Not long ago, I was talking to a patient who has a cardiac (heart attack/MI) and diabetes history about healthy lifestyle changes – how he could cure his diabetes and improve his cardiac function with diet, exercise, better choices, etc. He told me how he “couldn’t be eating salads all the time and how he can’t exercise because he has some kind of nerve problem in his feet from his diabetes,” yada yada … He had an excuse and smart alec retort for everything I suggested. He was seething and you literally could see the smoke coming out of his ears as he said to me, “You know what, Nurse? Just shut up. Seriously, just shut the fuck up!” It was so disheartening to me that he would not hear me out let alone take any responsibility for his health, instead blaming his current chest pain on the malfunctioning of the stents that the cardiologist put in. I was even more sad that you could see the look of defeat on his poor wife’s face. I could see this wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t ready. So, I let it go and went about caring for him without causing more discomfort.
Here’s the thing … I didn’t want to let it go. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people heal. I would NOT be doing a good job as a nurse if I didn’t talk about healthy lifestyle choices with you. There are so many things patients can do to help themselves heal. Instead many refuse to listen and choose to leave the fate of their health and lives in the hands of doctors. I can help you, but you have to seriously want to be helped to truly heal. You have to be ready. I get that. I understand that we can only meet people where they are not where we want and hope for them to be.
Our healthcare system is now all about disease management. I could go on and on, but won’t. If you don’t like my advice, fine, what you do with it is your business. Please don’t yell at me though when I am only trying to help you. When you’re ready, I’ll be here.