An excerpt from How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Copyright 2015 by Toni Bernhard. Excerpted with permission from Wisdom Publications. "Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were." - Marcel Proust For the most part, I’ve adjusted to my new ...

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Dear health care industry: I think we have a serious problem, and I think we both deserve some of the blame.  Over the last couple of decades, I the patient have been demanding many things of you: reduced wait times, increased access to medications and procedures, more luxurious and colorful accommodations, and numerous scheduling conveniences among other things. Meanwhile, I have watched as an industry long-based on the revered call of service ...

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“Don't ever land in a teaching hospital on a holiday weekend, they always staff up with residents," noted a close friend who was all too familiar with the inner workings of hospitals. That statement sticks in my head heavily today as I prepare to visit my father’s year-old grave.  My father, a man that was involved in the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and private sector research societies for decades, ...

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On July 3, 2015, at approximately 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by my mobile phone ringing.  I looked at the number the call was originating from and was fearful this was the call I was dreading to receive.  My mother’s long-term care facility was calling, and the news was not good.  My mother was found without a pulse and was rushed to a local hospital. I called the emergency department of ...

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Have you ever been a patient? Yeah, me too. Many newly insured Americans will visit doctors’ offices this year. The average time you -- or anyone -- has with a primary care provider is 15 minutes. What’s a sick person to do? Happier patients make happier doctors. Here’s a helpful list that I’ve developed to help patient visits go smoother: 1. Pick three questions or concerns that you have for your doctor and write ...

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For years, and especially as he entered his nineties, my father kept begging me not to "dump" him into a nursing home. He had seen too many of his cronies abandoned in this way by family members; his visits with these friends left him feeling depressed and hopeless for days. I assured Dad that I'd never put him in a facility. It was an easy promise to make. I didn't want ...

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shutterstock_227832379 I am one of many people today "living" with cancer. I want to focus on the impact cancer has on my personal finances, and this is probably true for any chronic illness, not just cancer. First, you often have to give up your job. While undergoing chemo, most of us don't have the energy for a full time job. And if you do ...

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shutterstock_239583778 The woman lying on the transport cot in the examination room was terrified. I could see it plainly in her eyes, but there was no time to stop and comfort her. I was a young, recently graduated nurse in a busy urban emergency room, struggling to keep up with its daily array of shootings, stabbings and crises. ER nurses hustled. We dealt with ...

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shutterstock_85837342 I thank God every day that a doctor had the audacity to say to me, “You are going to have to learn to live with this.” I was 21. Newly married. And covered, from head to toe, in a burning, painful, itchy rash. I was sitting on a table, decked in a gown, with my husband in a chair by my side. I was ...

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Well, decision time was here and it looked as if Bill would choose surgery, and why not, with the doctors liberally throwing around the word "cure.'" The various tests Bill endured, breathing tests, echocardiogram and MRI of the brain, were all within tolerable ranges, we were told.  The oncologist noted some marks in the brain that suggested mini-strokes, but Bill didn't hear this or it didn't register with him, or ...

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