Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Pain and Illness: Why the Front Office Matters

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThey are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office workers at a physician’s office matter, really, they do!  And the better we can work with them, the easier our care can become.

From the first call to get the first appointment to the last minute on a holiday weekend when you need a prescription refill, a doctor’s receptionist, record keeper, or billing staff provide invaluable assistance. The best of them have become almost like friends to me! Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful dealing with front office staff:

Get to know the names of all (or at least most) of the front office staff in your doctor’s office. Call them by name, communicate on a human level.

Try to be mindful that the receptionist or staff member in charge of calling in refills might have a number of calls or requests ahead of yours.  If it’s an emergency, communicate politely and firmly.

If you’re calling to get a first appointment, you might be told it’ll be weeks before there’s an opening. Schedule the first available appointment, then ask to be put on a waiting list (most offices have them), and call back periodically to see if a spot has freed up.

Make every attempt to keep calm when asking why you’ve had to wait so long, or why your chart wasn’t pulled. (I know, this can be difficult!) Mistakes and delays do happen. (But if they happen a lot, you might consider changing doctors.)

Some medical offices don’t allow this, but for some of my docs, I give some kind of holiday gift to show my appreciation for everyone who has helped me throughout the year. A basket of cookies, a poinsettia plant, or just a card are nice gestures – and a way to show that you are thankful that they care!

Blessings for the day,


TLC Tuesday: A Breath of Fresh Air

posted by mpratt

pic for website 2012Today, give yourself a breath of fresh air. Not just a shallow, timid gasp. A full-fledged, rejuvenating intake of blessed and cleansing oxygen.

When we’re busy or tense, stressed or preocuppied, we might ignore the simple ways that we can reconnect, even for a moment, with God’s creation and the miracle that is our bodies. We might take for granted that our hearts beat, our muscles stretch and contract, and our lungs provide us with the air we need to function. But if we drag ourselves away from the pressing tasks that devour our attention, if we allow a few moments of fresh, cleansing air, we can better relax, regroup, and be set to face the rest of our day, breathing a sigh of blessed relief when our work is done and we can truly relax.

Joy and peace,


Food for Thought: Finding Faith in Fiction

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicEarlier this year, I wrote an article for Saint Anthony Messenger that coincided with the 50th anniversary of the death of American author and devout Catholic Flannery O’Connor. It was a very personal piece, especially because Flannery had died from lupus at a too-young age and I had discovered her through the book, “The Habit of Being,” which is a compilation of letters from her that speak wonderfully of her journey of faith, lupus, life, and writing.

I am reminded of my “visit” with Flannery by my experience reading another book, one that I haven’t finished, yet. This one is a work of fiction called “Lila,” and is by Marilynne Robinson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “Gilead.” I haven’t read Gilead, but plan to; I understand it’s also set with many of the same characters as “Lila,” and I’m finding them to be wonderfully human and striving to live as best they can a Christlike walk. But, would I say that “Lila” is a “Christian” novel? Not exactly. Faith is central to the plot and the characters, and there are healthy and, at times, poignant discussions of Scripture, God’s love, forgiveness, heaven and hell. But the compelling thing is, there’s no preaching (although one of the central characters is a preacher!).

I’m always delighted when I pick up a book and discover that the author includes faith and God within the story.  I didn’t know anything about Marilynne Robinson or her work before giving “Lila” a try. I’m very glad I did!

Joy and peace,


A Praying Spirit: Praying through Pain

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicYou want to pray, you want to feel God’s comfort and love. But you’re in too much pain to sit, stand, or lie down without feeling consumed with hurt. When you think the pain is subsiding, you try again, but sharp stabs stop you and reminds you: Pain won’t go away.

Whether it’s physical or emotional pain, it can be hard to have a few moments free enough to pray as openly and strongly as you would like. But it’s not impossible – no, never impossible – to connect with God. No pain is too great, no moment too fleeting for you to reach out to Him, and for Him to reach you.

But, how?

Be as comfortable as you can be to start. Then, allow yourself to acknowledge your pain. You understand it’s there (though you wish it weren’t), and you know what it is doing to you. Moreover, as you acknowledge it, know that God knows, too, and is sitting beside you, right there, present, powerful, and all-loving.

Then, all that being said, turn from pain to prayer, even if all you can muster is one or two words, or a brief sentence. Breathe in a calm a way as you can. Shed tears, if you feel like it. But, all the while, know that God is there.

Ask God to work peace in you, His peace. And comfort. Remain in His calming presence as best you can, for as long as you can, even through the pain.

The only way to not feel God’s healing hand is to not invite Him in. God, who loves you, will reach you through your pain. He is, after all, God!




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