to the house and the they are supposed to be there within 48 hours of discharge.

How do I know this? Because I have worked in home health care.And so the home health nurse came 2 days after he was home, because I called the agency and I let them know he was discharged

BECAUSE  I DID HER JOB

Put me on payroll please

So back to the hospital when the social worker finally comes into the room after we had been waiting all day

NOW I do understand that case managers or social workers or whatever you call them, are way overworked because I KNOW DAMN WELL THE EFFECTS OF THE CUT BACKS ON HEALTHCARE.

This issue is not so much how long it took her to come but the information she brought to us when she finally did come.

She started her conversation off with us something like this

and it has been 6 months and a blur and I now understand what she was doing but at the time, I had no clue.

She came to us and said,

“OK you can get this medication at these places and this medication at these places”

And she had these long lists, not that she was giving us any list, I don’t recall that she did.  Maybe she did.  And she went on and on and I was like, what the #%!?

I knew I needed a prescription for 5 days until we could get Med Assist (local agency for assistance with medications when you don’t have medicaid) but little did i know that I really needed to go and apply for that while he was still in the hospital.  Like I had time for that between advocating for my husband, caring for him, being there for him and then being with my children in what little hours were left of the day/night.

So I had no idea, it took 5 days from approval and that they would look at our income and base an entire year of income on 1 month of my prn pay checks where I was working more than twice the hours I normally do. The increased hours were temporary while another OT was on maternity leave.  No idea that would be the policy. Because, did you know the entire support system like Medicaid is set up based on people who work for an employer full time or at least regular part time hours.  There is no consideration for prn pay (which is higher than normal pay because you have no benefits and NO guarnteed hours- I have lost a week of work because of being prn- thinking I would work 40 hours one week when they didn’t need me for that and ….I digress

I like being prn- but if you need help form the system, you are screwed.

Just to be clear, I have been sick with some kind of upper respiratory thing, and today I have heard what I believe is whezing and I feel like I am going to cough up my lung.  Well, grief is processed in the lung.

And for some crazy reason, when I try to sleep, I have been relieving 6 months ago and my husband’s blue face and the whole freaking experience.

Maybe I am finally REALLY FEELING IT ALL AND FINALLY REALLY GRIEIVING.

My husband was discharged from Outpatient Cardiac Rehab this week.

Hmm….

Coincidence?

I don’t think so.  Just now realizing that one….

…and it is still sinking in….

ahh, other stories to tell.

Back to.?

Ah yes, the lovely discharge with the Case Manager on May 16, 2011.

So she is talking about all these places to get medication to get the $3 rate and how I can go to more than one pharmacy to get them all and I was like

?WTF?

I GUESS I THOUGHT THEY WOULD SEND US HOME WITH MEDICATION

It was getting late, my mom had my kids and was going to bring them to the hospital and was going to be heading home from there and  I would be driving home my husband, now off all monitors, with our three children, ages 2, 9 and 13 to be alone at home and manage everything.

While he was in the hospital, my family and friends had pretty much taken care of all meals and grocery shopping and all the laundry.

So I am worried about my husband having another heart attack or something medical when he returns home and worried about helping him recover while taking care of our intense and 2 out of 3 very high need childden.  And she is taking to me about saving money for 5 days worth of medication.

so I think I cut her short once we figured out we could just get 5 days worth of medication from the hospital pharmacy and then be on our way, but the pharmacy closes at 5 and we had to hurry.

I don’t really remember what happened next, with the case manager

I just remember the long wait at the pharmacy and the not so friendly pharmacist and the other person who worked there-

shame on both of them, they work in a hsospital, they need to be nice to people!  Everyone else, mostly was very nice including housekeeping staff and kitchen staff- but oh, not the pharmacy.

So we get the expensive medication that I had to pay for then.  You would think it could be on our bill….but no, WE WERE DISCHARGED AND ON OUR OWN!

It wasn’t until Wednesday that I could get to the Med Assist office, when a friend was able to come stay with my husband, and turn in the paperwork and then it was at least 5 days before I found out, maybe longer that we didn’t qualify, just over by like $1800 per year- due to the above mentioned prn pay checks for one month that they multiplied for the entire year even though that was grossly inaccurage and even though they had our 2010 tax return showing our income was less than half of what they calculated.

So This is why I contacted the Head of Case Management. I got the name and number while I was in the hospital before the discharge fiasco and before they failed to notify the home health agency.  And I called them from home and they called me back.  Mind you I was now home with a husband who got dizzy if he stood too quickly, had only just begun walking around on his own a few days prior and was out of breath with the slighest amount of activity and three children and despite us all holding it together while he was in the hospital and doing “well”, thing were challenging coming home.

NO BODY TALKS ABOUT THAT

The COMING HOME after the Heart Attack

They assume, he lives, he does well, he goes home, yeah!

NO one realizes how much harder it really is, going home.

I tried to tell the nurses at the hospital….

The Case Manager, I don’t know that I got the chance, I did share some of this with the second one, who came to us just that once.

BECAUSE I HAD SO MANY OTHER THINGS ON MY PLATE

I never did get to speak to the Department Head at the Hospital.  I left a detailed message and she called back and maybe spoke briefly to my husband because I was not home.

I think I need to send her a letter.

So I don’t leave anything out.

I could send this one, but I might need to remove a few jackasses and the like.

I am adding a note:

I don’t think I coughed once the entire time I wrote this.

It didn’t even occur to me til after i finished writing it and I realized my breathing seamed silent and my chest felt better- from not coughing so much.

The lung processes grief.

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Pulling the rug out from under me…And becoming who I am!

A large weight was lifting from my shoulders tonight.

I have been trudging through “the hard life”, waiting for the sh#t to hit the fan…

I have been living in fear of the rug being pulled out from underneath me, again!

Life has brought many challenges over the past 10 years leaving me feeling like I was living under a heavy weight of doom and gloom.

I stopped myself at work today.

I found myself thinking, “This is hard. I have to go back and see that patient and I have to walk through this large building and I am still figuring out how to get where I am going.”

I stopped myself and said, “Wait a minute!”

“This is NOT hard. I can do this. They are paying me good money to be here and to help them. I can sit in the comfortable building and walk these pretty halls, in this “palace” with a lap top that makes it easy to do my paperwork. I know how to be an Occupational Therapist and how to work with a variety of people and a variety of conditions and living situations. I know how to read through weeks of notes and write a progress report with one visit with the person. I CAN do this! I can ENJOY this!”

THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE

I AM living the good life!

I can decide how many hours I am working for these companies each week.

I can decide how much time I am spending writing.

I can decide how much time Don and I are spending growing our business and creating videos and pod casts and expanding our program.

I can decide how I spend my time.

It can be easy!

It really can.

I have removed myself from the drama of the hard job

I work PRN- as needed and on my terms.

I get to say, Yes I can work, and NO, I can not work!

I decide.

Don and I can present our introductory workshop to multiple places and people and gain more and more clients.

Life can be that easy.

I can enjoy what I do.

Fully enjoy helping people, without all the drama

Free of the drama of the healthcare- …sick-care system.

I am choosing a new path.

I can work in health care and stay out of the drama.

I can.

I can go in and do my work. And leave work at work.

I can then go home and get on with my life and my other endeavors and other pursuits.

I can work for my employers and do the work and come home and have plenty of time for the rest of my life!

Time to grow a thriving business with Don, helping families.

Empowering families to support their children and be better versions of themselves and improve their communications skills and their relationships, and their lives.

I can bring to other families what Don and I have brought to our family.

I can.

I am.

I am Gina

Here me roar.

I am a writer,

I am a mother.

I am an Occupational Therapist.

I am a facilitator and a coach.

I am a partner, a wife and a friend.

I am Gina.

I am creating my life.

I am.

The other side of depression, Bipolar Depression

I found this post in my drafts written February 12, 2018.

For some reason, I never published it. I suppose I felt it was unfinished.

Two months have past since I wrote it….Today is Monday April 9,2018.

I will first share the post as it was written two months ago and add to it at the end.

Written February 12,2018:

I decided today was a day to write about myself and my journey with depression.

I reread the post I wrote 8 months ago, shortly after I started on my current anti-depressant,

Seeing the Horizon

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

Bruce Hornsby sings in my ears as I write…

When I am in the midst of depression, I feel stuck like the words of the song, that’s just the way it is.

Yet, I never lost hope, but don’t you believe them.

I have now been on Prozac for 8 months and I feel I first really saw improvement back in October, after 4 months on medication. I insisted my doctor start me on 10 mg before moving up to 20mg for an easier adjustment for the medication. It’s what we did for my daughter and was recommended to minimize side effects and so I wanted to do the same for myself. It was also how the nurse practitioner had started me on a different anti-depressant 2 years ago when I first asked for medication help for my depression.

Here I am on the other side and looking back

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

All I want is to have my peace of mind

Boston says it so well. Thank you amazing musicians and azlyrics.

Reading my post Seeing the Horizon….

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.

In my post, Seeing the Horizon, I shared an experience I had going to a new location for my writing time and discovering a man on the floor. My first thought was he was sleeping, which seamed so silly after the fact. He had collapsed, fallen out of his booth onto the floor face down on the ground and I froze, witnessing the restaurant employees try to figure out what to do, offering him ice because he was clammy. And I stood there frozen, knowing what to do but unable to make myself step forward and speak up, “I know CPR”.

This experience and how I handled it has haunted me since it happened. I came to some peace with myself realizing it had triggered my PTSD from when my husband had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest in my own home. I was so thankful the medics arrived before he went into cardiac arrest. I was grateful that a police officer showed up rather quickly after the restaurant employees tried unsuccessfully to help the man. One employee knew to roll him gently onto his back and someone called 911, while I sat there paralyzed.

I recently completed a 6 week Resiliency Course with the amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther and founder of The Ego Tamer Academy and Author of the book, “Grief is Mourning Sickness”.

This course involved 6 intense weekly phone calls and some other individual work with tapping (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique) along with other exercises as part of a deep healing experience.

In my own personal work, through the help of Jan and the “borrowed benefits” of my group members, 5 other women, I discovered a connection between my own issues with medial professionals who have failed me and my children in getting the help we need with this experience.

This experience where I failed to respond to help this man in need.

In this realization, I was able to forgive the medical professionals who have failed my family. We are all human and we all make mistakes. On some level, there is still some underlying frustration with the failure to get help for my children when we really needed it. Yet, I have learned that moving past this resentment and anger is healing. Healing to myself including the ability to forgive myself for my own mistakes.

I have always been my own harshest critic.

In reflection, I have continued to move forward with great strides over the past two months.

I went through a long period of only needing 5-6 hours of sleep and getting up very early and accomplishing many things and jumping into many new things. While enrolled in the 6 week Resiliency Course, I realized my job of 8 years was not serving me and the universe had been pushing me to move on, and I had a difficulty phone encounter with my boss that led me to moving forward on my job search process that I had already started due to lack of hours. I also interviewed for and accepted two jobs, both “PRN” work, meaning on an as needed basis which is my status of employment at my other two employers. I have worked PRN for over 16 years since leaving my part time position when my daughter was born.

I was liberated when I moved away from the job of 8 years that was no longer serving me, nor providing me a pay check.

I found new work close to home and a better rate of pay.

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years and for the first time in 21 years, I have found a position with a higher rate of pay than I have previously received. This is the nature of healthcare jobs in 21st century America.

I am still in process of completing online requirements for the one employer. I have begun work for the other employer and am enjoying my 3 mile commute. I have worked at this facility in the past and so I knew several of the employees when I interviewed for the position. Being a familiar place, helped ease my transition to the new job. Change can be hard even when I am not depressed.

I have come to realize that I feel I have had some underlying depression since my teenage years. Most certainly since the challenges that came about in my life after moving when I was 12 years old, just prior to my 7th grade school year. And all the challenges of puberty only added to the struggle for me. I had some bigger issues in college my senior year when my relationship with my boyfriend of 5 years ended. I think the depression was mild until..

Maybe until my daughter was born and the challenges of being home more and juggling the needs of 2 children, or later when I was trying to conceive our third child and having no success but having hot flashes instead. Even then, when I look back, that was a relatively happy period in my life. I was struggling in that year before our third child was conceived and then when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. The very job that helped me to stay at home full time and for us to make the decision to have the third child I had always wanted.

My daughter’s OCD symptoms began about this time, but we did not acknowledge it fully until it exploded a year later, when her baby brother was one year old and she was 8 years old.

That was 8 years ago…

The following year, 2011, my husband had his heart attack.

6 months after his heart attack when he had completed outpatient cardiac rehab, I developed Bronchitis that was recurrent for over 6 months and then got in a car accident just over one year to the anniversary of his heart attack.

May 2011 and May 2012: challenging times

My car accident in May of 2012 was far more devastating to me than my husband’s heart attack.

I became a pessimist.

And I wondered how that happened, because I was always the eternal optimist.

Yet, I knew “life had dragged me down”…

Songs like this have kept me going. Music is my therapy.

I will close with the words of the late, great Tom Petty for he has been one of my biggest inspirations over the past several years writing about my depression.

Well, I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground

Won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Gonna stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right

I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

Four o’clock in the morning

It is 4:00 in the morning.

Sounds like the beginning of a song.

It has been awhile since I have woken around 2:30 am, unable to sleep and have come to the kitchen to my lap top.

Today, I went to my email not sure why I was doing that, seamed so frivolous, like I needed to do something of more importance like write but wasn’t feeling in a place to write.  Good decision as I came across the link to my husband’s Blog, “My Spiritual Spot”.  His most recent blog post called

Fickle Fart

I had to read that.

And so I did and then I read more and more

And found myself wanting to read things he posted prior to his heart attack as well as just after it.

I commented on his posts and finally in my last comment, found myself writing

delving deeply into my own thoughts, reflecting and expressing

For some reason, I am now frozen, unsure of what to say next.

I could say how reading other inspiring posts, helps inspire myself and helps me reconnect to who I really am and to remember who I am and my purpose here.

Maybe this blank feeling, this unsure of what is next, is only

space

breathing space

It is ok to be in the question

to just sit in the stillness

the quiet

the space between the words

this early morning time is space between the busy moments of my life

breathing space

and breathing is essential for living

Let’s Get Real

…that you cannot find or create a costume big enough

to hide your true self from anyone.

  In truth, we’re all wearing The Emperor’s New Clothes. We parade before the world naked–thinking that no one can see us. Why not just be proudly revealed, and authentically who we are?

And do not worry about being rejected and alone. It is

the real you that everyone falls in love with–and that

God adores.

So I am once again inspired to write after reading my daily message from Neale Donald Walsch.  I did something new today when I was playing on my BlackBerry in the early morning hours after waking up and not being able to sleep, I started reading others blogs and I found some good ones.

I read some  wonderful articles including, Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills and Changing the Paradigm which reaffirmed my beliefs about home/unschooling.

And I read some others where I disagreed which in turn fueled me more to write my own thoughts. ( I thank all who post their ideas and opinions.  I like reading articles that challenge my way of thinking as well as ones that allow me to get a glimpse of how other people think .)

This post, Part2: I homeschool because I am selfish – Homeschooling Five, was by far my favorite. It was my favorite because she was real. She wrote what she was thinking and what I and others have thought. After reading her bio, I read more posts.  She wrote about “owning our words” and “not censoring those who disagree with you” in another post.  That is the kind of writer I aspire to be…one who speaks my truth clearly yet honestly; respectful of others yet without apologizing for being who I am.

So now, in the words of the amazing song writer and performer,  Billy Jonas (no, not one of the Jonas Brothers), “Let’s Get Real“.  Real about what you ask?

Burnout

Not just burnout in the general sense, but caregiver burnout.  Sure, this is recognized like described in the WebMD,  but I believe we need to recognize and deal with this before it gets to the full burnout stage which is basically Depression.

To dig further, I think one of the biggest reasons we fail to see the signs coming, is as a society, we fail to acknowledge grief.  Sure,  we acknowledge grief when someone dies but grief happens in many forms and it can happen even when the experience is not as dramatic as physical death.   What about other life changes, big and small, that challenge our way of living and cause us to rebuild or rethink our life?  I have many personal examples I can share.

Five years ago, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, very early stage.  He was still living life to the fullest, continued to work in his self chosen semi retired state, living in his dream home on the lake and active with his hobbies of fishing, golf and woodworking. His diagnosis didn’t  directly affect me, yet because I am an Occupational Therapist and have worked with people in the late stages of Parkinson’s, it had a big impact on me.  I imagined the future, based on those who I have seen in late stage, and this changed my image of my future  including my father’s deteriorating health (Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease)  and the idea of  no more  family gatherings at my parents’  lake front property, something I had come to really love and value for myself and my kids.  My father had been in good health and was 64 when he was diagnosed. It was a sudden realization of the mortality of my aging parents.  About this same time, my good friend and amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther, was working on  her book, Grief Is…Mourning Sickness.  I had the opportunity to be part of a video tapped session for local television where Jan talked and demonstrated EFT around the topic of grief.  Jan recognized my experience as a form of grief (sure -milder than a more traumatic event, but grief nonetheless).

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first defined The Five Stages of Grief in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Yet, theses stages, now well know, most people associate  with tragedy especially with a terminal illness or catastrophic loss, like the death of a loved one.  There are different degrees of grief.  And so when my 52 year old healthy husband had a sudden unexpected heart attack and cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance in Ventricular Tachycardia,  his dark blue  face and  motionless body being forever imprinted in my mind, and even after he was “brought back to life” and in recovery in the CCU 4 hours later and I got to talk to him, one could see clearly that I was in a state of grief.  Looking back, I see how I was both in shock and denial.  The denial  came more when I lingered to call 911.  As I research the word shock, I discovered this information on  “trauma cycle” ( see Phase1. The Loss Cycle).

And so while my husband was in the hospital, friends and family swarmed us with love, prayers, thoughts, help in many forms including caring for our three children, providing meals, groceries, and in so many ways I could write an entire blog about it.

Then, 12 days later Don came home and I continued to ask for help, something that used to be difficult for me but had become suddenly very easy to do when Don was in the hospital.  Yet, as time wore on, and my husband improved, it became more difficult for me to ask for help.  He had survived a nearly fatal heart attack and was on the mend and so surely we did not need as much help now.  Yet, I knew better and didn’t foresee fully how I would slow down in asking for help.  Sure, we were excited that he was home and improving and just plain grateful he was alive and grateful for all the help our family and friends gave us, yet, now we had bigger challenges.

When he was in the hospital, life was simple.  I was either at the hospital with Don, helping advocate and care for him, or I was at home tending to the needs of my children.  Now, with Don at home, we were adjusting to his “new life” with 7 medications (when he was on none before), and me acting as his caregiver, taking his BP and monitoring him as an Occupational Therapist (because I am an OT and I can’t just turn that off) as well as the increased responsibility of caring for the children and home with initially very little help from him which has slowly improved but is no where near the level it was before (Don is a a very involved dad) not to mention the added new financial challenges and juggling doctor appointments.

Yea, that was a rather long sentence and it doesn’t even come close to fully describing how much busier my already busy life became.   And with time, it has gotten busier. Sure Don has been able to slowly do more but by slowly I mean SLOWLY!  We talked about it the other day and as of now, June 27, 7 1/2 weeks after his heart attack, he is at about 50% (at most )of his activity level compared to before his heart attack.

And does anyone still recognize that we are still dealing with grief?  I haven’t asked anyone the question.  I know that as a society, one would assume, that we no longer have “grief” but just ” a lot to deal with”.  Yet, all that I have learned from Jan Luther, I know better that this is still part of the process.  Even as Don gets amazing news that his heart has returned from 25% function to 50% function (near full recovery), our life is forever changed and we are continuing to  process this change and are in fact, going through the stages of grief.