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Tilda Shalof had been taking care of critically ill patients in an intensive care unit for more than twenty-five years, but taking care of herself had never been a priority. That is, until she could no longer ignore her extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and crushing chest pains. When the results came in, it was time to face the music: Tilda required immediate open-heart surgery to replace a defective valve and to repair damage done to this vital organ.
Tilda’s story takes readers from the diagnosis through all her fears and concerns, the or, her stay in the ICU, the cardiac ward, recovery at home, rehabilitation, and ultimately, her return to work in the hospital armed with new insights on the patient’s perspective. She learned more in her week-long stay as a patient than in all her years caring for the critically ill, especially about trust and working in partnership with her caregivers.
In Opening My Heart, Shalof expertly weaves recollections from her career and accounts of other nurses’ experiences into her own story, creating the perfect marriage between fascinating clinical detail and a personal journey of healing. Throughout it all is Shalof’s warm, friendly voice and humorous outlook. Nurses everywhere and anyone who’s ever been a hospital patient, or who is currently hospitalized or who might be one day (and those who love them!), will be empowered, enlightened, comforted, and entertained by this book.
“A smart patient knows more about coping with their disease than their physician, and Tilda Shalof’s insights into the rigors of heart surgery are even more provocative since she brings a nurse’s wisdom to her own operation.” –Dr. Mehmet Oz, Host of the The Dr. Oz Show