Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: Too Many Moving Parts? Here’s Help!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic  This doc wants bloodwork and so does that doc, but the appointments aren’t on the same day, so you end up with 2 sticks instead of one. Then, the first doc needs more blood and another test, and a third doc insists you need another test, but at a different facility from the first one, so you end up criscrossing the city…on a hot, blazingly sunny day…at lunch time…and you’re running out of gas, to boot. The following day, one doc orders two tests, but your insurance won’t cover both if they’re done on the same day, so you have to schedule in another visit to accommodate the billing system.

Sometimes, we might have one doc appointment a month. Other times, we have multiple appointments and by the end of the month, our arms are sore, our patience is depleted, and we want to sleep until, well, the next appointment all-too-soon!

Irk!

The more chronic conditions one has, the more complicated it can be to get the care, tests, and information we need to managing the whole picture effectively. (Notice, I didn’t say, “Efficiently?”, for in many cases, efficiency is nonexistent!)

Is there anything we can do to streamline such situations? Sometimes…

One tremendous blessing for me is to have held onto the same, key members of my medical team. Communication is so much easier if I see the same doctor visit after visit, and that they know and respect each other makes communication easier between them, too. I’ve often met with one doc and gotten his orders for bloodwork, then gone to another doc who will draw the blood and added the first doc’s orders to the second, so that there’s only one needle stick.

Understanding the tests and what is or is not covered (and how) by insurance – ahead of time! – makes “day of” problems less likely to occur, and it also means that you, the patient, will be more knowlegable about what is being ordered and why.

Good organization also helps, both on the patient’s part and on the doc’s part. So, when you go to the doc appointment, you have a list of questions, meds, and symptoms, at the ready – and you share this with all of your doctors so they, too, know what’s going on and what your concerns are.

Yes, often there can seem to be too many moving parts to managing our care. But with some patience and advanced planning, we can help things move more smoothly!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

TLC Tuesday: Look for Light

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“One more doctor visit” bringing you down?

Last week, I had two doc visits in one day, both of which were delayed and difficult. But, at the second one, a “God thing” happened -

An older woman, using a walker, sat down beside me in the waiting room. She was carefully and nicely dressed, but clearly worn and tired. After a few moments, she asked me,

“Have you been waiting long?”

“About forty-five minutes.”

She grimaced. “When was your appointment?

I sighed. “Forty-five minutes ago. The doctor is running late.”

The woman grimaced again, rearranged herself in the chair, and started to talk about how “This isn’t right.” “No doctor should make you wait that long.” “I can’t believe this…”

I was not thrilled with waiting, either, but complaining was not bound to speed things up. How to turn this situation around?

I prayed up. And looked down.

First, at my blue and white slip-on shoes. And then at my neighbors…very same, blue and white slip-on shoes!

I caught her eye. I smiled. I pointed down at her feet. She looked down, her grimace turning to a puzzled look. I pointed at my feet. She looked.

And she recognized the shoes and broke into a big grin.

“At least we both have excellent taste,” I said, smiling.

“Why, yes. Yes we do.”

And we began to talk about how comfortable the shoes are and other things – lighter and of light.

When the nurse called me into the inner office, my neighbor, still smiling, said, “God bless you.”

Today, TLC Tuesday, look for even the slimmest glimmer of light in a dark place. Fan that flame into true Light, until even the darkness cannot compete!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Illness: When Everyone Has Their Own Ideas

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Don’t you just know, one person’s rheumatoid arthritis is another’s “Oh, it’s just aches and pains?” Or, one person’s propensity to infection is another’s “Don’t worry, I only have a little cold, you can be around me.” Or, one person’s furry pet allergies is another’s, “Oh, really, no one’s every complained about Fifi or Fido before!”

Back when my high school class went on its class trip, my two roommates wanted to smoke in our hotel room. They knew that I had severe asthma, but, they thought, it would surely be all right for them to smoke if they brought along powerful disinfecting spray and used that to “cover up” the smoke! Oh, not so very, very much!

Yes, often, no matter how well we explain to other people what our situation is and what our restrictions and “special needs” are, others have their own – and very often downright uninformed, silly (or stupid) ideas.

What to do…what to do…

First, of course, we have to do what’s healthful for us. If we have to explain, again, we do that. If we have to leave the situation, well, we do that, too. (In high school, I asked for and was given another room.) Yes, it might create a “kerfluffle,” but, well, that’s life with chronic illness.

Second, well, we have to keep in mind that, although we know what’s going on with us health-wise, most people are just not “in the trenches” like we are. Try explaining lupus to someone who has no experience with it, and watch carefully for the eyes glazing over and confusion to set in. So, to a great extent, “spreading the word” wisely and well is, yes, up to us. How we communicate – and when and to whom – can make a huge difference in helping others understand and act appropriately.

Third, even if you are patient, kind, and very articulate, be prepared for someone to be offended. Fifi or Fido’s owner might still harbor the grudge against you if you hesitate to coo over his or her beloved pets. The cold-carrier might still think you are being anti-social for not coming close. And those high school classmates might, well, never “get it.”

But you? Hang tough, brother and sister. Keep the faith – and stay your course!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Chronic Pain: How Can You Feel Like You Belong?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLoneliness is one of the hardest things to conquer for many people living with chronic pain. But sometimes, it is not so much the feeling of being alone as it is the feeling of not belonging – belonging to a group, family, church, or workplace team.

When we struggle with ongoing and often severe pain, we sometimes compartmentalize our thoughts and feelings, perhaps fearful that, if we fully realized all that the pain is, we might completely fall apart. So, we push the pain back, into the farthest corner or our minds. Or, we put on a “happy face,” and assure others around us that, “No, I’m fine, really,” when, in fact, we’re not.  This kind of thinking, over time can make us even more isolated, as if we’re being “false” to our situation and, thus, to others. And this, in turn, can distance us even more from those around us and from the very groups to which we do, indeed, belong. Of course, physical barriers to belonging can exist, too, as impediments to participation.

So, how can people with chronic pain feel more like they belong and, thus, be able to benefit from compassion and companionship – and contribute their own gifts, too?

It’s very important to communicate to people what your particular limitations are and, often, your fears about belonging with a group, familial or otherwise. If mobility is a problem, explain what accommodations can make your involvement easier. If timing is an issue (for example, travel over the holidays to join family members), get creative with other ways of participating or scheduling events.

I’ve found that, if I’m overwhelmed by a large group or a big, new “world,” I try to focus in on one instead of many. Meet one  new person, find out one new thing, make one, even small, contribution. If it’s a Web-based group, with multiple topics shooting back and forth among the members, focus on one topic instead of all, and try to have a meaningful interchange with that subject alone.

If my attempts to contribute and feel a sense of belonging and acceptance seem not to take root, well, I usually conclude that the group/activity/place is probably not my cup of tea. Yup, sometimes, you have to close one door to open another – and really walk into a welcome!

Everyone, to some extent, wishes to belong to something, whether it is a social group, a more formally organized group, or even a neighborhood or home-based structure. For those of us with chronic pain, creating that sense of belonging can be difficult, but by no means impossible – if we take the initiative, one step and one person at a time.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Previous Posts

Chronic Illness: Too Many Moving Parts? Here's Help!
  This doc wants bloodwork and so does that doc, but the appointments aren't on the same day, so you end up with 2 sticks instead of one. Then, the first doc needs more blood and another test, and a third doc insists you need another test, but at a different facility from the first one, so you end

posted 1:08:20am Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: Look for Light
"One more doctor visit" bringing you down? Last week, I had two doc visits in one day, both of which were delayed and difficult. But, at the second one, a "God thing" happened

posted 1:27:45am Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: When Everyone Has Their Own Ideas
Don't you just know, one person's rheumatoid arthritis is another's "Oh, it's just aches and pains?" Or, one person's propensity to infection is another's "Don't worry, I only have

posted 6:12:12pm Sep. 14, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Pain: How Can You Feel Like You Belong?
Loneliness is one of the hardest things to conquer for many people living with chronic pain. But sometimes, it is not so much the feeling of being alone as it is the feeling of not belonging - belonging to a group, family, church, or workplace team. When we struggle with ongoing and often severe

posted 6:12:06pm Sep. 13, 2014 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Worship and Contagion
My immune system is, once again, in overdrive and making new and serious antibodies, among them to my retinas. I've had to begin a more aggressive form of treatment, and it will make me more susceptible to infection. As a lupus patient, I am usually much more conscious of avoiding infections than, p

posted 1:05:20am Sep. 11, 2014 | read full post »


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