heart condition

Day 2735: For now

For now,

  • Oscar seems to be feeling better, perhaps due to his steroid medication,
  • friends and family seem to be well,
  • I am not suffering,
  • a lot of people are in pain,
  • I am facilitating a telehealth version of my Coping and Healing groups five times every week,
  • I am using the word “mute” and “unmute” way too often,
  • I’m working from home for the foreseeable future,
  • I am still President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy,
  • pasta is still my favorite food,
  • the weather in Boston is beautiful,
  • I am living near the water,
  • most people in my neighborhood are wearing masks when they are outside,
  • I see a lot of white male rage,

  • I love Melissa Villasenõr,
  • I believe in skill, perseverance, flexibility,  and luck,
  • I was inexplicably able to fix an inexplicable and annoying display change on my laptop,
  • when somebody calls me “annoying” or any other critical label, I have trouble letting go of that,
  • I think saying “hello” and “goodbye” are both very important,
  • focusing on the future often raises anxiety,
  • I’m trying to avoid fortune telling, mind reading, and the other cognitive distortions,
  • I prefer to live in the now,
  • I am very grateful for all that I have, and
  • I am sharing all my photos from yesterday.

IMG_3896

fullsizeoutput_4576

IMG_3892

IMG_3895

IMG_3893

IMG_3894

61178851811__64C4D556-1F53-4393-A5F3-E1714A3E16F7

fullsizeoutput_4579

IMG_3900

IMG_3901

IMG_3902

fullsizeoutput_457a

For now and forever, I don’t drink wine because I’m on Coumadin for the rest of my life. For now, I am totally fine with that.

For now, I need to end this post and get ready for work, so thanks to all who helped me create another “For Now” post, including YOU!

IMG_3894

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2722: Responses to Illness

I have many decades of experience observing responses to illness, because I’ve being dealing with a heart condition since birth.  The responses to illness I’ve seen include:

  • pity,
  • sympathy,
  • empathy,
  • fear,
  • courage,
  • ignorance,
  • ingenuity,
  • misunderstanding,
  • understanding,
  • denial,
  • acceptance,
  • coldness,
  • warmth,
  • despair,
  • hope,
  • disrespect,
  • respect,
  • anxiety,
  • calm,
  • avoidance,
  • acceptance,
  • confusion,
  • clarity,
  • cruelty,
  • caring,
  • neglect,
  • kindness,
  • resentment,
  • inspiration,
  • isolation,
  • connection,
  • distancing,
  • embracing,
  • hate, and
  • love.

What responses to illness have you observed, in others and in yourself?

Now that our cat, Oscar, is ill with cancer, I’m noticing my responses to him, which are based on the golden rule:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I am treating Oscar when he is ill as I always wish to be treated when I am ill: with respect, caring, compassion, understanding, love, and connection.

Last night, my responses to Oscar included dancing with him to Steppin’ Out.” by Joe Jackson. Would you like to respond to this by dancing with us?

 

Personally, I think dancing is a great response to everything.

Do you see responses to illness in my other photos from yesterday?

IMG_3359

IMG_3360

IMG_3361

IMG_3362

IMG_3363

IMG_3429

IMG_3430

IMG_3431

IMG_3432

IMG_3433

My response to that last photo is this: In this current time of illness, many people would go more places if more places had drive-thrus.

My final response in this blog post is gratitude for what I’ve got, including Oscar, my health, and YOU!

img_3087

 

Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2662: No one asked for this

Yesterday, after I published my breaking news post, I discovered I had cold symptoms and a slight fever.

Worried that I might have caught the coronavirus (which no one asked for) during the week-long group therapy conference in NYC, I informed my manager and my doctors. Because of my risk factors (over 60 years old, chronic heart issues), the doctors decided they would test me for the virus if my temperature went above 100.4. Also, because I’ve gotten endocarditis (a dangerous inflammation of the heart which I also never asked for) three times in my life, I usually ask to get tested for that whenever I run a fever.

No one asked for this, but I stayed home from work, watched TV, monitored my temperature, and took photos of more breaking news which nobody asked for.

I also caught up on the Stephen Colbert shows I had missed last week. I took a photo of this …

… thinking “my next blog post will probably be titled ‘No one asked for this.'”

No one asked for the coronavirus outbreak. Also, no one asked for me to run a fever of 100.6 in the evening, which I did.

When I reported my fever to my medical team, they asked me to go to the Emergency Room, another thing I’ve never asked for. I asked if I could finish the delicious salmon dish Michael had cooked for me first.

They asked me to wear a mask to the Emergency Room. Since I didn’t have a mask, they asked me to wear a scarf around my face. I asked Michael to accompany me to the Emergency Room.

They tested me for many things, including the flu and endocarditis. I certainly didn’t ask to be admitted to the hospital overnight, but the Emergency Room doctor didn’t like my oxygen levels.

No one asked for this, but here are more photos from yesterday.

No one asked for this, but they think I might have pneumonia. Whether or not you ask for this, I’ll give you more updates in my next post.

No one asked for my gratitude, but I give it willingly, every day.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 2629: Fresh on so many levels

Yesterday,  when I was fresh from a very good meeting with my cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem, I saw this:

IMG_1530

There so many levels of meaning for the word “fresh.”

FRESH adjective
\ ˈfresh \
Definition of fresh
1a : having its original qualities unimpaired: such as
(1): full of or renewed in vigor : REFRESHED
rose fresh from a good night’s sleep
(2): not stale, sour, or decayed
fresh bread
(3): not faded
lessons fresh in her memory
(4): not worn or rumpled
a fresh white shirt

b: not altered by processing
fresh vegetables
2a: not salt
fresh water
b(1): free from taint : PURE
fresh air
(2)of wind : moderately strong
a fresh breeze

3a(1): experienced, made, or received newly or anew
form fresh friendships
(2): ADDITIONAL, ANOTHER
a fresh start
b: ORIGINAL, VIVID
a fresh portrayal
c: lacking experience : RAW
coming fresh to the job
— Helen Howe
d: just come or arrived
fresh from school
e: having the milk flow recently established
a fresh cow
4[ probably by folk etymology from German frech] : disposed to take liberties : IMPUDENT
don’t get fresh with me
5 slang : FASHIONABLE, COOL

I hope my other photos in today’s fresh post  are fresh on so many levels.

IMG_1518

IMG_1517

IMG_1527

IMG_1524

IMG_1523

fullsizeoutput_423f

IMG_1521

fullsizeoutput_4240

IMG_1528

IMG_1533

IMG_1531

IMG_1534

IMG_1529

IMG_1535

IMG_1536

IMG_1538

img_1559

img_1558

Here‘s a song I remember that used the word “fresh”.

I’ll be looking for so many levels in your fresh comments, below.

I’m grateful on so many levels, here and now.

 

 

Categories: definition, group therapy, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2621: I don’t want to bore you

I don’t want to bore you, but yesterday morning I heard  Stevie Wonder singing about not wanting to bore you either:

Personally, I’m not bored, at all, and I wonder why so many people worry about being boring. People are SO interesting, as I hope you can see in these photos from yesterday:

IMG_1251

fullsizeoutput_41f9

IMG_1253

IMG_1284

IMG_1255

fullsizeoutput_41f5

IMG_1263

fullsizeoutput_41ef

fullsizeoutput_41f4

fullsizeoutput_41e5

fullsizeoutput_41e2

fullsizeoutput_41f7

fullsizeoutput_41f6

fullsizeoutput_41f2

fullsizeoutput_41f3

fullsizeoutput_41f0

IMG_1277

IMG_1273

IMG_1245

IMG_1274

IMG_1285

fullsizeoutput_41d8

IMG_1278

IMG_1246

IMG_1283

fullsizeoutput_41e3

I don’t want to bore you with it, but Michael cooked a new fish last night.

I don’t want to bore you with this story, but when I was in my first year at college, one of my professors told us on the first day of class that he would not remember any of our names and quoted a biology professor saying, “Whenever I remember the name of a student, I forget the name of a fish.”

I don’t want to you bore you with this, but I can’t remember the name of that new fish Michael cooked last night.

I don’t want to bore you with this, but

  • I get my teeth cleaned every three months because  I got endocarditis three times in my life,
  • I’m getting my teeth cleaned today,
  • I haven’t gotten endocarditis for ten years,
  • I’m seeing my cardiologist Dr. Deeb Salem next week about my very unusual heart, and
  • I’m doing fine, even if I worry at times.

I don’t want to bore you with it, but I’m in the photo at the beginning of this post:

IMG_1251

I don’t want to bore you by quoting more lyrics of the Stevie Wonder song but “I don’t want to bore you with it, but I love you, I love you, I love you.”

IMG_1115

IMG_1207

IMG_1213

 

Categories: group therapy, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2615: Proud to be

Proud to be

IMG_0212

IMG_1077

fullsizeoutput_4196

fullsizeoutput_4195

fullsizeoutput_418f

  • someone who follows my dreams,

fullsizeoutput_418d

  • a  healthcare worker,

fullsizeoutput_418e

IMG_1083

IMG_1082

IMG_1084

  • a functioning adult,

IMG_0201

  • somebody who notices requests and rules,

IMG_0203

IMG_0209

IMG_0207

IMG_0211

  • somebody who gives respect and gets it,

IMG_0213

  • quiet, and thankful every day.

IMG_0204

IMG_0208

What are you proud to be?

 

Categories: group therapy, health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2417: Roadmap for a respectful culture

Hello, my respectful readers!

Yesterday, I noticed this big roadmap on the office wall of our Senior Director of Social Work and Patient/Family Engagement at the hospital:

IMG_6674

Respectfully, I realize that parts of that important roadmap are difficult to read.  I hope this helps:

Version 2

In case it doesn’t, I respectfully submit this list of behaviors promoting a respectful culture:

  • Intentionally engaging and including all constituents by participation and information sharing
  • Spending time with people
  • Introducing new employees via walkabouts through the department
  • Saying thank you
  • Asking questions
  • Listening more, talking less
  • Paraphrasing to check understanding
  • Coming up with at least 3 possible rationales for an action
  • Making eye contact
  • Saying “hi” to everyone
  • Helping those who are lost
  • Smiling
  • Show gratitude frequently
  • Asking for and accepting help when needed
  • Asking for feedback across, down, up

Yesterday, I met our neighbor Will Isenberg,  who is offering a roadmap for a respectful culture …

IMG_6695

IMG_6696

IMG_6697

I’m voting for Will on September 10 because I believe his roadmap will lead to a more respectful culture.

Today, I will be respectfully appearing on the podcast Heart to Heart with Anna, in which Anna Jaworski and I will be intentionally engaging and including all listeners by participation and information sharing about my very unusual heart. I don’t yet have a specific roadmap to my episode, but I’ll insert that link later today.

Here’s the link to the podcast. The first airing will be noon USA Eastern time.

And this link lets you listen at your convenience.

I respectfully submit all my other photos from yesterday, wondering which offer a roadmap for a respectful culture:

What music comes to mind when you think of a roadmap to a respectful culture?

This is what comes up on YouTube:

This shows up, too:

Now I’m asking for feedback across, down, up, with a respectful roadmap to the comments section, below.

Since gratitude is such an important part of a roadmap to a respectful culture, thanks to all who helped me create this blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

fullsizeoutput_3a81

 

Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2327: Why? Why?

Why oh why am I writing a fourth blog post about Why?  Why am I linking to the previous three posts (here, here, and here)?

Why did I write “Why?” on two different white boards at work yesterday?

IMG_4107.JPG

IMG_4108.JPG

Why do white boards consistently get more difficult to erase?

Why were people in therapy yesterday asking so many WHY? questions, including:

Why is there so much traffic?

Why did it take me four times as long as usual to get here today?

Why do people back their cars into spaces in parking lots?

Why do people do what they do?

Why do I deliberately act like a mischievous child?

Why am I in so much pain?

Why am I in therapy?

Why aren’t other people in therapy?

Why did I take the rest of these pictures?

 

Why is it taking so much longer for me to access and transfer my photos? Why does that happen periodically?  Why does it bother me less each time it happens?

Why am I still having trouble writing that letter from the President for my professional organization’s newsletter?  Why did I start fresh yesterday with a new topic?  Why did Michael say he thought my first, abandoned topic  (the rejuvenation of Spring) was better? Why am I going to finish the second topic and then write another letter with the first topic if I have time? Why am I using the quote “If you want something to get done, give it to the busiest person” in my letter?

Why did I ask all the questions I did in this podcast (starting at 19 minutes and again at 28:34)?

 

Why did Michael not want to listen to that podcast last night? Probably for the same reason he doesn’t usually read this blog.   Why did I think I could find the post that explains that by searching on “Why Michael doesn’t read this blog”?

Why would you leave a comment today?

Why would I thank all those who help me write these posts and also YOU?  Why do you think?

IMG_4051

 

Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2059: HEART TO HEART

Where does your HEART go, dear HEART, when you HEAR The words “HEART TO HEART”?

My HEART goes to important conversations with those I love, including these two Scottish women with whom I share a very unusual HEART condition.

Whenever I’m in Edinburgh, I have a HEART TO HEART TO HEART with Vicki and Andrena. We all have congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga), the rarest of congenital HEART conditions and we have a lot to say to each other. The odds of the three of us being in the same place at the same time are so astronomical, I don’t have the HEART to calculate it.

Do you see any other HEART TO HEART’s in my other HEARTfelt photos from yesterday?

I look forward to HEART TO HEART’s in the comment section, below.

Thanks — from my HEART — to my HEART sisters Vicki and Andrena, Vicki’s wonderful rescue dog Belle, Loudons Cafe, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, those who celebrate difference, all who battle suicide, Gillian Skye (the excellent writer and actor of Come Die With Us, which touched my HEART), Tony Slattery, all those who forgive and learn from mistakes, and — of course! — YOU, my dear heart of a reader.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1732: Got a second?

Got a second? I’d like to tell you about yesterday’s appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Salem (who is second to none).  While I was waiting several seconds in the exam room for Dr. Salem, I took a second to snap this:


Got a second to hear about my conversation with Dr. Salem?  Dr. Salem said he couldn’t be more pleased about how my heart is beating every second, as I begin my second year after my heart valve replacement surgery last September.   I seconded that opinion.

Got a second to look at some more split-second photos?

Got a second to listen to “A Good Thing Going” from Merrily We Roll Along, which I’ll be seeing for a second time this weekend?

If you’ve got a second, keep a good thing going by leaving a comment below.

I’ve always got a second to thank all who help me create these posts. Second, I want to thank YOU for being so supportive, every second.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.