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Susan is the creator of MyHealthVoice.com, built upon her 20+ years in healthcare and her experiences as a caregiver and patient. She is a writer, speaker and advocate for people living with chronic or life limiting illness as well as their family and professional caregivers. Learn more - www.myhealthvoice/susanharkema/.

Dad Diaries: Caregiving as Training Wheels for Patience

*+-Patience. The concept challenges me so much that I had to buy a book to understand it. The Great Depression humorist, Arnold Glasow is quoted saying, “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” Oh, my long departed friend, you are so correct. The same is true when working with …

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Dad Diaries: Finding wisdom for life in a free hospital booklet

*+-You never know what helpful nugget you may find in hospital educational information. Usually, I comb available materials for practical ideas and medical insights. But, while waiting for my dad’s rehab session to begin, I picked up a booklet, “What to Expect: Recovering from Stroke” and it contained the most profound statement. “We may feel an intense sadness because our loved …

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Who’s Taking Care of Me? Three Q&A to Understanding Your Hospital Care Team

*+-Being admitted to the hospital is confusing and scary enough. There is a flurry of activity to address your medical needs, diagnose and treat your problem, along with administrative tasks. Then, there’s getting you settled into a room. Lots of new faces start showing up to poke and prod you, ask you lots of questions and run tests. It can be …

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Dad Diary: Two Tips for Including Family and Staying Sane

*+-When a loved one goes into the hospital, those closest to the patient have an awful lot to deal with. If you are a spouse, or parent, or child, you may be the one bearing the greatest responsibility. In the first few days of a hospitalization, the situation may progress slowly or it may move quickly. Either way, families are …

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There’s a time to fight and a time for faith

*+-Published: November 2008 PA CAREgiver Magazine As I write, my husband, Scott, has been in the hospital for 70 days straight. Needless to say, it has been a long and arduous stay and I am unclear when it will end. More so than any other of Scott’s hospital stays, this one has caused me more frustration and anger, more turmoil …

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Dad Diary – Day One: Stroke?! That 82 yo male is my father!

*+-I had just written a blog post about living without regrets and that things can change in a moment. That same evening, the hospital tracked me down and left a voicemail that a man with my father’s name was in the neuro ICU of the region’s largest teaching hospital. If I was this man’s family, could I contact them. If …

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What’s the ‘Cost’ of Futile Care?

*+-A recent NY Times editorial piece explored the all-too-common conflict seen in hospitals. It occurs when a patient is deemed medically unable to regain consciousness, and physicians agree that the person will not recover, however, the patient’s family insist on continuing care at all costs — financial and medical. These types of situations are called “futile cases” and it is estimated …

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