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Lisinopril (Prinivil + Zestril)

The term “medical team” is frequently used, and with good reason. It takes a close-working, well-co-ordinated effort to achieve the best results. You, of course, are an integral member of that team, not just the recipient of care. Those who passively sit by and nod during meetings, then assume that everything will be done for them with little or no effort of their own, typically do not do well. Those who actively participate, ask lots of questions, seek the best professional input, go for second opinions, utilise all the collateral services available, and then put good advice to practice are likely to come out as real winners. As I call them, former heart patients.
Many medical and surgical groups have nurses specifically assigned to cardiac patients. If the service is not offered to you, ask your doctor if you couldn’t be introduced to someone who could act as that kind of contact. It’ll make your life, your spouse’s life and your doctor’s life a lot easier and less stressful.
Next there is your cardiac rehabilitation team. If you follow my advice and take advantage of a structured, hospital-based cardiac rehabilitation program, your recovery will be easier, faster and more successful in all ways. Your job is to do exactly what they tell you to do, to the letter, and never miss a single session. Their job will be to provide the training and education you’ll need for a marvellous—and, yes, even enjoyable— recovery. They’ll also be there to answer questions that come up. This in itself makes the hospital-based program invaluable; imagine being able to ask any questions you have three times a week, every week, and have nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists, nutritionists, occupational therapists and doctors to ask. It’s truly the ideal situation.
Similarly, I hope that the suggestions and coping strategies I’ve given you in this book will help you deal with the psychological aspects of cardiac recovery. But you may have individual questions that pertain to you and only you. Again, it’s time to rely on an outside expert. Your doctor or hospital can refer you to a psychologist, marriage counsellor, family counsellor, or occupational therapist who can help you come to grips with the problems that currently burden you.
The next group of professionals may not be in the health field, but they can exert a profound influence on your well-being and recovery. These are the people who can make you feel good for at least a little while, and who can make you feel better about yourself. They include those who provide such marvellous services as massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Just having an appointment to look forward to can make the week a bit brighter. And allowing someone to totally pamper you for just a little while can have positive effects that can last for the entire day. Be nice to yourself now and then. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you don’t have to go to the most exclusive club or salon in town. But taking advantage of those little things that can mean so much can help your recovery by putting you into a better frame of mind.

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