Posts Tagged With: heart surgery

Day 1379: My boyfriend, Michael

My boyfriend, Michael, took over this daily blog three weeks ago when I underwent open heart surgery.

My boyfriend, Michael, DOUBLED my readership, temporarily, with the two posts he wrote on September 21 and September 22.

My boyfriend, Michael, made me laugh so hard  after I got my new heart valve at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on September 21, that it HURT.

My boyfriend, Michael, is already sick of telling certain stories about our trip to Minnesota, so I guess I should start telling them, here and now:

Story #1:

Immediately after my open heart surgery on September 21, I woke up eager to communicate, but  I had a breathing tube down my throat preventing me from talking, so Michael and the ICU nurse, Gene, got me a pad and paper.  Gene and Michael had trouble reading what I was writing, which frustrated me.  The first thing I wrote was, “Am I okay?” Michael replied, “It went great!”  I wrote back, “Would you tell me if it didn’t?” Michael said, “I don’t know how to answer that question, baby.” Then, Gene took over trying to decipher what I was writing on the pad of paper. As  I laboriously wrote out “I dreamed  of Michael”, Gene said to Michael, “Hey!  Your name is Michael, right? I guess she dreamed of you!”  I disgustedly shook my head and completed the sentence: “I dreamed of Michael BRECKER” (the jazz saxophonist whose music my cardiac surgeon played during my heart valve replacement surgery).

Story #2:

Because Michael is so charming and engaging, he connected and chatted with all my ICU nurses, which I enjoyed,  but it also annoyed me when I wanted their attention. Also, some of the topics Michael and my ICU nurses were discussing bothered me, because I was feeling so vulnerable.  For example,  my third ICU nurse, named Jason, was a beekeeper, so  Jason and Michael had a discussion about bees. I eventually interrupted them and  said, “Hey! It’s upsetting me to hear you talk about bees.  Don’t you know that the bees are DYING?”  In the meantime, a doctor had come in to examine me and  discuss my progress, and she concluded,  in a thick Slavic accent: “Okay.   We will continue monitoring her hemoglobin,  give her more medication for her nausea, start Coumadin through her IV, and don’t talk about the bees.”

My boyfriend, Michael, tells those two stories much better than I do.

My boyfriend, Michael, who is an excellent cook, used his phone yesterday to communicate with my 18-year-old son, Aaron, to teach him how to make his first quesadillas at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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My boyfriend, Michael, was happy to get back from Minnesota, two weeks ago, to see our two cats, Oscar and Harley.

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My boyfriend, Michael, really likes the group Joy Division, who never sound particularly joyful to me.

 

My boyfriend, Michael, isn’t going to express his gratitude to all those who helped his girlfriend create this post and to all those who are reading it, but I will!

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Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 84 Comments

Day 1337: Guess What?

Guess what?  I love to guess!  Do you?

Guess what I saw yesterday and forgot to include in this post when I published it an hour ago?

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Guess what this cat is lying on?

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A dog bed!

Guess what new kind of fruit I saw for the first time yesterday?

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A mini apple!

Guess what would be a good next line?

  1. “How do you like them apples?”
  2. “Does a mini apple a day keep only  short doctors away?”
  3. “Do mini apples come from Minneapolis?”
  4. [your guessed line here]

Guess what bread you use to make an American cheese sandwich?

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Guess what is the inside to this greeting card?

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Guess what?  I will reveal the answer to that question when I get a guess about the inside of that greeting card from one of you!

Guess what I was doing yesterday evening?

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You might not have guessed it from those photos, but I was food shopping yesterday evening with my boyfriend Michael at a new-to-us supermarket.

Guess what supermarket it was?

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Guess what I was thinking as I took these few photos after food shopping?

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Guess what I’m doing today?

I’m going back to work after a two-week vacation in Edinburgh with my son and I’m probably making plane reservations to Minneapolis for my September 21 heart surgery.

Guess what I’m worried about, right now?

I’m letting go of all worries.  Guess what you could do with worries, too?

Guess what music I’m going to include here?

Guess what I’ll do if you leave a comment below?

Guess what I like to express at the end of all of  my  daily blog posts?

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Categories: personal growth, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1256: Needy

I need to ask this question: Why do people need to needle themselves and others about being needy?  Why do we need to define “needy” as something that needs to be negative?

We all have needs.  We need to rejoice in being needy.

In a therapy group yesterday, I needed to make a list of many needs.

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With 51 needs (incorrectly numbered  as 43 above), I am obviously very needy.

I need to tell you  that I need more sleep (#22 above) these days because I need to have heart surgery in September. I also need to ask why it’s so hard, sometimes, to get what we need.

I need to share the other photos I needed to take yesterday.

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Needy Ann needs to share the pleasures of some needy music with her needy readers.

What do you need, here and now?

I need to thank everybody who helped me create this needy post and you — of course! — for needing to read it.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 201: Naming vs. Labeling

This year, I’m working on reducing and letting go of anxiety.

That’s one of the kashmillion things, it seems, that I’m working on, during Our Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. Another thing I’m working on this year is focusing on what I AM doing, rather than on what I am NOT doing. That effective coping strategy is just another way of being more present in the moment.

Speaking about focusing, in the moment….)

I’m working on reducing and letting go of anxiety, this year, for these reasons:

  1. I am a psychotherapist, who does group and individual work at a large teaching hospital.
  2. As one of the Primary Care doctors in my practice described it, anxiety is “an epidemic among the people we see.”
  3. As I’ve mentioned here, anxiety is sometimes a sign that something is very important, and the work I’m doing is very important to me.
  4. Hospitals can be a PTSD trigger for me, because I spent a lot of time, as a child, in the hospital, undergoing heart surgeries and other scary things, often alone.

Regular readers of this blog may know that I like to acknowledge when somebody does something new.

The New is always risky, and deserves recognition, don’t you agree?

Here’s something new I just did, in this blog.

I used the term PTSD.

Time for my old friend, Google:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death.

Another gift, from Google Images:

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(That image, above, which I chose just because I liked it best? Turns out it’s from a blog called “PTSD after Open Heart Surgery. Go figure.)

Here’s a third gift from Google, regarding PTSD:

A helpful description of PTSD from NIMH (the National Institute of Mental Health):

Yes, I do love Google. Let me count the ways:

  1. When I am writing this blog, I can use Google to search for definitions and images to help support, clarify, and enrich my topic.
  2. Google gives me a large and varied choice, in response.
  3. I have the control to choose what I want.

I like having lots of choices and options.

I also like having the control to name things, in a way that helps me. As I’ve written about in this blog, naming something is the first step to recognizing and accepting it. (And acceptance — which doesn’t mean liking or approving– is the first step towards change.)

Naming is very different from labeling.

Labeling is one of the 12 Cognitive Distortions in CBT:

Labeling or Name-calling. We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”?

While naming is helpful, expansive, and generous, labeling is not.

Labeling is restrictive. Labeling is judgmental. Labeling can cause paralysis and pain.

Very different from naming.

Diagnoses, at times, can be a kind of labeling. I work with people who have diagnoses of PTSD, and I see the effects of stigma attached to that diagnosis (and other diagnoses, too).

But diagnoses can also be a kind of helpful naming, too.

People, when they receive a diagnosis, often express relief. I hear people say that a diagnosis helps to contain and clarify their experience.

And, it helps to identify options. And identify next steps.

Like with my old friend, Google.

Okay! Time to put this blog post to bed, so I can start getting ready for my high school reunion tonight (where I’m looking forward to seeing other old friends).

Thanks to Google, my friends, my high school reunion, my readers, and everybody and everything else that is helping me, so much, on this year’s journey.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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