I have been a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for 20 years. You talk to patients intermittently throughout the day for the 3-6 hour procedures. The patients open up. They are usually are full of hope that they will be deemed ok and they can have a new chance to feel better and start afresh.
As you start patients prep they tell you what led them up to this point, usually shortness of breath, COPD, syncopal episodes, chest pain or an irregular heartbeat. They are scared because they know something is not right with them. No one is listening to their fear and urgency. They are swirling all of these fears and thoughts in their mind. ” Is this how my father felt when he died suddenly of a heart attack?”, “I can’t afford to miss work.”, “How much am I taking from the table for all of these tests?”, ” What about my kids, my parents or spouse, who will take care of them?”. All you can do is comfort them and tell them that you are glad they chose to come in to be checked and acknowledge how scared they must be and over helmed with stress.
You see the typical patients, with a big belly, deconditioned, poor diets, over medicated, overstressed with a list of health problems and now scared because reality hit. The majority don’t seek help because they take care of everyone but themselves. Most of the patients put their own health last yet they are the ones that have to be the strongest. They tend to feel “Why bother now?”, or “I can’t afford good food or a gym membership.”, ” I don’t have time.”
These patients have such a high mental and emotional stress level. You go through their labs and history and see the years of symptoms and results that were a sign of the body asking for help but the patient just got another bandaid, another test, another diagnosis but never education and redirection.
If you don’t educate patients with ways to regain their health back through nutrition with understanding how-to’s and the why’s, environment alternatives, stress management and so forth, no one else will. This gives hope. This makes patients feel like someone cares and is listening. This eases their fears even with the outcome of the tests they are already on a mission. Reclaiming their health back.
The most consistent pattern is their selflessness for others. I hope if you learn anything from this its that you realize that you need to be selfless for you too. Take time for you. Self-care is ok and much needed. Go get that massage, take that vacation, get your nails done and nourish your body and remove the toxins. Your life is valuable and so is you living your life with those that you hold in your heart instead of relying on meds helping you survive the way you feel with all the illness.
This is your time to reclaim your heart health as well as the health of your mind, body, and soul.✊