Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Others Can Help People with Chronic Illness During the Holidays

Helpful Advice

Thank you www.robot-hugs.com for the meme!!!
(Just so you know, this was written as a stream of thought on Facebook. I am leaving it as I wrote it....sometimes rants like this deserve their original context! Please add ideas in the comments!)

Although I am better now, I have been there for most of this. All of this has been said to me (and I know others thought it.) I know it isn't fun to have family members or friends who have chronic illness, but it can be very, VERY lonely. Trust me, the person in any one of those cartoon frames wishes that they could jump out of bed every morning, hold a "real" job, run with their kids and grandkids, and plan fantabulous social gatherings.

Let's make this a judgment free holiday season. Instead of avoiding the "negative" people in your life, ask if they would like to go shopping together or have a present wrapping day. Bring some Christmas cookies to someone and help them decorate their tree. Make it FUN, not a chore. If they want to hold a holiday party help them out.


Sometimes a person with chronic pain or illness is more comfortable in their own home, but they don't have the energy to put together the food. Can you imagine? So everyone goes someplace else for the fun and leaves the sick person behind (because they said it was ok....NO, it is not ok, but they don't feel like they have a choice.)  Don't be afraid to just "do" things for them. Trust me, they feel bad enough, especially if they used to have the perfect parties and perfect food. If you are in their home and their bathroom looks a little dusty, take a cloth and discretely wipe things down. Unload their dishwasher while they sip a cup of tea.

Sure, ask how they are doing, but make conversations about other things.....tell them what is going on in your church and ask them if they would like to join in. Maybe they didn't make it to church to see the bulletin. Talk about who got a new puppy, or who is expecting a baby. Do a project together.....make a Christmas wreath, help them organize their family pictures...........I could go on and on and on.

We may not have many people who have leprosy these days....modern illness is often invisible. DO you know someone with chronic pain, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, migraines, heart disease, arthritis, depression, anxiety, etc? I know you do. Because everyone does. The Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” And Nike said, "Just Do It."

For more on holidays, depression, and chronic illness like interstitial cystitis see:

Getting Through the Holidays with Chronic Illness
Depression, Suicide, and Interstitial Cystitis 

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I truly appreciate my Amazon shoppers! Remember, as you are doing your shopping on Amazon this holiday season, please use my Amazon links. You don't have to purchase the product it links to. Once you get to Amazon, you can browse and Amazon will remember you entered the store through Confident Choices. This is a simple way to help pay for the CC website, blog, newsletter, and social media time! http://tinyurl.com/ICCookbook


Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976724626/ref=nosim/nutraconsults-20 Just Tell Me What to Eat!

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder



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Monday, November 10, 2014

Stricter Regulations on Pain Medications? How Interstitial Cystitis Patients Can Help!

Pain Medications
As a person with interstitial cystitis and other chronic pain, I am just as furious as you at the more restrictive laws regarding pain medications. But, part of the problem is the unguarded "supply" of these drugs in communities around the world that are available for misuse and abuse. In a way, you can't blame the lawmakers. It's their job is to protect the public and what do they see reported over and over? The fact that an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States reportedly are abusing prescription pain relievers.

In a recent Facebook discussion about chronic pain (not just bladder pain), someone asked if the other members had people asking (or stealing) their narcotics. Within 20 minutes there were over 80 responses and all but a couple said YES. Some had even put their own children in jail for stealing from them. Many others divorced their spouses or broke up with their significant others. I was shocked (and obviously naive) because I have never experienced this.

So what can WE do to help?
  • First, don't tell anyone you have prescription medications in your possession. Lie if you have to. (Yep, I just said "lie!") If someone asks you directly for medications, look them in the eye and tell them that the medications you take are finely tuned by your physician and you are very careful about how you take them. I can't tell you what to do after that, but I suggest that consider your relationship with that person carefully.
  • Second: LOCK them up! No exceptions. Some of the respondents to that Facebook query said that they never would have suspected the people who stole their medications. Be especially vigilant if you have housekeepers, contractors, realtors, etc. visiting your home. 
  • Third: Dispose of them properly if you don't need them any more.  Don't just flush them into the sewer or your septic tank. When I cleaned out my medications awhile back, I found out the only option in Michigan was to take them to the police station. Two policemen literally logged every bottle and counted every pill in front of me. I had to sign and "witness" them entering these numbers into a book. I didn't ask, but I assume the drugs were incinerated someplace.
So there you have it. Both sides of the story. Or two of them. I am sure there is more. At the very least I hope these suggestions help those of you who desperately need these medications to have a decent quality of life. It remains to be seen whether addictions and abuse of these medications decrease without hurting the people who need them.

PS: I looked for a good summary of the new guidelines for pain medications. There were very few intelligent commentaries, but this one came close: Consumer Reports: Vicodin and other prescription painkillers will soon be harder to get.

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Remember, as you are doing your shopping on Amazon this holiday season, please use my Amazon links. You don't have to purchase the product it links to. Once you get to Amazon, you can browse and Amazon will remember you entered the store through Confident Choices. I truly appreciate my Amazon shoppers! This is a simple way to help pay for the CC website, blog, newsletter, and social media time! http://tinyurl.com/ICRDBook


Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0976724626/ref=nosim/nutraconsults-20 Just Tell Me What to Eat!

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder



 **Please SHARE using the links below!**