Being Cared For -- Body and Mind. By Eric Shlapack

Success Stories: Being Cared For -- Body and Mind. By Eric Shlapack

Eric ShlapackWhen I woke up in the middle of the night with a very painful "charley horse" in my calf after a trip to Washington DC, I thought nothing of it.  I just figured I had strained it from the active day, no big deal. But the pain lingered on, intensifying day after day, finally forcing me to take action beyond rest and ice. I scheduled an appointment to see my doctor and thankfully, steps were taken that day to begin addressing the issue, as I now knew that I had a blood clot in my leg, a condition known as DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). 

Being a 35-year-old vegan in relatively good shape with no family history of this type of illness, the diagnosis came as a shock to say the least as did the knowledge that I would have to be giving myself injections twice a day for a while.  The fear and anxiety that I was feeling was quickly assuaged, as Dr. DiGregorio, and also the students that he works with at The Brooklyn Hospital Center immediately made me feel calm, safe, and taken care of.  

Their comforting style, their genuine interest in my well being and recovery, their smart and decisive plan moving forward, all of them brought into clear focus the fact that DVT is not a death sentence, as I felt like it was when I received the diagnosis.  I can live a relatively normal life, making adjustments to my lifestyle, and being more aware of the things that can trigger blood clots to occur.

As a writer by profession, I certainly spend a good deal of time seated at my computer working.  This can lead to the formation of blood clots if not handled in the proper manner.  The team taking care of me gave me simple exercises to do while seated, they helped me understand the importance of getting up and moving around much more often than I had done in the past while working, and they encouraged me to maintain an active lifestyle.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center, which is what is called a teaching hospital, offers care unlike any other facility I have ever been to in my life.  The manner in which things worked for me is that I would meet with my doctor, but also several students that were studying with him.  Their knowledge amazed me, but more importantly, it was their compassion and empathy they had already mastered providing.  Taking care of my mind throughout this process has been essential, especially the empathy that the students had for me.  It is something I will never forget, as without them, I don't think I would be in as good a place as I am now.  Believe me, the mind is a powerful part of the healing process, as ignoring that can slow down your recovery.

Where we go to receive health care is one of the most important choices we can make.  We want to pick a facility that will address our needs physically and mentally, allowing for the best opportunity to have a fast, full recovery.  The physical care I needed as well as the mental strength I would have to maintain moving forward were provided by The Brooklyn Hospital Center in a way that is unlike any other place I have gone for care.  

As a patient, it is my responsibility as well to enable my recovery, the doctors and students cannot do everything for me.  I have to put skin in the game so to speak, I have to be motivated to make necessary changes.  The Brooklyn Hospital Center has empowered me and many other patients to take control of our care and our lives in a positive way that will hopefully keep us healthy for the long term, not just the short run.

I cannot thank The Brooklyn Hospital Center enough for what they have done for me, and most importantly the way they have done it.  Being treated with respect, empathy, and skill is what I needed to make it through this process in the easiest way possible.  The Brooklyn Hospital Center can do the same for you too.

by Eric Shlapack, Professional Writer
Mr. Shlapack can be reached at: ericshlapack@gmail.com
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