- Wash your hands. I washed mine and used the hand sanitizer until they were red and crackly. But they were always clean and I didn’t bring home any extra illnesses.
- Be your own patient advocate. Docs and nurses are busy busy busy. They’ll forget a dosage or maybe even give the wrong one. Check every time or have your loved ones do it. Write a list of questions so you don’t forget during doctors’ rounds.
- Have faith in your body’s ability to heal. It’s always working hard for you. And same with doctors: trust but verify. Believe the protocol is working and trust the people administering it, but don’t forget number two.
- Docs/hospitals make zero connection between what they feed you and what’s happening in your body. I learned this years ago but was starkly reminded when I saw stage 4 cancer patients eating ice cream. I get that at a certain point people should eat whatever they want, but isn’t it common knowledge that cancer loves sugar?
- Laugh when you can and keep a light heart. Gallows humor isn’t for everyone, but it helped me get through a rough time. My sense of humor, oddly enough, came roaring back during this time.
- Don’t pay for a private room. Hospitals are lonely places, especially at night. Your roommates can keep you sane. Human connection is everything when you’re sick.
- Sleep when you can, because it’s hard to get rest in that setting. They’re up your butt all the time: take your temperature, take your medicine, here’s some food, here’s a shot (and not the fun kind). And they wake you up at 6am for no reason!
- Bring some comforts from home. Everyone made fun of me, but I had my hub bring me an essential oil diffuser and it helped keep me sane. And people loved it. (There was NO fresh air— the window didn’t even open a crack!)
- Music and earphones will keep you sane. Meditations, music, cat videos.. whatever brings you joy.
- This was a new one: if you ever want all your Tupperware back, get admitted to hospital.
- Really think about who you tell, at least at first. You’re in there to rest and recover, not worry about other people’s feelings about your illness or to get loads of visitors.
- Use it as a wake up call. Life is precious, and even if you believe we have many lives, you’ll only have this one once. Who was it who said, ‘Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging’? Get your priorities straight.
- Always have a will, even if it’s not finalized. No matter how old you are. Even if you don’t have kids.
- Once you’re out, you’ll appreciate the little things again: your own bed, a hot shower, fresh air. Good health of course! Appreciating the little things in life allows for more goodness to come in. I can’t emphasize this enough. The little moments in life are all we have, really. That and love. Appreciate those you love. Friends, family, your pets. Love is why we’re here, after all.
I want to give a little shoutout to my mama. We’ve had our differences over the years, like any mother and daughter, but I can honestly say she’s one of the most thoughtful people I know. And woefully under-celebrated for it. One small example: if you mention you like something, even in passing, she’ll put it in her memory bank for later. She’ll notice what chocolate you eat when you’re home and mail it halfway around the world, wrapped, for Christmas. My mother has never forgotten a birthday or an anniversary or overlooked an important date. (The woman’s got a memory of an elephant. Unless you’ve wronged her—in that case she lets it go). She sends more cards for these events than anyone I know: even to people she doesn’t know that well or who have abused her and my father’s kindness.
With her church group, Peg hand-knits shawls for people who are sick or grieving. My grandmother used to call her the power behind the throne, (my father being the king) and she wasn’t kidding. I think even Dad would agree (to a point) that that’s a fairly accurate statement, or at least not inaccurate. Hers is a quiet power.
Probably no one would accuse her of being touchy feeling or lovey dovey. My first boyfriend still jokes about how, after years of us dating, she still signed her cards to him, ‘Fondly, Peg.’ As mentioned, her caring nature is more quiet; backed up by actions instead of little nicknames or endearing monikers, for which she has little patience. (I may have gotten that from her.)
My mother is extremely humble and probably would never want me to post her picture here, but I just wanted to show my appreciation, because unfortunately it’s rare that I do. Love you Mom! Thank you for all you do, for me and so many others.
I’m working with this wonderful coach, which someday I’ll write more about. For now I’ll just say she’s helping me get out of my comfort zone and push through boundaries —like posting every day, showing more of myself, etc.
Part of my ‘homework’ is daily silent meditation. She says it’s non-negotiable. I’m no stranger to meditation—I’ve done it on and off for 15 years, but usually with a mantra, a guided meditation, or at least a group. I’m finding that silent meditation is a b&tch though. I start the usual way: get comfortable, take deep breaths, try to quiet my mind, and… a million thoughts come in. I make lists, suddenly remember things I forgot to do, the typical monkey mind. Sometimes (often) I even forget I’m supposed to be meditating and I get up and do other things! I just completely forget I even started a meditation.
I almost went on a five-day silent retreat once. If I can’t handle a ten-minute silent meditation, can you imagine how that would have gone? In one of the pictures of the event from the prior year, they showed people sitting immersed in these gorgeous alpine settings and looking blissed out—except for one guy who was looking down, hands on his head looking like he was about to lose it. That probably would’ve been me after about three days.
I really want to conquer this.
I never have this problem with guided meditations. What am I doing wrong? Do you meditate silently? Have any tips for me? Someone please help!!!
Ok so honestly, this is my response to this story: @busyphillips posted an Instagram post saying she had overheard a conversation between a woman and her husband debating an Instagram caption. She wanted him to write ‘to the love of my life’ (about her) and he, well, really didn’t want to.
Yikes. That IS painful to overhear. It even made Busy cry. Imagine being the wife!
My advice to the woman? Never settle for second best. Be your own best friend, your own love of your life, and you’ll never have to negotiate with someone to write that you are theirs (when they clearly don’t want to, and when you clearly…aren’t).