How to get better

The last seven months have been tricky for my partner, Terry. He has had multiple medical issues, and has been checked out from top to toe; literally ~ head, ribs, heart, guts, toe. He has had operations, scans, x-rays, iron infusions, injections, blood tests and heart monitors. He has seen specialists galore, a number of podiatrists and physiotherapists, nurses of course, and his wonderful GP.

I must tell you that we have an amazing medical system here in Victoria. I recognise that it has many problems and is stretched to its limits. Also I live in inner Melbourne, close to the action, not an outer suburb or regional area where services would be so much harder to access. For us, those services have been amazing. Not just the acute, hospital care, but also the follow up at the Outpatients appointments, the wound care clinic, the falls and balance clinic, as well as linking him to a dietician, a podiatrist, a physio, occupational therapists and other government services. And it has all been free. (Friends in the US may want to close their ears at this point!) As Terry is on the Aged Pension he has been able to access all these services, including over a fortnight in hospital. Only now does he pay a small amount for ongoing podiatry etc.

The good news is that we are getting to the maintenance end of all these medical issues, the time when the different specialists say “I want to see you in two months/six months/one year”. Oh news to my ears!

And each of them has listed more or less the same things to do over that time, to make sure Terry is recovering well. They are such simple, obvious actions, and work for building bones, improving vascular systems and blood flow, keeping upright, indeed, probably most things.

So here is my list of 7 actions, from the professionals who know about these things, to get better and stay well:

  1. Keep taking prescribed medication
  2. Eat well, as unprocessed as possible; include protein and dairy
  3. Exercise ~ within your limits but anything you do is better than passive sitting. There are the added benefits of building bones, improving balance and helping blood flow carry oxygen all the way from brains to toes.
  4. Sleep well
  5. Reduce stress
  6. Stop smokingΒ “Do you smoke?” is one of the first questions asked. Fortunately Terry was able to answer “Not for a long time”, but some of his issues began when he was a smoker.
  7. Enjoy life

So, my focus is Terry, and making him as ‘right as ninepence’, with these simple things as my guidelines.

(I realise that again we are in a very fortunate position. We have access to good quality food, and can afford it. We don’t have added stresses that come from jobs, or job insecurity, tight financial situations, homelessness, family tensions, trauma or the myriad other things that will create stress. We know that there is a correlation between poor health outcomes and lower socio-economic lives. It is astounding that we, as a society, are unable to do these things which would enable people live healthier lives.)

43 thoughts on “How to get better

  1. As someone staring down the business end of my 60th next January, it all looks extremely sensible; I’m managing everything except No. 4 (the hazard of being a shiftworker’s wife)! I’m so glad Terry’s turning the corner, and hope his path from here on is smooth and slopes gently downhill for easy forward motion, rather than uphill for a struggle. I’m also very glad for you; the note of relief in your writing is very clear and it means you can allow your creativity full rein once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you can tick so many off the list!
      Yes, a gentle downward slope ~ no more falls! Staying upright is definitely a priority. It is a note of relief, because, while there is still a lot of ‘keeping an eye on things’, there is time to be creative.

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  2. Great advice, I wish a friend of mine would adhere to it!! I seem to go through phases in my life when I collect consultants, I’m down to 2 at the moment, so not bad!! Hope 2020 proves an easier year for you both πŸ™‚

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    1. It’s often easy to say (or write!) but difficult to do. I have a friend who smokes, and won’t give up, despite knowing all the effects it can have. I am pleased that your health has improved so that there are only 2 consultants in your life.

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  3. Like you we have a free health service in the UK but even though the stress of paying for treatment is avoided worrying about the person who is ill is draining. All those appointments take up time and disrupt life. You worry about the results of the latest tests, will the news be good, bad or still don’t know. I am so pleased you are past that bit. I have been researching how to stay well as I pass 70 this year and would agree with your list all of which are perfectly do-able with a bit of effort. I hope BOTH of you stay well and happy for many years yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Things would be very different if we had to pay for all the treatments…I think we would have made quite different, and difficult, decisions. So heartfelt thanks for a system that allows us to have world class health care.
      Is there any thing else from your research that should be on the list? Thank you for your good wishes.

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      1. The easy extra ones I have come across are to keep a healthy weight, limit akcohol consumption to 10 units a week and to spend as much time outdoors as possible. I will be writing up all my research as part of my diploma so if you would like to read it I will make a note to send it to you. Don’t hold your breath though – it is one of 4 designs I still have to write up and the largest of them all!

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        1. Fortunately, over the last couple of years I have been cutting back on my alcohol consumption, so I don’t have to feel guilty about that! i would love to read you research ~ put me on the list. Good luck with all the writing you have to do .

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  4. I’m so glad your Fella is on the way to becoming healthy again. May I add one more thing to your list? It’s iodine. Iodine is like fuel for the immune system. You paint it onto the skin with a cotton bud and it’s fully absorbed within 24 hours. That’s in healthy people. In people with health issues it will be absorbed faster.

    I learned about iodine after I had cervical cancer. My iodine is absorbed in about 12 hours. I can’t offer any guarantees but I’m sure it’s had something to do with my continued good health [almost 10 years and counting].

    You can buy pure iodine online. It’s called Lugols. Or you can buy Betadine and use that. Betadine contains other ingredients and less iodine, but it’s still effective. Worst case scenario it won’t have any effect. Best case scenario it’ll make him get better faster. -hugs-

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    1. While I kew about iodine, I hadn’t thought much about it. However, a quick search showed me how a lack of iodine can cause lethargy ~ not a condition I want for Terry at the moment! So thanks for the heads up Meeks.
      I am so pleased that you have been free of the cancer for 10 years. That must have been a difficult time for you. ~hugs back~

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      1. Oh good! I’m always a little wary of telling people about iodine in case they think I’m some kind of crackpot.

        The first five years were hard because the cancer had spread to a lymph node, and you read about the chances of a relapse etc. Now? I rarely think of it, except when I have my yearly check up, of course. πŸ™‚

        Give the Fella my best and tell him I hope he has a full and speedy recovery. πŸ™‚

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        1. So good to know that all is well now. I am in a similar position. I had breast cancer 2004/5, and have been clear since. I have my check-ups in January, so I feel set up for the year!

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    1. The tricky part of my wonderful tips is making sure they happen! Easy to write, not always easy to do!
      Health care systems are under strain everywhere, and, as the population ages, the problem will continue to grow.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to hear things are on the mend and I bet you let out a little whoop for joy when you heard that first “Come back and see us in six months.”. Sadly, right now, many people in the US can’t even follow your tip #1 because they can’t afford prescribed medicine.

    I’m still floored by the fact that you had to pay almost nothing for all that care. My health issue last year (which in the end could never be sorted) required a fight with insurance just to get to see a doctor for the tests I needed and resulted in over $2000 in bills (on top of the couple hundred dollars we fork out every month of insurance).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am surprised you didn’t hear my whoop of joy from over there!
      I know we have been so fortunate to be able to access all these services, and to get them without waiting. We have a public and private system. Private you pay ~ a lot! ~ but you have more control over who your specialist is. Many things are covered by health insurance, which is expensive, and doesn’t cover everything, so there will still be out of pocket expenses. The public system is stretched, and unwieldy and there are long waiting lists for ‘elective’ surgery. Terry by-passed those lists by presenting at Emergency with acute issues. Once he was in the system all these other services seemed to flow. I am sorry that it doesn’t work that way for you, even to prescription medication. A free health system is fundamental.

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  6. We have parts of our public health care as “free” but also a “tiered system” for things like local GP.

    What I’ve discovered since, I got new health issues, it’s still about “pills/portions” – certainly nothing in the guidelines you have got. When I mentioned it to the doctor on what I should do about … (I didn’t get to finish that sentence) she waved her hand and said a few things on food. And as for the overweight nurse last month, she was taken aback that anyone should even consider “gym” or “exercise” and when I mentioned a food (doesn’t matter what) she was aghast that I would spend, when there were ….(and they related to what I would deem poorly thought out nutrition)

    Instead, I have had to use both commonsense and the aid of what’s available via printed material and the Net. And the help of a friend who is into fitness and nutrition for all…although mostly I’ve done what I think is best for me. And I’m enjoying trying out some new2me foods – things that aren’t complicated to create with…

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    1. I was surprised to hear this advice too. As you know doctors don’t usually see the whole, just their little part of your body, and prescribe pills and potions to fix it.

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  7. Good to you hear that Terry has progressed to maintenance, and good for you too. Also that the experience of the health system has been positive. It is so stretched but with reasonable patient expectations and proactivity including those 7 points for getting/living better better, the process and outcomes can be positive.

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    1. iThanks for you good wishes, Dale. It is good news, for both of us, as you say. My job now is to keep him upright! I think that the various specialists have explored as far as they are able, and now see that it is up to us to do the maintenance.

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    1. Aren’t we lucky that we have access to such good health care? However, I know that not everyone in Australia has such access. Fingers crossed that we won’t need any more help for quite a while!

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  8. Anne what a tremendous amount of fear and stress you’ve been through. I’m so glad to hear that Terry is on the mend, and further heartened to hear of your excellent health care. It’s pretty dismal in this country, but there are so many things dismal in this country at the moment, that it is hard to choose one. Sending you a warm, virtual hug, along with my admiration for your steadfast love and support of all around you. xo

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    1. You are right, Alys, a lot falls onto my shoulders, although that is getting better as Terry improves. However, it is all done with love, as I am sure you will understand. I am so sorry to hear of the state of your nation, and the news does not get better, does it? Sending hugs back to you too.

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  9. Great advice, from someone in the “chronic health issues” bucket. These are the things that keep me in remission, though it’s easy to get off balance, particularly with a demanding job and distressing events. It’s important to forgive yourself for the occasional fall off the healthy behaviours wagon, keeping focus on the success of getting back on. May Terry’s healing journey continue.

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    1. I am sorry to hear of your health issues, especially chronic ones. Your advice ~ to forgive yourself ~ is so wise for all areas of our lives! Thanks for your good wishes for Terry.

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  10. Hi Anne, I couldn’t agree with this post more. My partner is 80 and doing very well but because we follow those guidelines stringently. Two twenty minute walks a day being vital to both of our well being. And you are right to note that many cannot afford the food we need for optimal health and feel blessed that we can. Also have to give a shout out to our health care in Canada, free too and never ever taken for granted. Good luck to Terry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great endorsement for those simple guidelines! I want to be able to wave the magic wand, but know that the wand is doing these things. 😊 Good wishes to you and your partner…. and to decent health care systems!

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