I wanted to relay a short story that illustrates one of our core principles. I call it get yourself together but it’s essentially gathering yourself and getting control of your thoughts so you’re in a position to be as good of a patient as you can be.
It was the day after Christmas, I was in between chemo rounds, and I had developed a fever. It was a pretty high fever, and there were rules on the conditions in which we had to call the hospital and be readmitted. My fever was way over that limit. I had taken my temperature a few times over the course of a few hours and there was no questioning that I was way over that line and needed to go back in. I knew exactly what I was in for, I would probably be in for a couple of days, be given a whole bunch of medicine, and the problem was that I just wasn’t ready to go. I needed a little bit of time just to gather myself. I decided that I was just going to wait 15 or 20 minutes before I went to the hospital. It’s not that I was in any dire medical situation (if you are, GO RIGHT AWAY), but for me my condition hadn’t changed a lot in the last couple of hours. I really just needed to take the time to gather myself for what I knew wasn’t going to be a lot of fun. I sat on the couch, got all my stuff together that I took to the hospital, and started making phone calls telling people what was going on.
Once I was ready mentally, my wife drove me in and I got back to working on trying to get better. It’s important that when you feel that way, you just take that moment if you need to, especially if you aren’t in a time critical situation. Sometimes you will be in those situations, and you just get right to the hospital and get going, but other times not so much. Taking that 5, 10, or 20 minutes to get my head reset really helped me when I got there. I was less stressed, although still stressed of course, and I was in a position where mentally I had gotten myself back together and was reengaged in what was going on and was ready to answer questions, provide input, ask questions, and try to be the best patient I could.
Getting yourself together isn’t necessarily always from the moment that you’re diagnosed. Sometimes it can be when you’re in the middle of treatment and something comes up that you need to address that you didn’t expect. If you need the time, take it. It’s important. It will make you a better patient when you show back up at whatever facility you need to to get treatment restarted or receive treatment for some kind of complication.