Last week I went to the doctor for my annual check-up and ended up mentioning a few things going on with my body. A few hours later, I was leaving the office with orders for x-rays and other testing. Because I was so taken aback, I thought I’d share a few things that I wish I would have done to be more prepared. Mostly, this is a note to myself so I’ll remember all of these things through these next months of other appointments!
I hope it’s helpful not only to any of you that are facing a serious illness but also to those of you who support and caretake others. I suppose that at one time or another that includes most all of us.
1) Always wear comfortable clothing ~ things that are easy to get off and on but also clothes that make you feel good. Wear ‘comfort’ clothes that feed your soul but also make you feel healthy. For me, that would be my favorite jeans and large flannel shirt.
2) Bring a pen and pad of paper for taking notes and to jot down questions as they arise. (And write down questions beforehand that you have concerning the visit!) Don’t write your notes on the back of referral pages like I did. They get turned into the next doctor and are gone.
3) Be sure to bring water and a nutritious healthy snack for after the appointment before you head home. Drink plenty to flush out toxins as well to keep hydrated and think clearly. Consider taking cashews which are not only delicious but are also a great source of protein and aid depression as compared to a baked good or chips. Feed your body and your soul.
4) Have some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy on hand. You can put drops in your water to drink before, during and after the appointment or you can use the cream form and rub it on your temples and wrists. This flower essence remedy is a mixture of five essences specifically for stressful situations. It contains Star of Bethlehem, which is for shock.
5) There are acupressure points on both of your wrists. It’s about three finger widths up from where your hand connects to your wrist. If you massage that point, it will help you focus and it will also give you strength.
6) If at all possible, have a trusted someone go with you so they can hear what the doctors are saying in case you can’t process all the information they are telling you. It’s also nice to have someone for emotional support, should something arise.
7) If you haven’t taken someone with you to the appointment, make sure to have a friend or family member on call so that you can check in with them before you head home. It helps to run through what was said at the appointment as well as to have emotional support. They may remember what you told them right after the appointment better than you. If possible and necessary, it may be useful to have the doctor repeat something important to them over the phone during the session. They may have different, valuable questions about the issue.
8) After the appointment, drive carefully. If you are upset and need to pull over, please do. Take your time and be safe.
9) Notice your feelings and hold them tenderly in your awareness. Allow them and embrace them. There is no right or wrong here. The immediacy of attending to the present moment offers its’ peace and wisdom.
10) When you get home, be sure to rest and continue to drink plenty of water as well as to have a healthy meal. Write down any questions as they arise for follow-up with the doctor and record your emotional and spiritual journey not only for yourself but to aid others that may some day face the challenges that you now face.
11) Be especially tender and gentle with yourself in the next few days as everything settles in. Depending on what type of appointment you have had you may be facing more tests to zero in on a diagnosis, you may have received a diagnosis that has an easy manageable plan or you may have received an unwanted diagnosis that brings with it much fear, grief and shock. No matter what stage you are in within the process, allow yourself the luxury of immense compassionate self-care.
More posts to come as I proceed through these next few months of more testing. I hope to honestly share with you my experience and any insights that may be helpful to you or your loved ones.
We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
Of eternity. We are pain
And what cures pain, both. We are
The sweet, cold water, and the jar that pours.
Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.