My husband and I have been blessed with good health for many years. So, when we both began having health issues last winter we learned some valuable lessons. Our first lesson was to listen to our own bodies. If we are honest with ourselves, we know when something is not right. In my husband’s case, he went into complete denial, and blamed his symptoms on the holidays, etc. etc. When he finally passed out behind the wheel, and we headed straight to the E.R., we discovered that his heart was beating at 32 beats per minute. Not good! A pacemaker was the answer, and he is doing great now, but a panic E.R. visit could have been avoided had we paid better attention to his symptoms.
The second lesson we learned is truly one of denial. I was driving up I 95 on my way to a marketing appointment, when my chest felt like waves were going across it. I blamed it on a little tension, and kept going. When I arrived at my appointment, a nurse on duty took my blood pressure, and wanted to call 911. I was in A fib. No, not me, she had to be wrong. On our way to the E.R., I even had my daughter stop at a fire station to do an EKG because I was sure the nurse was overreacting. I ended up in the hospital for three days, and it took 24 hours to bring my heart back into normal rhythm. Just because you are a very healthy person, it does not mean that things can’t change. Again, listen to your body.
Another lesson learned is to be cautious when you are given a new prescription. Before you take the first pill, list all of your meds, both prescription and non prescription in your computer, and see if there will be any interactions between your current meds, and the new one prescribed. I was given an antibiotic by my physician who has a complete record of all my meds. I took the first pill that evening and suffered hallucinations during the night. We searched online and checked out my meds the following morning, and sure enough, the cause was an interaction between the antibiotic, and my low dose aspirin and Vitamin E. Even though your doctor and the pharmacy have a list of all your meds, it doesn’t mean that they take the time to check for drug interactions. Sometimes, you are your own best physician.
Lastly, listen to your doctor and your family when they are concerned about the chance you might take a fall. This past week, our office received three calls regarding a client who had fallen at home and are now facing both hospital and rehab stays. Two of these clients spent two days on the floor before they were found. When you are told to use a cane or walker take it seriously. If you are living alone, make sure you have a life alert necklace or bracelet, and make sure you wear it. Whenever we do an assessment, we ask people if they have a life alert. Most of them say yes, but it is in the draw. Your nightstand is not going to mosey over to where you have fallen, so you can sound the alarm! If your family has purchased one of these devices to keep you safe, thank God they are interested in your welfare, and wear it all the time. Falls are the biggest problem for seniors, and the cause of many hospital stays, so be smart, and stay healthy.