First, please go see my “gutsy story” at http://www.gutsyliving.com You can make a comment at the very bottom of the page.
The post title conveys that this is part 1 of a serialized version from a portion of my memoir-in-progress. It varies slightly from the actual book, in that it is not a book, but a blog post. Smile. My intention is to keep my writing focused on the memoir project, including blog posts here on The Write Place. If I bore the socks off you, then my new intention will be to move to a deserted island and never write again. Either that, or rewrite the damn thing, I mean, the host object of all my worldly dreams. So, on with it!
This post could be about you or someone you love.
The contents of this post don’t come with citations, statistics, links, or expert opinions. You get souvenir postcards, instead.
The words within come from my heart; these are not happy souvenirs from my heart, but practical souvenirs, with bits of humor to buffer the fear, pain and sadness. (Plus Paul and I really loved to laugh)
These souvenirs were collected along our travels through many hospital stays. My late husband, Paul, and I gathered ways to help others who would be fighting for their lives, like we were fighting for his at the time.
We wiled away many hours in the hospital and temporary housing, talking about the physical clues we may have missed. I made a few notes about what we could put in a book for people in our situation. Paul’s first suggestion about our future book was to include his health information, from a few years before, right up to the day he was diagnosed with cancer.
That part was easy; I had already dug through doctor bills, lab reports and even our family wall calendar. My mission had been to make a document, specific to Paul’s health, for the millions of times doctors, nurses, administrators and others asked about Paul’s medical history.
I’m giving you the nitty-gritty truth here; even if you hand them a copy of the medical history, they will still want to hear it from the patient. In our case, Paul had made me his unofficial health advocate right after we became a couple, so he would defer their questions to me. I just read the answers from our copy of the document, or used it as a reminder of dates, lab values and other details. It did take months for me to think of making the document, but it sure saved our brain power once I had it completed.
Postcard 1: Make a written health history for yourself and family members, BEFORE it is needed, like now. Okay, maybe wait until you finish reading this post.
To be continued…
See, I told you it would be short, but that also means I had to cut it off sometime.
Watch for Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-Two with another beautiful picture that has nothing to do with the post.
As usual, I am happy to read your comments, questions, and critiques. However, mind reading isn’t my forte, so you’ll have to actually click on the button and write me a note. I’m so happy if you “like” this post, but why do you like it?
If you can’t “comment” or “like” because of technical difficulties, send me an email at 1writeplacewordpress at symbol gmail dot com. Weird, but that is so spammies can’t glom onto me. Please use the blog post title in the subject line.
Thanks ever so much,
July 15, 2013 at 8:12 am
“Put a voice in your hurt and give your tears a sound” I don’t know where that quote came from. It just popped into my head one day. I may have heard it or I may have invented it, I don’t really know. My novel has a sad undertone, and it is not until the bittersweet ending that I thought to include what was inspirational about the story, and inspiration is often what sells. I love your postcards idea. That is very creative and I can imagine dozens of genuinely helpful and inspirational messages that your memoir conveys. Include those positive action verbs like love, hope, give, honor, cherish, care, trust, believe, forgive, value while giving people peace, friendship, solace and success. I love the way your sharing comes across.
July 15, 2013 at 8:35 am
Susan, I so appreciate your comments. You zoom right in on one of my concerns; how to get those positive verbs working. Am re-writing as we speak! hahaha
July 15, 2013 at 10:09 am
I am commenting on your written health history. You are so right about doing it. Thirteen years of caring for my husband who had managed to only develop “rare” and “this isn’t like anything I’ve seen” conditions in the medical world, I had– out of necessity to write up a synoposis of meds, hospital stays and surgeries and diagnosis’s with comments that show even more rare oddities within his illness. I have lost count how many times doctors came in to thank me for the information. It also helped us because so often we feel like the medical community did not really listen to us until I started handing out his medical information like I was giving them a free gift!
July 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm
In the realm of cancer, maybe even leukemia specifically, they seem to treat the information differently. The docs rarely ever took the paper unless I insisted. I don’t have a reasonable reason why. It was very difficult and I still want to scream when I see his records with so much inaccurate info on them.
Even so, it is a valuable tool for the patient and family, if not the medical staff.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
July 15, 2013 at 10:37 am
Such great advice in your “postcard.” In a long, involved treatment, even the events you swear you will never forget seem to get blurred with time. A concise summary with all the data doctors “usually” ask about, as well as a timeline of illnesses and medical procedures, results of tests, is like gold to a medical team. I’ve never had a doctor who didn’t appreciate and use the document.
July 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm
Thank you so much,Susan, you know how we worry when we put our writing out there…ok I worry:>)
I was just writing to another reader and she found the a good reception with the med community. I don’t know the reason…maybe the diagnosis, the kind of cancer??? But most were not interested, unless I forced it on them. It was a clear, organized 1 & 1/2 pages, chronologically typed, with dates highlighted. As I told mford41, it was made worse by so many basic, to important, mistakes in his files.
Talking to you all helps me define what I do and don’t want to do with our memoir. It will not be a slam on the med community, nor will I sing inspirational happy songs. I’m just going to try to be myself, reflect our thoughts and help the next “guy” with a few helpful tips. The most help for us was the humor.
I’m batty from lack of sleep, but thank you again for being part of our community here and lending your support. (and excusing any typos in this:>)
July 15, 2013 at 9:12 pm
It was nice to see that wonderful picture of you and Paul on the gutsy living board. Great post card – so important **hugs***
July 16, 2013 at 7:58 am
Hugs back, friend. Wasn’t it great to see Marie in her winning t-shirt standing in front of her house (I assume)?
You should have seen us, we had plastic bugs, spiders and snakes all over us…the kiddies loved it. That is our 1st grand, Cora, on my side (my Sara’s baby).
Thank you, glad you like the postcard idea.
July 16, 2013 at 5:25 am
I love your idea about postcards. So many of us are in denial: we don’t want to believe that anything bad will happen to any of us. But there’s the inevitable and then there’s the unexpected and both seem to always trip people up. And leaving all your hope and faith in the medical profession is never a good thing, no matter how earnest it may be.
July 16, 2013 at 8:01 am
I agree. The insurance is a big deal too. Paul was paying around 300. month for his and it was worthless, really. So I tell people to check their policies well and pay for the best that they can.
Glad you like the postcard idea, I think it will work for the whole memoir…we’ll see.
July 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm
Love the humor and wit you add to the serious subject matter. Yes a health history. Made me realize I don’t know any of my own children’s blood types Now they’re all grown up I wonder if they do. I don’t know Rick’s either.
Conveys ( a little editing check out your first paragraph) After your plug for gutsy story (excellent think I posted on it) as always, love and blessings. Keep on keeping on.
July 18, 2013 at 1:30 am
You did post on gutsyliving, thanks you!
Will check that editing…need all the help I can get:>)
Glad you enjoyed this one, hope to have next one up in a day or so.
July 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm
Just a thought that crept into my soul…We feel the pain,sorrow and struggle with ones life through your writing and in our deepest parts hope and pray that we do not have to live this in our own.
Very well done. Unc
July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm
Thank you, Uncle, I hope so too. Thanks for stopping by. I posted that pic you wanted on my FB…don’t know how to send it to yours, but know you can go get it. Love you.
July 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm
Oh gawd! I t hought I liked this when I commented. Don’t pay attention to me 😛
July 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm
It is okay, honey. No problemo.
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July 20, 2013 at 9:08 am
Good advice. We are never prepared for that dx but having someone to share the journey is important.
July 20, 2013 at 9:18 am
Thank you and I agree that you can never be prepared in the emotional sense. We were just so devastated by the dx, we wish we had some things in place.
Glad you came by.
August 3, 2013 at 2:37 am
I think you and all your blog friends are doing a wonderful service with this subject,please continue
August 3, 2013 at 2:38 am
Thanks, I’ll print it up when I finish it. xo!!!!!!!
August 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm
I started at 6, and had to immediately go back to Postcard 1. My wife has had health issues where some physicians were no help. They believed her symptoms were in her head. We did not give up. Though I have only read 2 posts, I can relate. Thank you for sharing this journey.
August 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm
You are more than welcome! All my best to both of you.
I should put links to earlier postcards at top, instead of bottom…will remember for next time…thank you.