Friday, August 30, 2013

Feeling stronger Everyday 3 - How do you feel?

Update:  As I continue to be faithful to my daily rehab exercises, I’ve noticed that I have quickly gained strength in not only my left leg, but in my upper body as well because of the use of my crutches.  Getting outside as often as possible has been a big help.  Of course that means attention to detail and taking my time using the crutches to get up and down the stairs.  Once I get outside, everything feels so much better.   The act of walking around outside on my own, feeling the sun on my face, or the breeze on my cheeks, is very freeing.  For me right now, this is the best exercise in the world!


How are you feeling?

This is a question that you as a patient will be asked many, many times over the course of your healing journey.  Whether it is during the weeks preceding your upcoming surgery, during the time of your hospital stay, or during the time of your outpatient rehabilitation visits, this question will constantly pop up.  Usually it comes in the form of pictures of a face in various stages of discomfort, or from your healthcare technician asking that dreaded phrase, “on a scale of one to ten…”  And while the question can be annoying to hear, or easy to dismiss, there is no more important question that can be asked regarding your wellbeing.

Why do they care?

The people who work in your healthcare plan need to know how you are feeling.  In fact, to them the more detail you give them, the better they can help you.  This is especially important when it comes to pain management.  The type of pain, the intensity, what it feels like, where it is located (and from how many sources) helps to decide the specifics that will be used in your treatment. For example, it is just as important for them to know that you are having flare up pain from the broken collarbone you suffered two years ago, in addition to your current problem.  That information may change the type or amount of medication you will need for surgery.  That is why it is important for you to tell them everything when it comes to answering the question of how are you feeling.  It really is all about you!

Why do we resist answering this question? 

Our state of being at any given time is a very complex thing, and can be affected by so many conditions both large and small.  What complicates matters is because we are human beings, there are times that we are not as forthcoming with information as we should be.  We are preoccupied by a variety of situations.  Perhaps we are distracted by what we feel are more important or more immediate concerns.  Sometimes for a variety of reasons we just aren't honest with ourselves when it comes to the state of our own well being.  Men especially can easily find themselves trying to create an aura of invincibility about their condition for fear of showing weakness.  We may compare our condition with others and trivialize or minimize how we feel, so we are not perceived as being a diva, or an attention seeker. Unfortunately some of us may even have self esteem issues that make us feel unworthy of being taken care of at all.  Sometimes we hurt so bad that it drains us and forces us into a depressive state, where we just want to be left alone.

The bottom line: Tell it like it is!

No one deserves pain. Not only does pain hurt, but pain is also very tiring.  Living in pain is exhausting, because your body is fighting on your behalf to help you get better.  Because of these things, it is very easy to slip into despair or despondency.  It is ok to be mad about your situation.  You didn't ask for it.  It is important to know that none of this is your fault.  It is the nature of the beast.  It is ok to be tired!  Right now your body is fighting its most important fight.  Right now, this time is all about you, and what you need is most important.  So tell somebody!  Your healthcare team needs to know how you are feeling, and asks you this question, not to aggravate you, but to assess the state of your body (and your mind/mindset) in order to make a plan to treat the entire you.  So do yourself a favor.  Tell them everything.  In the long run it is for your own good.  You have my permission to be a diva in this case.  It really is all about you!

Next entry: Home from Hospital - More tips



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