As a chronic congestive heart failure patient, it seems to me that I am taking a lot of medication. My nurses assure me that there are other patients who take even more, so I guess I should be grateful that I do not have even additional pills to swallow
have become familiar with a number of drugs in the last six years. I have also reviewed a good variety of product packages, product information documents and patient inserts. So I have some suggestions to perhaps help the pharmaceutical industry develop additional drugs, revisit medication names, and add more clarity to the patient information we need to review before we put a pill into our bodies.
I recently returned to the place where I spent 30 years of my career. I had not been there for six years, but people still knew who I was – YAY!
Unfortunately, those people also wanted to know what was going on in my life. I could have just said – Oh, I do a lot of volunteer work. But that wouldn’t be sincere, and I also want to be open with people so that they know that you can still have a life and be optimistic when you have a chronic disease. So I have adopted the RUST approach to updating friends, family and colleagues: Remain Upbeat, Simple and True.
A number of years ago, the band Maroon 5 had a hit with the song “Moves Like Jaguar”. The Jagger referred to of course was Mick Jagger. The Song Facts website relates the following about this tune:
Gosh, I’m slipping. It has been a while since I have complained about the very absurd and erroneous term for the medical condition of heart failure. After reviewing disclaimers stated by various heart related organizations (for example, well really, the heart doesn’t fail), I think it is obvious that there needs to be a more descriptive, less intimidating term for this condition that strikes many of us.
Lest you think I am being too sensitive, a number of friends and loved ones have commented to me that the term heart failure is really silly. I mean, they look confused when they initially find that I have heart failure. It’s like you can see wheels turning in their heads as they think: Heart failure?!??? But she is standing right here talking with me? Wouldn’t she be dead if her heart failed and is no longer working?!?? Wouldn't I be attending her funeral?
We are approaching the time of year where folks like to get out of town and explore new and exciting venues. Even if you have a chronic illness, you should not let that stop you from travelling to new locales. It used to be that when I traveled, my to do list only included things like what to pack and making sure I had sufficient resources for an enjoyable trip. But now that I have heart failure, a chronic medical condition, there are so many more to dos that need to be added to my list.
First, is a task that might sound a little negative. But let’s face it, bad things can sometimes happen even on the most glorious of trips. Or bad things can happen in advance that prevent you from making the trip. So it is important for a significant trip that is costing you money to make sure you have trip insurance, especially one that addresses not only cancellation but medical care and evacuation.
Okay, once again it is time for me to lobby the medical community about the inappropriate term “heart failure”. Why is it an inappropriate term? Because virtually every website I can find says that your heart doesn’t really fail. So there is no logic in calling something a failure that doesn’t really fail – zero logic, none, zilch.
Here are just a few comments about the inapt nature of the term. From the Cardio Smart website: “Contrary to how it sounds, heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped beating.” Or from the British Heart Foundation: “Having heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped working, but that your heart needs some support to help it work better.”
I went out for a walk in the morning on the first Monday in February. It was supposed to be a nice day with unusually mild temperatures. Given a recent show event, mild air would be a good thing - right? But as I was walking I noticed that I didn’t feel great. My head just began to feel so congested and I could tell that I was a bit more winded as I went up inclines.
Usually when I return home after a brisk walk I feel invigorated. But when I came through the doors of my condo I felt more spent than anything. What was going on here? I took off my coat and began to look at my iPhone to see if I had any e-mails. I also took a look at the weather.
It seems appropriate for an author of a blog on heart failure to devote a post on February 14 to Valentine’s Day. But as I started to think of ideas, it dawned on me that I really did not have a clue why a Saint and the heart become symbols for the romantic love that is celebrated and promoted on Valentine’s Day. I also was clueless as to the significance of the heart throughout time in general.
In fact, when you look into the matter, the origins of Valentine’s Day seem less than romantic. If you don't agree with this statement, you take a look online at sources such as a Smithsonian Magazine article entitled: "The Gory Origins of Valentine’s Day".
As you may have noticed, there are alarms and alerts everywhere. Almost all of them, if not all, are impossible to miss. When you are watching television, there is occasionally a test of the Emergency Alert System. This alarm has been around for years, and when I was little it was referred to as the Emergency Broadcasting System. The test produces an alarm sound that is at ear piercing levels, as the FCC admits below:
If you were to ask my colleagues who Melanie was before her heart failure appeared, you would hear words like ambitious, or intense or persistent or diligent. I would have been amazed if anyone ever used words like laid back, carefree or tranquil. If they did, they would need to produce a picture of their Melanie because I swear it would not be my picture.
Nope, the recurring theme for all these people asked to describe Melanie would be that they knew she was married to her job. In other words, Melanie was a workaholic! She was like a terrier who picked up a bone and would not let it go. In other words, she devoted her entire heart, soul and mind to each project she worked on.
Melanie discovered that she had heart failure in 2013. She spent the next 7 years learning how to live with the condition, and how to achieve balance and personal growth. Then in October 2020, she received a heart transplant. This blog is about her journey of the heart.