On August 28th while going through a divorce I was diagnosed with colon cancer and required surgery. While working to quickly close down my practice, I suffered a number Transient Ischemic Attacks (“mini strokes”) requiring carotid artery surgery a week after colon resection surgery. I was grateful I made preparations for such a crisis, but I also realized how unprepared I was.
To be prepared have on hand:
When you enter the hospital:
- a living will
- health care power of attorney
- HIPPA compliant person who knows where things are
- written office practice instructions (copy also kept safely outside office)
- lists of passwords, websites, insurance company contact information, clients names and phone numbers, and outstanding billing
- directions on how to process claims and do billing
- back-up of your processed insurance claims and programs
- written instructions of what to say to your clients and how to change voice mail message
- sample release form ready for clients to sign so treatment summary can be sent
Clients may try to call, to visit, to send flowers, etc. They feel anxious and abandoned having their therapy disrupted abruptly.
What to do while you heal after the crisis:
- have a non-published status at the hospital.
- have a reassuring message on your phone that says please respect your need to heal and instructions on how and where to get their records sent
- consult with the therapist your client chose.
- do all those things we said we would do when we got time
- get a makeover
- go for psychotherapy
- make a gratitude list
- redesign how you will do your practice when you start over
- watch comedy
- write an article
You can look at this as an ending or a new beginning. Attitude will make all the difference. If we practice what we have taught our clients, what a wealth of experience we can share when we are back in that therapist’s chair.