Caring for the Heart

So it’s a go. Cardiac cath is scheduled at noon for my Dad today. I’m just hoping that everything will go smoothly and all the docs and nurses and anyone that takes care of him today do the best job that they can.

Ugh. I’m feeling so frustrated right now. Mostly because there is only so much I can do for my Dad at this moment other than just be there for him. The nurse in me wants to do more to help him but yet I don’t want to overstep my boundaries. Because believe me, when working the floors I absolutely HATED when visiting family members pulled out the “I’m a doctor”- or “I’m a nurse”- card, thinking that was going to scare me into making “triple”-sure I was doing the absolute correct thing.

But other than unrealistically flying Dad out to the best cardiology center in the US, I do have faith and confidence that he is getting the best treatment possible at this hospital at this exact time. The best I can do as a nurse is be there to explain to my Dad and Mom exactly what is going on and what to expect … basically be there to translate medical jargon into plain old-fashion English. That, and advocate for them exactly what their fears and concerns and needs are as a patient and his wife.

At the same time, poor Hubby has also been sick with a nasty cold. Which, if there was only more hours in the day, I would be babying him like he does for me when I’m sick. Unfortunately with yesterday being spent at the hospital, I’ve had no time to make him soup or hot tea and just generally be there for him. And I feel like such a horrible wife for that.

I bet y’all are saying … “WTF, Em? You advocate and care for your parents and Hubby, but you don’t advocate for yourself.” The past week (and previous posts) being prime example of not thinking of what’s the best thing for my own health.

Well, I have to tell you … and if you don’t know this by now … Nurses are notorious for not taking care of their own health. I think it’s in any person who chooses Nursing as a profession to care for others before caring for themselves. For me it’s not meant to be a self-sacrifice type of thing; it’s more that I feel that others needs appear to be more important and more urgent than my own. Then throw in the whole Catholic and Asian-American thing and it’s a golden opportunity for feeling the guilt.

Yes, I know it’s not always healthy. And I know that I do need to take care for myself before I can take care of anyone else. Every nurse gives that same schpiel to any of their co-workers (how’s that for the pot calling the kettle black?). But we’re a stubborn lot. We’re definitely a “Do as I say, not as I do” group.

I’m working on it though. This past year has been an exercise of learning to take care of myself. And think of my needs as a priority to others. I’m learning to say NO when I can’t take on anymore than I physically or emotional can. And I’m trying my darndest NOT to feel so damn guilty for doing so.

Right now? All my energy is focused on taking care of my Dad. Because that takes priority. Thanks for all your warm thoughts and prayers.

And if you can, say a quick one for Hubby, too. Because, he too, deserves the best.

0 Replies to “Caring for the Heart”

  1. My dad has been through many angiograms and angioplastis. It’s a quick recovery and they can often take care of issues right there. I know you probably know all of that, just wanted to offer some reassurrance. I hope everything goes well and that they’re able to fix it on the spot.

  2. I hope everything goes ok with your dad. He’ll be in my thoughts. I’m not Asian or a nurse, but my Catholic guilt is overwhelming sometimes. I can only imagine how much you are being smothered by. Try and shake it a bit – it sounds like you are doing all you can.

  3. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I am always thinking of you even though I barely write, communicate. You are such a strong person. I really admire you. Hang in there, Em.

    try and get over the self-sacrifice. I know…I know…easier said than done, especially since I do the same, however, you have to take care of you first. One song that has me hooked right now- “A Stronger Woman” by Jewel. It really boosts my spirits. They play it on the country stations a lot (go figure), but the message of the song touches a nerve.

    Take care of yourself. Love you.


  4. good luck to your dad… and to you, sticking by his side, and to your hubby for braving his cold without his usual caretaker. i hope all goes well!

  5. Em —

    My prayers are with you and your parents as your dad gets his cath done.

    It’s so hard not to pull the nurse card, but you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t want to. Just keep doing what you can, and the rest will take of itself.

  6. sending you and your family all the best wishes. it’s so scary.

    last year my FIL had open heart surgery at age 88. we didn’t know if he would make it. it lasted 8 hours while everyone waited and hoped and prayed. not only did he come out of it, but he was playing golf again in a month, and he still is at 89.

    hope you can take care of yourself too.

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