Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.
Last Wednesday I turned 81 and I’m still celebrating, at least for another week according to my calendar of scheduled events. Changes occur every day–physically, emotionally, mentally and in the world around us. Some are good; others not so good. Regardless, attitude and energy levels are important and both are somewhat controllable.
Age is related to time. It used to be that I rarely looked back. I was too busy living in the present and looking to the future. Now looking back affects my future. The 35 years I suffered with atrial fibrillation and taking control of what to do about it is key, as is how I managed other heart and health problems.
Priorities have changed, even within the last year when I turned 80. The December 17, 2017, blog that I wrote on this website is about just that. To review it, click on the link to the blog, Atrial Fib…Managing Heart Health & Taking Control.
I have revised some priorities, added some and revisited others:
- Sleep is at the top of the list: 7 to 9 hours per night. Uninterrupted is nice but not always possible if bathroom visits are necessary and waking up 2 hours after falling asleep, not being able fall back to sleep is another. Possible aides:
- Clear your mind to nothingness. Sometimes middle-of-the-night thoughts are dangerous and more intense than the same thoughts would be in the daytime.
- A short cat nap during the day keeps you from napping in the evening after dinner before going to bed for the night and finding it difficult to fall asleep.
- I take the non-addictive over the counter medication Melatonin sometimes, not every night. My doctor suggested it in 3 or 5 mg. dose. Try to get it in time- released capsule. No prescription necessary. I am not a doctor and would never prescribe for anyone else. This is what helps me sometimes and on the directions which I read word-for-word it says that user will get 7 hours of sleep with no sleep hangover in the morning.
- Keep your tech devices off during the night.
- Try to keep intake of fluids at night to a minimum, if you can. I take some meds at night and water is necessary, especially for the heart medications.
- Exercise is important but I have changed much of it as a result of structural problems in the lower back and lower digestion organs…perhaps all are related to aging and genetics. Currently I am concentrating on stretching 2 to 3 times per day…upon waking, before going to sleep and sometime mid-day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
- I am looking into starting Yoga and/or Palates soon.
- I have cut out all alcohol, but am not recommending this to others. I had Hepatitis A as a teenager. It is the mildest form of the disease but still in the blood. Though it doesn’t really affect the liver, it could. Because of that I stopped having my one glass of wine each night. I don’t miss it though I do indulge on special occasions, like my birthday.
Above all LOVE LIFE and read more about it in my memoir, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.