Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.
February is Heart Month, Black History Month and the one year anniversary for my 3rd pacemaker. I’m halfway into my 80th year of living and so far, it’s not so bad. I can say today that all of my medical problems are being managed to my satisfaction. That’s not to say that new situations, not problems necessarily, don’t occur.
Most of them have to do with aging, for which I think I’m prepared. Fighting the aging process uses energy that I’d prefer to use elsewhere like keeping up a moderate exercise routine, and stimulating my brain with memory games and reading. Getting more sleep and maintaining a healthy diet take some planning as does managing the meds.
It all comes down to maintenance and coming to terms with everyday changes. My short term memory isn’t as good as it used to be. What I mean by ‘short term’ is that I sometimes forget whether I took that pill or not…just 10 minutes ago. Now for meds I have 3 containers with 7 tiny boxes marked S,M,T,W,T,F,S days of the week. Each one has a day’s meds, a total of 21 days. Not only does it keep track of the daily meds but when it is time to reorder I won’t be out at the last minute or on a day I can’t get the refill. It also helps to keep track of insurance that might have stipulations on claims.
Another aging change is more structural. My fingers don’t work as well as they used to. Arthritis has reared its ugly head in useful parts of my body as it has with many of us. Buttoning and unbuttoning garments becomes a chore. Zippers and pull on garments are making me pay less attention to fashion and more to ease and comfort. Alas, I’ve chosen not to wear some of the lovely jewelry that I can no longer fasten and unfasten.
February is usually the month I have my annual appointment with electrophysiologist Dr. John Hummel. This year it’s March 1st. I have been A-Fib free since 2008 but that doesn’t stop Dr. Hummel from trying to talk me into taking a blood thinner again. Read more about it in my book, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib or listen to it on audio book.